I've been reading Daily Kos since 2007 and I've seen people mention Netroots, but I've never had any interest in attending. I don't like to travel a lot and I didn't feel connected to other members of Daily Kos... until 2 years ago when I connected with Sreeizzle2012.
I'd been one of the moderators for the Maryland Kos group and when I saw a comment by Sreeizzle2012 mentioning that he went to Towson University, I sent him an invitation to join Maryland Kos. Shortly after, he sent me a kosmail asking if he could friend me. I told him that as far as I knew, we didn't friend each other on Daily Kos, but if he wanted to friend me on facebook he could. I sent him the url for my facebook page.
This was a noteworthy step for me. Jamie G, the name I have used here on Daily Kos, is not my real name. I set the page up when I was still working in a high school and I was cautious about putting my political beliefs out there.
My facebook page has my actual name and is visible to friends, family, former co-workers and students who have friended me. Adding Sree to my friends' list meant I felt ready to open the door at least a little between these two universes of mine.
Sree and I were facebook friends for several months before I met him. We chatted on facebook about various political and social issues. I often chat with more than one person at a time and sometimes I'd think about the difference between Sree and the other young people I know, e.g., former students, nieces, and nephews.
One time I put forth the same conversational starter with Sree as with young man the same age (both are 22). The topic was ways to prevent bullying. The difference in the two conversations was startling and a little sad. Sree was much more focused on the subject and seemed to be giving a lot of thought to his responses. My other friend was less focused (perhaps he was multi-tasking too). But the very big difference between the two was that Sree was very optimistic about possible solutions to the problem. The other friend's discussion was steered by cynicism -- something I'm finding all too often in the young adults that were once my students.
Sree is hopeful. That sounds like such a simple characteristic, but it's more rare than you might realize. All through last year's election cycle, Sree sent me links to diaries and articles and always put in some positive commentary. Sometimes I would shake my head at his naivety, but many times his positive predictions turned out to be closer to the actual outcome than I would have guessed.
Since I've met Sree, we've had several meetups in Maryland and DC, as well as the two I've had here in Virginia. The kossacks that have come to meetups are usually older. I know that Sree would love to meet some other young members of Daily Kos -- but very few have come to our meetups.
Young kossacks are a very small minority here at Daily Kos. Take a look at the membership of Youth Kos 2.0 -- not a big group -- and they are scattered all over the country, so for a young kossack, it's not easy to meet up with a kindred spirit.
I am hopeful that Netroots Nation 2013 will provide Sree the opportunity to connect with some of those kindred spirits of all ages, and especially with some closer to his own age.
This will be great for Sree of course - but I think his presence at the convention will add some positive energy.
You can vote for more than one candidate for the scholarships, so even if you've already voted, please vote for Sree. It will only take 30 seconds. I promise. Here's the link to vote for him:
and for others you might know here at Daily Kos: