Daily Kos

Bloggers get a seat at the table in Chicago

Mr. President,
I just got back from the Yearly Kos Convention in Chicago, and I encountered some of the most energized people I have ever met. They are angry, they are frustrated but most of all they are committed to change and they are starting to feel their oats. It is starting to sink in now. They are making a difference.

I left the convention afterwards still reeling from the four day event. I took Amtrak out of Chicago; the train shook and shimmied as it rolled out of Chicago's Union Station. After a few hours the train was speeding out onto one of the Midwest's premier farm lands; and It was finally raining.

The land had been baked by a series of consecutive 90 degree days. I bet one could almost hear the dry parched earth sigh as the life-giving moisture reached the thirsty roots of Illinois corn.

I realized that this simple act of nature maybe an apt metaphor for how I believe The Daily Kos, a five-year-old web site became a player in National politics.

The disastrous consequences of the Bush-Cheney experiment using neo-conservative politics at the highest levels of the government of the most powerful nation in the world has been a blot on our country which will not wash off easily.

The American people have been walking in a land, left barren by six years of ill-conceived economic, national and foreign policy decisions.

Deception, corruption, nepotism, ineptness, malfeasance, and even crimes against the constitution have left a demoralized, sad, frustrated and angry nation of people across the country.

As the nation thirsts for leadership and hope they got bumper-sticker platitudes wrapped in red white and blue tied together with yellow ribbons.

Our government, led by a pretender, has given Americans thirsty for responsible leadership sand to quench their needs, while Cheney installs and runs a shadow government designed to cripple the Constitution and eliminate checks and balances our founders implemented. Cheney has set up an absolute monarchy wrapped around an American flag, which has created and fanned many fires around the world as he strove to expand the reach of an imperial America.

Over the last six years many Americans noticed what was afoot in Washington and became outaged at what was being done. The anger was not expressed so much on the streets as people once did in the 60's, but on the internet.

As the internet evolved so did the on-line community of some really pissed off people. They formed the basis of the netroots which ultimately gave rise to on-line forums like
The Daily Kos and others as a means to vent, discuss and organize.

One web site,
The Daily Kos, took it one step further, the held a convention last year in Las Vegas. The second annual Daily Kos convention was just held in Chicago, Illinois and it was unlike anything I have ever attended.

The Internet group at Mc Cormick Place looked like the country's most ordinary crowd.

Perhaps you could get a hint that they were not so ordinary from the number of people with laptops, crowded around electric outlets up and down the hallways.

There were no game consoles or joy sticks around. No one wore Vulcan ear prosthetics and no one was dressed as star troopers or Klingons.

These bloggers didn't come dressed in pajamas nor did they wear bell bottom pants, miniskirts, peace signs or wreak of marijuana.

If you ran into one of them on any street in America, they would not command very much attention. There are farmers, firemen, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, soldiers, retirees, programmers, stock analysts, steel workers, secretaries, journalists, lawyers, policemen, students, and many others.

But together, these people are not ordinary nor without a sense of humor. They are political activists with a progressive agenda. They are Americans with Internet blogging skills who are not afraid to use them to fight for American rights given to us by the founders.

The dictionary description of a progressive is a person who favors progress, reform and the protection of civil liberties.

The Daily Kos and other web forums seem to be much more than that; they are watchdogs, they are bulldogs with an unrelenting demand for social justice, and they are independent of any political party's dogma, although the Democrats platform is becoming more aligned, to their own, many centrists Republicans would be surprised how many people within the group share many of the same thoughts.

It is not a completely monolithic group and every day, there is plenty of interaction over differing viewpoints on the web site www.dailykos.com. But I warn everyone with a thin skin from posting anything which is not sourced or easily corroborated. Having said that, opinions are constantly presented, ideas are listed, and specific action is prescribed. The group self regulates the discussion which is often quite interesting to watch. There is a real bent towards rational pointed discussions but discussion threads can take you from Supreme court issues to aunt Mae's fudge recipe as well.

The talk it is not always about local, regional, national, washington politics, world affairs, the main stream media, talk radio and the Iraq war.

Recipes, cat pictures, and family stories are also shared. Births are celebrated and family deaths are mourned; American soldier's deaths are especially poignant with this group.

The convention was limited to 1500 kossacks, but it didn't keep 250 media from attending the event, Thousands more from around the world logged on to The Daily Kos which was blogged live and thru Second Life, a portal to a virtual world, where the convention was also held.

The group commanded significant amount of respect while they were in Chicago.

The president of one of the most powerful unions in America, the Teamsters, held a barbecue along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, for the bloggers .

Candidates from across the country attended the convention looking for their support and use of their growing political voice.

The height of their influence was exemplified when they were able to command the presence of the person who at this time, will perhaps be the the next president of the United States.

Seven of the eight Democratic candidates shared the stage on the third day and under the hot lights in the main dining hall they were asked pointed questions about their stance on a variety of issues. The candidates were given 90 seconds to answer and no two candidates were given the same question.

The candidates vigor in answering the questions was tough on the moderator, who often questioned the answers given as the politicians tried to evade direct and telling answers.

The convention held ethnic caucuses, seminars and panel discussions. New documentaries were shown and the exhibition hall full of internet services and groups of activists such as the ACLU and Code Pink were in attendance.

Wesly Clark and Howard Dean both gave key note speeches and authors like John Dean were present for book-signings.

Such was the caliber of people who gathered in Chicago to address
The DailyKos crowd. These people noted that the Internet blogosphere are now a force to be reckoned with.

In a time of great peril to our constitution, America badly needs groups like
The Daily Kos to crash the gates of the government which has progressed the agenda of the military-industrial complex. The "political ends justifying the means" style of government has ravaged our entire justice system, destroyed the American dream for the poor and middle class people, devastated the 5th estate, weakened our security, polarized our country as well as promoted racial attacks on immigrants.

The subdued major media plus the obvious attack on our freedoms and disastrous leadership by Bush accelerated the movement. People needed to vent and to find a place for real news without mention of Britany Spears, Michael Jackson or government sponsored fear-mongering.

The internet community has tried to fill America's need for real news. But they have done more than just bitch they research, report and they organized. They knocked on doors they initiated voter drives, they chose candidates for office, called senators, representatives, and staged protests. They donated money and they have seen fruits of their efforts to the point where even presidential candidates have sat up and noticed.

Some mainstream outlets have been intimidated by blogger's efforts, others who have become megaphones for Bush and his propaganda have tried to belittle the group hoping to tarnish, and diminish their reach and power. Hate-radio like Limbuagh, Savage and Fox news pundits have even compared them to the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis for daring to question and challenge the preeminent power of the Bush's imperial presidency .

I almost feel sorry for those people who lower themselves to such desperate tactics.

It is sad that deluded people are attacking firemen who are trying to put out a fire which is consuming our freedoms, because the heat from the flames make right-wing conservatives feel comfortable.

For the first time in six years, I actually started feeling hopeful after leaving the Kos convention.

America's thirst for truth lingers, but important people are learning that Internet groups like Kos seem to have the power and the willingness to use the tools at their disposal to dig and explore the nefarious regions of state regional and Washington politics and supply sufficient sustenance to help bring back our democracy and allow it to flower again.

From: comments@whitehouse.gov
Date: August 7, 2007 8:51:44 PM CDT
To: guzmatom@mac.com

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence.

We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions.

Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.