Friday, March 16, 2007

Blogging the revolution I didn't have time for

It dawns on me now and then that I live in a miraculous age. And also, I am fortunate to live in a corner of the planet where the locals are sane enough to pick some of the best politicians.

[Has the executioner been drinking? Perhaps he should take it up?]

And it occurs to me as well that the miracles come not a minute too soon and the strength of democratic principles and participation in my local politics are particularly a blessing because they will have to pull more than their share of weight to salvage the rest of our so-called democracy.

Now, you may be wondering where my lucky neighborhood is so you can come bask in its beneficence. Well, yeah, I live in Massachusetts but it has become equally important that I live in YOUR neighborhood: the net roots are the delivery of the best promises of the "global village".

My Massachusetts and netroots neighborhood came together physically last night at an all-too-brief "Open House". My state legistlative representative has been giving and getting straight dope on all sorts of issues via this series of public lecture+Q&A sessions for a decade now. BTW, Kaufman has better ideas about overhauling health care than American politics can even begin to discuss. I just got blown away by some remarks he made to a knot of folks before proceedings got under way on that topic but I digress.

This month, he got Eli Pariser to speak to us on how MoveOn got started, the nature and purposes of its current form and where it might be headed. Eli is just a kid fer crysake!
The evening was all Eli's. I will put down more of my impressions in my next post, but wanted to justify the title of this post.

In my involvement with Operation Democracy and MoveOn, I get to see who sticks with it and who gets burnt out as we try moving the heavy wheels through the grass roots. And in watching this I kind of concluded that part of the new magic of MoveOn was that it found a way to get "action" from people even when they only had five minutes to devote to politics of change. Eli had worked for "dot org", i.e. non-profit, groups doing organizing before we were all on the web [he must have skipped school!]. Although he was as surprised as anyone by the amazing "hundreds of thousands of signatures in a week" response to his first web site devoted to a multi-national response top 9/11, he grasped that the response betokened a previously untapped way to spread political knowledge and focus political will among disaffected liberals and others marginalized by machine politics...and he dived in.

He did not say so in exactly so many words but he did, to summarize one of many things he talked about, that lots of little actions can be harnessed to the same effect as the big players, small money from many people instead of fat checks written by people-to-whom-you-must-then-listen was a way to get a significant political voice. And he did say that he knew they had on board many who only had time to click through on a sign-an-email campaign.

Why are liberals so damn busy? Who told you guys you could have a life?

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