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Saturday, June 09, 2007

JJ: The Netroots Unites, The Grassroots Validated

Cross Posted: FLA Politics, Florida Progressive Coalition

What can I say? Where can I begin? Today was one hell of a day - and I mean that all in a good way. I went to JJ two years ago, and this was SO much more fun. For starters, I actually knew people. My Dad, Rick Perry and the Van Heydes from the Marion DEC, in addition to Ken Quinnel, gatordem, and many others were all there. Did I mention that other cool people like Karen Thurman, Nancy Pelosi, Dave Aronberg, and others were there, too!?

I could recite the whole day, but that would be ridiculously long - I'll point you to Ken Quinnel's masterful day-long coverage over at Florida Progressive Coalition. Don't worry, I called 911, and the EMT's are taking care of Ken's carpal tunnel as we speak.

The netroots really came together for the first time today. Not all of us were there, to be sure, but all were certainly there in spirit. HUGE kudos to meowmissy for suggesting this idea - and then following it up and working really hard to make it happen. Also a big thanks to Phil Perry and his team for pulling all the logistics together, and getting us credentials to cover the dinner with Speaker Pelosi. What a group of wonderful, practical people! Nonetheless, as typical Democrats and progressive do, we talked endlessly about various topics, and found it hard to focus on the subject at hand: planning a big netroots coming out party at the state convention. But we did, and I think we're going to have a really great shindig later this year. For now, I think were going to have several panels: technology and the blogosphere, why the netroots is critical to candidates, how the netroots and party (both state and DECs) can better work together, while each maintaining their integrity. I think we'll also have a panel on how to best promote our blogs and bring in larger audiences. The big draw is hopefully a prominent blogger as out guest speaker. I personally suggested the lead bloggers at Raising Kaine, a real model for statewide blogospheres to follow.

The other main lesson I learned today was how the idea of strong local parties and grassroots systems was validated - and validated again. It really hit home with me, after bringing Reforming Florida's DECs (which I plugged unmercifully today) back from the digital dead earlier this week. No matter where I went, whether it was the DEC chairs breakfast, the DCCA meeting, the Legislative Liaison and Campaign Committee, and particularly the Netroots luncheon - the same theme remained. We have incredibly smart, energetic, and passionate people at the FDP, which can use resources the best ways and come up with the best plans - but it all rests on the shoulders of the DECs, the grassroots, and yes, the netroots to get the job done. The conversation about how we modernize, streamline, and make more effective the grassroots is more critical than ever.

We Democrats and progressives stand at yet another crossroads. With a fresh round of victories behind us, will we rise to the challenge of building a long-lasting majority party and movement? Will we not only win elections, but push valuable issues and legislation with our new majority? And of course, will our communities be better than when we found them?

I know we can do all of these things, because the people I met today are patriots and know in their souls that this country can be better tommorrow than it is today.


Susan S said...

It was nice meeting you this weekend. Missed you last night at the lobby pajama party. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz stopped by and chatted. She's a lurker at some of the blogs and said she has to fight to keep from posting comments that might get her into trouble. We got a great picture with her.

Keep up the good work and we'll see you October.

Ray Seaman said...

Likewise Susan! I stayed at the Hampton Inn down the road, so the pajama party wasn't a big likelihood for me. Maybe in October!

Eddie said...

It was great to meet you, Ray. I'm looking forward to working with you in the future.

Ray Seaman said...

Likewise to you, too, Eddie! Us young Dems gotta stick together.