There's Something Happening Here
by Matt Stoller, Sat Apr 29, 2006 at 06:01:44 PM EDT
I supported Ned Lamont, and I have supported him since February, for one reason. He would be a great Senator, and our country desperately needs greatness again. Jane points that out again tonight after this article came out on the front page of the Washington Post on Ned Lamont.
There's something happening that people in DC still don't get. No one trusts the insiders anymore. Why? Because they are no longer trustworthy. Witness this article by Adam Nagourney, which profiles Senator Schumer and Congressman Emanuel. It's just, well, bad. It's boring. It discusses politics as if there are no stakes, as if it's merely a parlour game played for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
What we're doing on the blogs is different, which might be why bloggers are trusted by their readers. I was privileged to be one of the first bloggers to meet Lamont, and I'm overjoyed to hear the following:
The excitement around your candidacy has been fueled in large part by bloggers, much the same way as was Howard Dean's presidential run. How has that dynamic affected your efforts?
I'm very appreciative of the blogs. I'm coming at this race as a bit of an outsider, with not high name recognition, and who cares passionately about the issues, but when I talk to the mainstream media, it's all about process and money and delegates. It was the blogs who said, "Hey, there are compelling issues out there, and let's see how Lamont stands."Whatever the blogs' reputation, they opened the door to more serious discourse than the mainstream media did.
That is exactly what I saw in New Jersey as well. Blogs, far from being fever swamps, are discussing ideas and policy in a way that far surpasses the cynicism of the media cartel. Bloggers and the people who read and comment on them connect politics to our lives, even if there is sometimes vulgarity or a certain rawness to our expressive medium. We're filling a demand for normalcy in politics, for anti-elitist open discussion. And now the new politicians like Lamont who are actually providing real political leadership are like catnip to us, and as a result we're becoming a very powerful megaphone for them. Lamont doesn't have to ask anyone to 'get his message out'. He simply has certain values, and because his values are our values, we're talking about about and supporting him. With no TV in the way.
Which brings me back to a certain sense of, well, freshness in the air. There's something changing, new winds in our political system, and we're all a part of it. It's called hope, idealism, or maybe just plain honor. You see, I blog because while I am a pessimist, I am also an idealist. I believe in the power of ideas, in the healing power of discourse, and in the ability of all of us to work towards our own sense of community and personal responsibility. Ultimately, America is what we make of it, and all of us, by reading this blog, by participating in door-knocks, or even by the simple act of declaring oneself responsible for what one's country does instead of being a passive consumer of other's royal actions, are becoming better citizens.
Ned Lamont is going to be a fantastic Senator. I'm proud of all of our work, together, in putting him on the path to getting there. And that's why you should give. Not because he needs the money, though he does. But because this is an investment in yourself. This is an investment in what it means to be a citizen, to take action, to affect the country and the world, and to let hope triumph over apathy and cynicism.