My Vision of the Blogosphere: Those Uncorrupted By Powerlessness
by Chris Bowers, Wed Apr 19, 2006 at 11:37:52 AM EDT
- Nathan's Congressman Admits Preferring Tax Cuts for Rich To Helping Poor. Outstanding original journalistic activism.
- Planting Liberally's "Facilitating local blog-sprawl,"Part I and II.. Great strategy and infrastructure piece.
- Skeptic06's Chris's Key Votes-- a House built on sand?. An interesting critique of my 2005 congressional loyalty scorecards.
- KtinTX's Sen. Feingold with Courage in Texas. Good on the ground reporting.
- Joseph Hughes, Republicans Panic. Nice messaging piece.
- BooMan's Bernstein: Investigate the Administration Now, which does a great job using old quotes to show how the administration immediately began banging the drums of war against Iraq, on September 12th, 2001.
- Alex Urevick's Generally Speaking, which is a very good piece on the General's revolt against Rumsefeld.
- BENAWU's House Filings Update - and a new 50 State Page coming soon. As always top-shelf analysis of the progress of the fifty-state strategy in congressional races.
- AnthonySF's Senate Fundraising Numbers by the Barrelful. Great and useful info.
- Myddaddict's The great leap forward in organizing local groups. Interesting piece on community organizing.
- Gatordemocrat's The need for local progressive think tanks. An interesting piece on progressive infrastructure.
Both the exceptional diaries and the types of anti-social behavior I listed above are, like almost everything in the independent blogosphere, born out of a feeling of powerlessness. Whether you are talking to Kos or a blogger with only ten readers a day, one thing I am sure you will hear is that a feeling of powerlessness was one of the main driving forces for them in starting their blogs. We created this new institution, the progressive blogosphere and netroots, to cope and combat that feeling of powerlessness in the face of a rising conservative tide. Now, this sense of powerlessness has resulted in a sprawling, powerful and populist institution that is a major force in American politics. However, for all of the great things the progressive blogosphere has built and accomplished, as Billmon notes, this feeling of powerless can also corrupt:The problem is that Lord Acton's maxim is equally true in reverse: If power corrupts, so does powerlessness. It can lead to fatalism, apathy and irresponsibility - or to paranoia, rage and a willingness to believe every loopy conspiracy theory that comes down the pike. When you participate in the progressive political blogosphere, I think you face a choice. On the one hand, you can be corrupted by your feeling of powerlessness, and engage in the sort of anti-social behavior that dominates many comment threads here and elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere. On the other hand, you can be spurred on by this feeling of powerlessness, leave the anti-social and corrupted tendencies of powerlessness behind you, and instead serve as a positive force working to rectify the conditions that originally led to your sense of powerlessness.
As a site, MyDD focuses on elections, political infrastructure, strategy, and activism. My vision for the site is a community of front-pagers, diarists, commenters, and readers who strive to make positive, progressive and in-depth contributions in those areas. I wish I knew what needed to be done in order to change the tone of the community so that we are closer to this ideal than our many anti-social comment threads would indicate. I am going to start by trying to highlight those members who are making contributions that clearly strive toward this ideal. Work to make a positive contribution, and you will be rewarded with recognition and influence. Remain anti-social, and you will remain obscure and powerless.