My wife loves to travel. Her love of travel is infectious and since she is a travel agent she sells a lot of trips. She has been to so many places in the world that she has forgotten where she’s been.
Imagine her surprise and glee when reading, in today’s Salt Lake Tribune’s Faith section, the wonderful article entitled Postcards of Holy Ground. The article lists, along with pictures, ten holy places around the world to visit. Seven down and three to go.
Of course there are many, many other inspirational sites throughout the United States and the world and the article suggests ten more within this country. More travel for my wife as well as me if I elect to go along. Being secure in our relationship means we can travel independently and we often do.
My passions are for graveyards, cemeteries and churches where the mortal remains of my heroes and teachers are interred. During our frequent trips to Paris I insist we go to the Père Lachaise Cemetery where Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, Frederick Chopin, Abailard and his lover Hèloise Oscar Wilde and many other writers, play writes, actors and actresses are buried.
Wherever I go in the world I must have coffee and drink in the same cafe that Goethe, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Hemingway, Cole Porter, Emerson, James and so many others once drank and debated philosophy, religion, art and politics. It is inspirational to me. Thus you can understand my interest and passion when I learned that the same sort of thing was underway in Utah. The Coffee Party, as they have taken to calling themselves, seems to be active in every coffee shop I visit in Salt Lake City.
I suspect the group was formed in response to the Tea Party movement but I am not sure. I find their message more compelling than the Tea Party’s even though they seem to be talking about the same issues. While eaves dropping on their conversations, I found them to be rational and civil and more informed on so many issues than I.
This morning, the group I was sitting next too was talking about fiscal reform and money in politics-something that is in the news all the time these days. I do not know what, if any, conclusions the group reached but they seemed to be having fun debating the issues.
I pointed out my concerns with the same issues this group was debating in my piece I posted on this blog entitled, “Money Facilitates Trade but Corrupts Politics.” In the article I contrasted a central issue impacting the Claudia Wright versus Jim Matheson in the 2nd Congressional race in the democratic primary coming up for vote on May 8th. As a delegate I have committed to Ms. Wright because I felt Jim was beholden to special interests and the district was ready for new “grass roots” representation.
Enough. You can read the article if you are interested. Back to the cafes. In addition to writing editorials I have been busy writing songs. One of the songs I have come up with I have entitled “Coffee Shop Philosophes”, after the great French intellectuals in the 16th and 17th centuries, whose work made its way into our Declaration of Independence.
I showed a draft of the song to our daughter who referred to many of the people I satirically called philosophes as derelicts. I would not go that far but would not it be nice that real, substantive political debate returned to the cafés instead of behind the closed doors of our state and federal legislatures and K street?