Friday, July 18, 2008
Smack-Down or Hugging It Out
Ok I just sat through this Keynote with Markos Moulitsas and Harold Ford Jr. and it was one big YAWN! WTF. I'm at NetRoots Nation and I have to say this was my first time attending and may very likely be my last time. After last year's Meet the Press show where Kos and Harold Ford squared off and Ford had his head served to him on a platter I was expecting some substantive dialog between them and instead it was two stalwarts joining forces if anything.
Harold went into the history of the DLC and how Bill Clinton became the power player behind it during his Presidential run and subsequent win. He was trying to paint the DLC as a coalition of sorts instead of the self-serving and destructive entity that it actually is. He mentioned that our perceived or real differences pale in comparison to the threat of a Republican presidential win this year. He alludes to the FISA votes and just couldn't help but throw a dig at Obama [look out for flying objects] by mentioning that Hillary Clinton voted against the version that recently passed. Well, I say there's little difference when two political parties dominate US politics and are mostly co-opted by corporate interests that have little benefit to the average citizen.
For more revisionist history Markos mentions Joe LIEberman when answering the moderator Arshad Hasan's question about the effect of citizens taking action. I say revisionist because didn't Marcos support LIEberman and oppose Lamont originally? He tells a story about being at a DLC event where he referred to LIEberman as an a**hole and received applause for it. How cool! How trendy. I know people make mistakes as even Obama supported LIEberman at one time. Some 'friend' he turned out to be!
Ford continues the conversation by adding that some voters may be upset about the FISA voting but they have other interests such as gas prices, housing, healthcare that are of higher importance. Blah blah blah some more self-importance is being exchanged and I have to step away for some coffee by this time. I might want to change that to a cocktail but it's not even 2pm yet.
Ok when I come back it's time for the Q&A. The first person to ask a question [male] mentions how similar in appearance the audience is attending the conference and wants to know what is being done to achieve more diversity. Markos takes this. I may have to go back a read the transcript because I can't be hearing this correctly: he doesn't think there needs to be an even representation of all people at this conference. Why? People tend to gravitate towards what they feel comfortable with and NetRoots and blogging isn't the be all and end all of a 'progressive' movement. Hmmmm. Why am I here again? Is this why the people who planned the conference excluded input from people of color. Is this why they planned several caucuses for the same competing time slots? Is this why those caucuses where scheduled for a mere hour and had no structure or format? Is this why the dates scheduled are in conflict with the BlogHer conference happening in San Francisco rightthisminute? This sounds like a would-be Republican agenda of divide an conquer by keeping people separate and focused on limited interests. The last time I checked any significant change for the better that occurred in this country happened through blood, sweat and tears and breaking through direct and internal resistance. It was not fun, it was not pretty and it did not come without great sacrifice. Sometimes the 'enemy' was someone who looked just like you in fact. So if a few people can't be bothered to be made to feel uncomfortable what exactly is being done?
I am female and I am Black. That does not mean I can't chew gum and tie my shoes at the same time. That does not mean I don't care about the environment. My issues are not "Black" issues though there are specific goals I may have in mind that I place in high regard. I don't have children but I certainly understand the importance of high quality and affordable child care.
Another audience member [male again] speaks to Harold Ford. He got pawned!! He was called out on his voting record and his previous employment with Faux Noise and how he continually smears fellow Democrats. Funny how Markos and Arshad are so quick to jump in to shield poor old Harold who clearly needs protecting. He's cool as a cucumber however and mentions he has great respect for his colleagues at Faux and gets booed by the audience. He now works at MSNBC - not much better. He stands by his voting record. Markos and Arshad are conferring and conspiring perhaps to shut this down! They take a third question [yet another male] who talks about FISA and Markos is more than ready to wrap this up. Since when does 3 questions count as a Q&A? They did NOT want active participation from the audience.
You know this is why people get so frustrated with politics and the entire political process. As an average citizen of limited resources who wants to be politically aware and willing to do something I am feeling quite alienated right now. I know there's a group of people who have an agenda that is opposite of any beneficial agenda I might support. The kicker is that there is another group of people who would claim to be an ally and may speak a similar language but are self-serving and in fact more dangerous as they seem innocuous. That's the vibe I'm getting from the people in positions of authority. It's all about them. There are people who want to be part of the in-crowd or may think they are the in-crowd and it remains to be seen whether they will retain their idealism/innocence or be used by others and sell-out. Am I being too vague here?