J-7--I was just casually perusing the site meter and noticed yet-another guest from Washington D.C. : it was the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate! Of course, he didn't even stay, but he found the headline in a search. Yes-yes, it would be better if I was outside freezing with other people tonight at a protest, I know. It would feel "powerful" and I'd "feel better" (about what exactly?). But would I reach as many people? Not in the detail I can here. Unlike the more-liberal-than-thou who can readily fly or drive to D.C., or to whatever boffo demonstration/inaction, I'm broke and busy.
Right now, I'm self-employed, but there are still demands that are similar to those of any workplace. The majority of Americans have neither the time, money, or even the inclination to go to a demonstration with vaporous results. I'd say that about the blogs, but they get more mention on the evening news and the mainstream press because they're having a tangible-effect. This isn't to say that protests are obsolete, but thinking they are the paramount approach, eclipsing all-others is. "But, those congressional staffers just mass-delete emails, you have to call or write them." How do you know?
This is also an obsolete contention that was maybe valid four years ago. The internet is having an effect on politicians, and Americans can now tell everyone what they think. This is an incredible breakthrough in democracy, a countervailing trend--but not everyone on the left likes democratic participation anymore than those on the right. Seriously: one can sign petitions that are collated from the internet by PACs and other internet/real world activists, then have it introduced into the congressional record! In the last two-years, I have signed more petitions than in my entire life before the advent of mass-access to the internet and email.
There isn't anything comparable to the ease in this, especially for hard-pressed families who don't have the money to travel their one week off a year to...what? It's a circular-argument to say that the internet is useless, and it's not credible. Many of the new protests were actually announced through this medium, and again, look at the great example that the anti-globalization movement have provided. Most of these folks know each other because of the internet, and have even displayed some real solidarity when things got hot. They even traded notes on how the cops in a given city were going to behave.
Should they have: a) boarded a plane, so that some bourgies could be pleased everyone met face-to-face, and b) lose their jobs or be broke so someone with an faulty-opinion could "feel better." People who go on and on about how essential protests are on thin-ice. You're a bourgie who feels guilty that you're going to wear that collar and suit that constricts the flow of blood to your brain. It's inevitable, you will sell-out, and you can't bear it. Maybe it's already too late, but it strikes me that those who put down the power of the blogs and the internet have a lot of proving to do. But maybe, some of you are just angry you cannot control something that's so diffuse, and yet, has become fairly focused and powerful (like a clenched-fist). It is a new political force that favors progressive politics as its theme, and it's not hierarchal (no "leaders"). In my opinion, this is why you intuitively dislike or disregard it.
The blogs and the internet are new social forces we're all going to have to get-used-to. We might also have to accept that isolation originates more from the unreasonable demands of the workplace, while other aspects of it are simply terminal to this era of modernity. This is a trend that is unlikely to end in our lifetimes, regardless of how much we attempt to reach-out--if the time and money aren't there, it's not going to happen. That's a matter of class, and it bothers those who are control freaks. Plenty of those on the so-called "Left". They don't feel so special anymore, or they're too young (and bourgeois) to remember how tough it was to inform people before the internet. Get edumacated, this is the new "ferment of ideas", and you're thinkin' dowdy! ;0)
PS: And this week, I had a post by a gentleman from Arkansas who knew the West Memphis 3 before the murders at Robin Hood Hills! Check the piece down the page on John Mark Byers, he's in the comments section. I guess we should have written a letter on parchment , each other so someone could "feel better." Maybe I should have flown to Arkansas instead of sending an email? Great, you pay for it, asshole. Right, I thought so. Talk is cheap.
WM3 Piece: http://chickasawpicklesmell.blogspot.com/2007/01/john-mark-byers-and-west-memphis-3.html