Yearly Kos: A Cultural of Strong Liberalism
by Matt Stoller, Mon Jun 12, 2006 at 10:20:08 AM EDT
The Las Vegas airport provides free wireless. Awesome.
Yearly Kos was a significant historical milestone. Every person there was a leader, articulate, smart, and substantive. I have three observations.
1) The surprise to me was how normal it all felt, in the sense that we were all there to do work and discuss substance. It didn't feel like the first Yearly Kos, it felt more like a continuation of a project we all began years ago.
2) We have a culture of liberalism. I know that sounds 'soft', but the laughing liberally folk and the comedians at the event mixed perfectly with the bloggers because we are a movement. Every significant political movement rests on cultural foundations, and I think that the punk ethos and the development of the ironic collegiate comedy style of the 1970s has coalesced into a cultural base for what we're doing. It's a clear counter to the 'real America' meme of Mudcat Saunders faux-heartland schtick and the liberal NYT Hollywood elitists. We are neither of them, and we have mainstream cultural roots that are as powerful as our political ideas.
3) MyDD has a real and wonderful community of thoughtful and experienced political actors. I wish more of you would consider commenting, and I'm going to think hard about how to make it more pleasant for you to participate online the same way we did at the amazing MyDD caucus. For starters, I'm going to try hanging out more in the comment threads, and I'm going to make a stronger effort to use the rating system.
Ok, so I know I said I have three observations, but Chris is the numbers guy, so here's a fourth.
4) Every political convention I've been to is full of weirdos. That was not true of Yearly Kos. People there were normal and connected to a mainstream American lifestyle that is missing from the elite press corps, the 'K-Stree Centrists' of the Democratic establishment, and the weird and insular state machines that control political all over the country.
I know it's kind of a cliche to say that everyone can and should be a leader. In the case of this convention, it wasn't a cliche. Everyone there was doing something innovative and unique to take power for the ordinary American who is left out of our political system and public discourse. There were only a thousand of us there, but as I was reminded on one panel, that's fewer people than were at the Constitutional Convention.
Anyway, thank you for being part of this community. I owe you a great deal for your brilliance and constant criticism. Literally nothing I do in politics would be possible without you.