Last night, thanks to Pete, I got to go see the Crashing the Gate Tour Kickoff Jerome Armstrong of my DD and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos at George Washington University . As I had to take notes on paper (ugh!) you’re better off reading pete’s post about the event.
It was essentially a brief Q & A session. It lasted about an hour and at least half of that time was dedicated to questions from the audience. I was impressed with both authors, but was really pleased with Marcos’ energizing, no-holds-barred kind of speaking style. He talked about the point in the book-writing process where they got drunk in a random hotel (in Montana?), discussed the project and as a result, reframed the topic to what the book turned out to be. He was very unabashed about the fact that for the most part he feels like the Dems are doing it wrong. But this is tempered with the fact that he feels that a good Democrat, whether a conservative Dem or a very liberal Dem stands up to defend important issues; and a Dem who does this is “supportable”, which I agree with.
Marcos also made the point that the “real”, important political stuff is going on outside of Washington. I know that he means washington as Washington, but I couldn’t help but think that people who live in The District are well acquainted with a special kind of disenfranchisement, obviously due to the fact that we’re underrepresented.
Finally, I find it both discouraging and exciting that the “silver bullet” that translates netroots activism into grassroots activism hasn’t been found yet. Both Jerome and Marcos indicated that “something happens” in this conversion process, but as Noriko and I found, we have no idea what that is yet. The reason it’s frustrating is clear, but it’s exciting that researching this process, figuring it out is still something that needs to be done. The researcher in me loves the undiscovered. But the longer it takes the more frustrating it gets. I feel this is exacerbated by the issue of the digital divide. If we think the key to changing things, especially in red states is “regular people” taking action, red states and rural areas tend to be poor areas. We know that lack of income presents internet and technology access issues, small libraries don’t have a big tech budget, rural schools don’t have a huge budget/tax base etc. This is compounded by the fact that many public libraries still don’t recognize the value of providing unfettered internet access to their patrons (which is a different issue all together). So if the “new” political revolution is happening online, and the people in crucial areas aren’t “connected”, how do we address this? Or is old-fashioned grassroots action enough in these areas? Will the more common cell phone be the link? Text messages instead of email? In “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” Joe Trippi talks about empowering people to act politically on their own – is this the silver bullet? How is this fostered en masse?