The River

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Something’s happening here…

People speaking their minds.

I remember some months after 9-11 listening to the song For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield and finding it eerily up to date. But I didn’t put the emphasis on the words quoted above. Instead, I thought of how “paranoia strikes deep.”

But I wasn’t even aware of blogging then, much less a blogger. Well, I am now, and I can finally believe that everything did change after 9-11. People speaking their minds. On blogs. And I tell you with unabashed enthusiasm, that it is beautiful. And that blogging is important. That it is contributing something new and vital, however small. And it’s far more than the people who create blogs. It’s the people who read them. It’s an absolutely vital conversation that is not, and probably cannot, take place anywhere else. These readers of blogs are leaving comments, speaking their minds.

Read Steve Gilliard’s post, I’m a fighting liberal, and then the comments. They reflect, I think, I hope, the beginnings of a groundswell that will make itself felt in the fabric of our country. A culture war is in the offing. That means a counter culture must come to the fore. A counter movement. Counter to neo-conservatism. Yes, it will be…Liberal! And blogs, the Internet, are, hopefully, a spark. An important one.

Here are two comments, from NB and SW, who I hope don’t mind this appropriation.

Note to paradox [a poster upthread]. I am on this rollercoaster of despair and hope that you seem to express in your posts recently. I had it bad last spring & summer and others on these blogs were supportive and it helped. I, like you I guess, am baffled that polls continue to show Bush and the Republican wehrmacht against liberal America continue to have 50% support. Clearly 25 years of the Reagan revolution have been wildly successful in dumbing down and mind numbing a huge number of our fellow citizens. My own family... (weep) ...are constituents of this mindless, hopeless, frightened herd. My best friends pay lip service to ideals they once believed but fail to act. I don't know what they're waiting for.

I try to tell them, as do the best writers on the leftie blogs and in what little remains of the free press in America, that to be liberal means to fight. To actually, physically, battle in real time with conservatives and wear them down. At this point, way too many of our hoped-for allies become afraid and disconnect, drink, do drugs, dissolve into their daily haze of denial and dread.

You though, inspire me. You don't seem to give in to this. You remain a fighter and forthright and it makes a difference to me to read your thoughts, though I don't reply very often to tell you so. Believe there are thousands of others who take courage from your words, from the words of Gilliard, and Kos, Billmon, Leftcoaster, and all of their brilliant, forthright, articulate, and outspoken posters, advocates of a genuine liberalism, an authentic Democratic Party, who not only still know the difference between lies and the truth, but how to tell the difference for those who struggle to figure it out. -- NB

I think we all suffer from temperal chauvanism. We tend to think that ours are the most challenging times ever. But if you look at history, this is the way it always is. Is our challenge greater than the abolistionists who were vilified as fanatics even in the North? Is our challenge greater than that facing FDR upon his election? Greater than the civil rights workers in the deep south in the 50's?

Look it is bad now. But it has ALWAYS been bad. That is what this fight is all about. We, all of us through history are in the process of creating America. It is a job half finished. The case can be made that progress occurs in discrete jumps. That there are long periods of stagnation that lead to crisis which leads to brief windows of opportunity to create meaningful lasting change. It is time to force that window open. We owe it to history, to everyone who has come before and we owe it to the future. – SW

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