Broncaccio: A lot has been said about how homogenized today's political
conventions have become. But, in San Diego-- Commentator and former political
candidate Lisa Ross takes a look at free speech and the way it's being
squeezed out of today's coffee shop culture.
too long ago, during San Diego*s primary election season, I became a
*messy thing" ... Things that obscure the Starbucks *get it, gulp and
became one when the lady in the green apron ordered me to stop handing out
campaign fliers from where I say, at my coveted Starbucks table.
My First Amendment sensitivities shuddered. Starbucks had dealt
another rabbit punch to the community soul
... So determined in its corporate march to conquer and redefine
the American coffee house experience.
houses used to be messy places, filled with all sorts of people sipping
caffeinated brews and skimming through gender-bending New Age publications
and local propaganda. The coffee house was a bar without booze--a
hangout--the decor purposefully iconoclastic and unkempt, but always
bearing the marks of its own particular community.
it's puzzling why our LOCAL Starbucks not only tossed me out, but the same
week tossed out other coffee house staples like those free newspapers
stuffed with strung-out conspiratorial political articles, dense movie
reviews and multi-cultural mating opportunities. I suspect that such
publications are simply messy, their length encourages people to stick
around a lot longer than it takes to swallow a Frappa Mocha Lotta-Bucks
Swizzle (Grande, please).
know that most people dont really care that Starbucks made it
impossible for me to introduce myself to voters in their Carmel Valley
store. My otherwise Type-A-personality neighbors who stand patiently in
long lines on Saturdays, are blending-in just fine with the store's
deliberately anti-messy ambiance ...THEY proudly claim it*s the
corporation's top money-maker in the region.
its also true, I did find other places to shake hands, kiss babies and
engage in a political debate or two with neighbors.
I can*t help feeling that when the messiest of all political institutions,
democratic electoral politics, is pushed out of a coffee house, we*re all
getting pushed too far.
SAN DIEGO, THIS IS LISA ROSS FOR MARKETPLACE
Lisa Ross is a former candidate for San Diego City Council and a columnist
for the Del Mar Times.