What role does coffee place in the smooth running of the US? That’s a question on Alexandra Petri’s mind this week as she describes with tongue-in-cheek a likely scenario that would develop from the manipulative withholding of coffee from our representatives. It all started when Howard Schultz called for a withholding of campaign contributions to all incumbents until the government could put aside bickering and find a common ground solution for our fiscal crisis. Petri suggests a better withholding: a total coffee cutoff. In a humorous imaginative story, she describes the week by week reactions which would ensue. At the beginning, everyone would go about proclaiming how they feel fine and do not need coffee to get through the day. After the first day, they would start drooping, until the end of the first week. At this point, rage would set in and snarling and grunting would be seen in the offices and halls of Congress. An example from Petri’s own life is given to prove her assertions. She recalls “I once stopped drinking caffeine, and by the end of two weeks, my whole personality had altered. Before I was cheerful and friendly. Without my coffee, I was a dogged obstructionist. People on the street mistook me for the love child of Justice Antonin Scalia and a live bear. At one point I bit the head off a live bat, mistaking it for a bat-covered coffee bean…..” At the second week, they would be resorting to sucking leftover coffee out of old filters and going through a huge amount of Red Bull. When the supply of such substitutes was exhausted, they will beg for their coffee and promise to give the country whatever the citizens need and want in return. The precedent for such a reliance on coffee goes back to the nation’s beginning at the Boston Harbor with the first tea party, which Petri blames on the caffeine. Petri’s portrayal of a coffee-less Washington DC pokes fun at some of our leaders while at the same time highlighting the importance of coffee in the running of any organization. Picture a staff meeting without coffee, of you can, or a coffee-free caucus. Hard to imagine. Brew on non-obstruction-ally.
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