Sunday, November 07, 2004

Now is Not the Time to Quit

I am still stunned by this election result. Like many, I'm trying to figure out where to go from here and what to do next. But today I've had the feeling of loss I experienced on Tuesday once again, unexpectedly, brought to the surface. Like many, I am a regular Daily Kos reader. Several of the "Kos Irregulars" - key members of the dKos community - announced an end to their posting on Kos. Trapper John's "It's been real" and the associated resignation of DemFromCT, following the earlier epitat of Meteor Blades "Swan Song" where losses I hadn't expected today. These where all bloggers I aspired to be like, cited often in my posts, and looked forward to reading.

Now they've hung it up.

I'm not them, and can't understand their situations. They have every right to walk away and have a normal life not preoccupied with getting one's syntax correct, following every news event every day, and/or worrying about whether that href is correct. They've earned their respect with the quality of their posts, inspired people like me to start my own blog, and been foundation members of the blogosphere. But in my opinion now is not the time for such highly visible members of the blogosphere to quit.

Here's my reasons for this thought: Right now many people, especially those new to politics like myself, are bruised and battered by an election cycle that consumed us all for nearly two years or more. We've found politics to be more than a contact sport, capable of ripping out our hearts and torturing our minds. We are all justly wondering if our efforts and sacrifices of time, money and energy were worth it. We all want to quit and go hide out in a nice quiet politics free cave for a while where no amount of trying will get Wolf Blitzer or Joe Liberman on the TV. We all want to hang it up.

But we can't. None of us can quit now. We must continue to fight, even if all we do is call attention through a blog post to actions that the major media will never cover. The blogosphere is no longer just the quirky place to post one's rants that it was two years ago. It is a source in information, and in my opinion - inspiration, to those who have in the past sat on the sidelines in blissful ignorance of what was actually happening on the ground around us.

Bloggers like Meteor Blades, DemFromCT, and Trapper John are more than just mere bloggers with a wide audience. They are a source of inspiration to many who read their work. They are role models of what it it like to be aware in one's democracy. If many of us are feeling loss over this election and questioning "was it worth it," then surely these leaders of our community are no different in such feelings. In fact, I suspect they may feel such feelings more deeply than many of us. Yet if their reaction is to walk away, to go back to lurking, to give in to the feeling of despair we all feel right now as we watch Bush smirk and enforce his "one question rule," then what does that say to those new to politics who gave their all?

Surely these people have their reasons, and my wanting them to stay on is as selfish as it has to do with their roles as leaders in the blogosphere. But in my heart of hearts I know that now is not the time to quit. None of us can quit. If we do, then the mandate is real. Rove wins more than just the election if we go back to just lurking. Together, with the help of leaders like Trippi and Marcos, we built the blogosphere from nothing to something that may well save the Democratic party. We need to add voices at this critical time, not retire the voices of proven leaders among us. We need to expand, to attract more, to awaken more of America that is asleep with new and proven voices of our online communities.

To those thinking of hanging it up, here's my woefully pathetic and trite advice: Take five. Take time off. Take a knee. Take the kids to the Zoo. Go get drunk. Go get laid. Post once a week instead of once a day. Post once of month instead of once a week. But don't just walk away, especially so publicly. How we as members of the blogosphere, especially our leaders, react to this election cycle's loss will determine whether this experiment of mass political awakening and mobilization directed through Internet Web Logs was real or a fad.

I've worked too hard for this to be a fad.