I remember thinking after Al Gore conceded the 2000 Presidential race..."hey, maybe Al will actually have time to come meet with some of us little people who fought for him
as he gathers strength and reformulates for 2004." Needless to say....that vision of sitting at an environmentalist conference and looking at the folding chair next to mine and seeing the former Vice President on a "listening" campaign never materialized.
In part, that's due to Al Gore being a busy man...ahem...and in part...that was due to Al Gore not realizing that...like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Tim Roemer, and, yes, John Kerry and John Edwards...he was bound to be an "old school" DC Democrat with no idea what the grassroots and the netroots are actually up to...so long as he stayed within his comfortable corridors of power.
They don't even know who we are, much less what we think and who we are fighting for.
And worse, they are so caught up in their inside the beltway, high-stakes power games that even if we screamed our lungs out over here in our little corner of the universe....we'd still appear as this tiny fraction of the equation. Be a dear and weight the pro-Dean, blog-driven dissent by any extra factor or two, would you, Harry....
We are bloggers and citizens, and our politics should no longer be about them....our politics should reflect who we are and who we fight for. In fact, the question I have tonight is not who will be chair of the DNC, but, with all due respect, if all we're doing is shoring up a "business-as-usual party" why should I care?
When I walk the streets and see my brothers and sisters..I know exactly who I'm fighting for. When I hold a newborn in my arms and think of my own life half over, I know who I'm fighting for. When I think of the rainbow of citizens every election day going to and from work at the West Oakland BART station, I realize how hollow the rhetoric coming from our Democratic leadership has been. When I think of Paul Wellstone, and all that his political life stood for, what direction that life was pointed in, I know the answer to my question.
It's not simply that the heads of Democratic Congressional delegations have seen fit to nominate an anti-choice, "concede before we've begun to fight" on Social Security Democrat...it's that in doing so they've proven to me that they have nothing whatsoever to do with our lives.
And when I say our lives I don't mean some kind of cheesy media version of us netizens. Anyone who did GOTV this fall knows who we are....we're the folks who give a shit...the ones with extra coffee cups rolling around in the back of our cars...the ones getting up in the early AM to bus to PA or NV or Ohio...the ones who show up...and there's something in each of our personal stories that makes us politically active, that makes us fight.
And you can't really get much more taken for granted than we are. It's as if the 500,000 strong march in protest of the Republican National Convention was made up of ghosts...a ghost march of families, the old and the young...of voices peacefully raised up against Bush and his war...marching through the center of our largest city as if we didn't exist.
We are bloggers and citizens. We stand not just for ourselves, but for those we fight for. For our ideals, and for a future that we are committed to building and sharing, by fits and starts....not always perfectly or in harmony...but with a core commitment that we share: our generation will leave an impact on this nation and this world.
We aren't going anywhere. And our job tonight is different than it was in 2004 in the lead up to the election. We are reforming and fighting for our collective future. We are gathering steam for our next move....we're putting the folding chairs in a circle.
If Nancy and Harry don't realize that.....it's time to get a couple userid's and join the conversation. That conversation will go on with or without them....but that conversation will not be about them.
Time is short, and we've just begun to fight.
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