Time for some tough love, folks. A pep talk. A crash course in remembering who we are and what we do best.
DailyKos is my netroots home. The diary column is my 'hood. This is a great place. So...
WE CAN WIN THIS THING!
BUT FIRST: WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW!
The Republicans have hit fast and hard since their convention. They've played dirty. They've landed punches. They have us scrambling. But people! This does not mean we should forget everything that we have learned and discussed on this site for the past 4 years! We can do better!
Look around you. This site has become obsessed with presenting 'facts' that 'prove' Sarah Palin is not good enough to be Vice President. All that is doing is helping McCain. But worse: it goes against everything we've learned, everything we've dedicated ourselves to. We can do better!
You think McCain supporters will respond to facts? You think that's air they're breathing?
People, diarists, friends, Kossacks: THE TIME HAS COME TO GET BACK IN THE GAME--OUR GAME!
Here are five steps to get us there...
STEP 1: STOP WITH THE ENDLESS PALIN DIARIES
I'm talking to you, friend. That's right. You--the diarist who thinks he/she has found the fact or scandal that definitively proves why Sarah Palin will be a bad Vice President, and who thinks he/she has found the most clever and convincing way to present that utterly devastating fact. Stop, already. We have seen it. No more. There are enough 'Sarah Palin is Corrupt, Stupid, Dangerous, and Not Ready' diaries to fill a thousand blogs. We get it!
But even 10,000 more diaries like that will only help McCain--only help him.
Why? Because Palin is not on the McCain ticket because she is smart, qualified, and ready. She is on the ticket to shore up McCain's 'culture war' credentials--to put her on the 'right side' of the cultural wedge issues the Republicans use to divide the electorate and win Presidential elections.
So...the more we obsess over Palin, the more connected to John McCain the lunatic wing of the Republican Party feels.
STEP 2: TAKE A MINUTE TO REMEMBER OBAMA'S VISION
We can only win this election if the majority of voters in this country (A) know what Obama's vision for America is and (B) agree with it.
Newsflash: People do not hear Obama's vision for the country when we say that John McCain is a 'liar' or that Sarah Palin is 'stupid.'
Keep this in mind: The Republicans never just say that Barack Obama is a 'liar' or that he is 'unprepared.' They say that he is a liar about something very specific. They say that he is unprepared to do something specific. And those specific things are never, ever, ever left out of the attack--never ever.
So if you are going to say that McCain lies--tell people what he is lying about and show them how that fits into Obama's vision for America:
JOHN MCCAIN LIES BECAUSE HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS, BECAUSE HE HAS NO FAITH IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, BECAUSE HE WANTS TO FORCE THIS COUNTRY BACKWARDS INSTEAD OF LEAD US TOGETHER INTO THE FUTURE.
Remember, there is a reason we critique the opposition and that is: to emphasize Obama's vision. So emphasize it.
STEP 3: REMEMBER THE POWER OF REPETITION
If you remember one thing from the last four years of blogging about election debate rhetoric and what it takes to win, remember this: WHAT WE REPEAT IS WHAT THE PUBLIC REMEMBERS.
If we repeat 'Palin, Palin, Palin,' over and over again between now and November--whether we are saying good things or bad things, 'Palin' is what will be in the minds of the public.
Remember the primaries? Remember how often the words 'Hope' and 'Yes we can!' were repeated on this site? Remember how much of an impact that had on the election. Were they perfect slogan? Probably not. But my goodness, they were repeated and that repetition had an impact. A big impact.
Stop saying 'Palin' and start saying:
GET OUT THE VOTE!
SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS!
FAITH IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!
LEAD US TOGETHER INTO THE FUTURE!
This is not some experiment in creative self actualization. This is not some exercise. This is the real thing.
STEP 4: WRITE IN A WAY THAT STOPS THE FEAR HEMORRHAGING
At the core of this whole obsessive meltdown is a very basic human reaction: we are afraid that the American public will once again be confused by the Republican smear machine and elect yet another dangerous President who will drive this country deeper and deeper into a hole. We. Are. AFRAID.
That is totally understandable. We are human. We see what is happening around us.
But we are more than just average voters around here. We are leaders of a national conversation that sets a tone, drives language into the media, and pushes our elected officials.
When candidates we supported were afraid to run for office--we gave them confidence.
When voters felt alone in the destructive Bush era--we made them feel part of a community.
When each of us worried that there was no turning back after 2004--we rallied together and helped take back the Senate and the Congress.
We must find our confidence again. Forget the polls. Forget the nasty ads. Forget the lipstick and swine. Reach deep inside yourself and find the inspiration again.
DON'T JUST WRITE A DIARY. WRITE TO REMIND PEOPLE THAT EACH OF US HAS THE POWER TO DRIVE THIS COUNTRY TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE.
Believe in yourself again.
STEP 5: CARRY OPTIMISM AWAY FROMM THE BLOG AND INTO YOUR LIVES
Above all else, use the optimism we generate here to revive and restore hope in the world around you.
One of the most disheartening things I have seen in the past week is the level of fear and concern amongst people who are not connected via the netroots.
The media obsession over Palin has cast a dark cloud over a country filled with hope following the DNC in Denver. The anxiety is so thick I can feel it in my throat. More people have told me they are going to leave this country than at any time I can remember in my life.
WE MUST LEAD WITH OUR OPTIMISM, USE OUR WRITING TO HELP PEOPLE SEE THROUGH THE FEAR AND BACK TO THE HOPE AT THE HEART OF THIS ELECTION.
Do more than write diaries that reject the McCain language, that emphasize Obama's vision, that repeat our campaign themes, and that reject fear for confidence--take all those strengths and inject them into the off-line world to help revive a fearful nation.
We are more than diarists. We are conversation leaders and that conversation has become tangled in a well-planned mess of distractions unleashed on the American public from a convention center in St. Paul, MN.
So now it is our turn to reclaim it--our turn to rebuild the kind of conversation that will win this election for those who believe in a better future.
Let's get busy.
Let's work together.
Let's not waste one more minute being afraid.
Let's win this damn election.