Thursday or Friday, NN2010: With a big smile, looking over my shoulder at the computer screen, he replied: "That's my granddaughter. She was 2 years old in that picture. My wife is gonna love this." - Mr. Green, NN 2010 Exhibit Hall Security Guard, on seeing pictures in a diary written about his son, Quincy, in IGTNT. (Followup diary to come from Sandy on Signal).
Saturday, NFTT Package Assembly Day: He stood there with big, wet tears in his eyes, embarrassed at the emotion he exhibited. I asked him if he was OK. He shook his head 'No'. I did what all moms do: I gave him a big hug. After a few moments, he said: "It's just so hard". I said: "I know." - NN 2010 Event Videographer on his experience of packing a box.
Sunday, Las Vegas Airport: Standing in the check-in line, with duffel bags, gun case, and gear in tow, he smiled. Second or third deployment, he still seemed so young and yet so wise. Wedding ring on the left hand. Resolved, yet self-assured. At The Gate: 5 or 6 very young, fresh-faced men and women in Army-issued attire, playing games and joking around with each other. Any one of them could be my daughter or my boys.OK, I will confess. I'm an almost virgin.....to Daily Kos and Netroots Nation. This was my second trip. Last year, in Pittsburgh, I really didn't understand the depth and breadth of this community. I was there primarily to assist with Netroots For The Troops, a project I had signed on for at the last minute. But this year, my eyes were opened wide.
All Week Long: Young and old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, men, women, gays and straights, politicians, students, cancer survivors, engineers, genuinely good people with nothing to hide and everything to give.
These are the memories I will carry with me from this year's Netroots Nation 2010.
Netroots For The Troops and TexDem are the reason I signed on to dkos. TexDem and I went to high school together....34 years ago. Through Facebook (yes, I know it sounds contrite), we reconnected. He told me about this blogging community called Daily Kos that he has been a part of for a long time. For a Tarheel raised in a divided house (Mom-Democrat, Dad-Republican), I was never involved in political discussions around the dinner table. And having been raised in a Southern Baptist Fundamental household, you can imagine where the political leanings were.
I've always enjoyed writing; I even earned a scholarship to college based on an essay I wrote in high school. This 'online community' intrigued me. I began to read diaries, and I found others who were questioning and answering the same issues I had fought in my mind for years. Eureka, I had found a venue for my exploration of thoughts and ideas, with people who were finally like-minded. Throw in tremendous personal upheaval in the form of a divorce and my Mom's death, and Daily Kos became a haven for me to share thoughts, feelings, and general complaints.
But it didn't really sink in until this past week WHY I love and enjoy this gathering of people so much. It's the total HUMANITY, the uncovering of pretense and the show of true self that has captured my admiration. Al Franken said it best when he said Saturday evening that it's time that the voices of those who have been put down, ridiculed, and forgotten be heard and recognized.
And so, I have spent the last couple of days reliving the memories of the past week, and finally beginning to understand what a wonderful and powerful group of people belong to Daily Kos.
As a 'behind the scenes' volunteer, I have been truly amazed and grateful to all the supporters of Netroots For The Troops, a project dear to my heart. Saturday was a culmination of months of effort to collect funds and put together 300 packages to send to our military men and women. There were many times when I wanted to stop, slow down, or question the work at-hand, but this week I felt more love, compassion, and true humanity than I've experienced in a long time. Thanks guys and gals! I can't wait to be a part of this again next year, in Minneapolis!