Bless Digby for hitting the nail square on the head on Monday:
…As far as I can tell, other than a few observations from reporters about how geeky or how old the participants were, nobody so far has seemed much interested in why people from all over the country, people who are not bloggers and who don’t have a profile, spent their hard earned money to come and meet others who participate in this thing of ours. And I think that’s the interesting story. Indeed, it’s the most important story. People are getting involved. They are personally putting their energy and their time and their money into politics on both the grassroots and the national level because of big communities like Kos, Atrios and FDL and smaller political spaces where the ideas and the dialog get refined. The political conversation is changing….
This is absolutely right. One of the things that I found most fascinating — and fun — about the YearlyKos convention, and about my short time at the Take Back America Conference earlier this week as well — was the large number of folks who introduced themselves to me, but who had never posted a comment here at FDL. These folks, these incredibly articulate and passionate and informed folks, spent their money to come to a conference, and took the time to introduce themselves to me despite the fact that our only interaction had been that they had read something I had written at some point, and it stimulated a thought that they wanted to discuss with me in person.
Amazing. And wonderful, and humbling, all at the same time.
Americans are so hungry for leadership, for honest conversations about the very real issues that they face every day, that they were willing to plunk down their hard-earned cash, sometimes flying across the country to get there, to attend a conference where they could talk face to face about the issues that matter to them. With people who cared enough about the same problems that they not only wanted to listen, but also wanted to brainstorm about solutions to those problems because someone needs to be doing it, and they are willing to pick up the mantle if no one else will.
The fact that THIS was not the big story coming out of YearlyKos baffles me. At a time when Americans are so disengaged from political discourse and involvement in this country, at a time when our voting turnout numbers are so low, but there were people excited to meet each other in a community where politics is the topic of the day, all day, every day ought to have been blasted as the headline for every story coming out of the conference.
There were well over a thousand people in Las Vegas. And back home, thousands more hung out at their computers, watched C-Span or Air America or LinkTV or whatever worked for them, and joined in the conversation. Powerful stuff.
Like I said before, we’ve been mostly politician/consultant/journalist free and have spent our time with our readers. I don’t think a whole lot of people who aren’t a part of the blogosphere realize that this is where our strength derives from, not from relationships with politicians or those in their orbits. But far be it from me to hip anyone to this fact.
Absolutely correct — and every one of you reading this right now is a part of that, even the ones who have never posted a comment. And you know why all of you are so amazing and valuable? Because you are here of your own volition, because you believe that our nation can be better — and you want to help make that happen. Whatever it takes.
Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy on a Saturday morning? You don’t have to be threatened or bribed or duped or scared into getting involved in your nation. It’s important to you to do so because you know — you KNOW — that you deserve better. For your family. For your community. For your country.
Plus, you are well educated, media savvy, and you can cut through the bullshit and the spin with the best of them and get right to the heart of the issues.
Nothing like a disgusted, articulate person impervious to blatant manipulation to put the wingnut spin machine into panic mode, now is there? Especially when the group is willing to get off their butts and do the tough work, and do it as a community. Now multiply that by the thousands…and think about how it continues to grow every single day.
There will be no backing down until things are better. Think about that for a moment, and you begin to see, if we all start moving in the same direction at once, how that could be a very powerful force for change in this country.
So pull up a chair. We’re going to do some community building this morning, and get to know one another a little better — because the stronger we are as a group, the more likely we are to keep things moving forward. I want to issue an invitation to all the lurkers out there to join in the fun — dip your toe into Firedoglake, you’ll find the water is fine.
Reader Immanentize has offered a custard apple pecan pie recipe that I, for one, am dying to read. I promised to share a couple of chess pie recipes this morning in return.
But this is really a getting to know you sort of session for everyone. We got to do some of this at our amazing FDL Caucus in Las Vegas — man, I wish everyone had been able to be there because the energy in the room was truly amazing, but know that all the rest of you were definitely there in spirit. We all kept saying, "Oh, I wish so-and-so was here…" — although, I have to say, when TBogg introduced himself, the audible gasp in the room was awfully fun for everyone.
The thing that I loved the most about YKos was being able to meet our readers face to face, and talk with them about what they were thinking. (Okay, and to introduce Kathryn in MA to Joe Wilson — that was some serious fun for me because she was too shy to stick her hand out and say howdy, and I just knew that she had to get that handshake no matter what.) Every single person that I met who reads this blog was amazing (and so were the folks who had never read the blog, but might be reading it now…) — we have some incredibly smart, caring, funny, loving human beings who hang out here. But more than that, to a person, they were all just so happy to meet each other as well.
And that makes me very happy indeed. What would you like to share with everyone this morning? Pull up a chair, pour yourself another cuppa, and get to know your fellow Firedoglakers. (That includes you, Andy of the hot kilt, who never comments, but reads here anyway.) So, how’s your morning? What’s new? What’s been on your mind lately? Interesting…tell me more…