Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 205- Face the (Netroots) Nation

“What I’m asking you is to keep making your voices heard, to keep holding me accountable. To keep up the fight.”

Dear Mr. President,

I don't think I count as an official member of the Netroots Nation, and I wasn't in Vegas for the convention, but, since I'm a blogger and I write you every day, I'm going to go ahead and tell myself that I'm part of your intended audience, anyway. I liked your video address, the promises you've renewed to repeal DADT and to close Guantanamo Bay. I hope that, this year, these are promise you can keep. I think the only aspect of this video that strikes me as disingenuous is the get-out-the-midterm-vote request, especially given the way so many centrist Democratic incumbents were given the support of the White House over their more progressive challengers during the primaries. Does it strike you as just a bit distasteful to ignore all of the progressive voices demanding better representation in congress and then ask those same progressives to show up on election day cheering for the lesser of two evils?

This being said, I think the New York Times' analysis of the speech as a "Pep Rally for an Uneasy Democratic Team" perhaps reads a bit too much into the fact that you used clips from Rachel Maddow's show to tout the administration's accomplishments. I think you know that the Netroots movement still has a tremendous number of loyal Obama supporters, even, (and maybe especially) those most vocal about our disappointment with the amount of compromise we've been asked to accept. However, as you so eloquently remind us in your speech, change comes from the bottom up. We've organized, raised money, marched, written and voted. We're asking for change. We're creating change. I think your administration could do a better job empowering and engaging the blogging community. The White House blog is great, but it could be developed into a more relevant forum for honest dialogue with the public. A press room without the press, or the spin, where questions are answered and discussion fostered. A blog that not only allows actual comments, but involves members of the communication department in responding to the discussions.

As inspiring as your address was, I hope the convention you were addressing, and the larger progressive blogging community, has not failed to inspire you, as well. The dogged pursuit of a wiser and more just government, a freer society, and a healthier planet is largely responsible for your election, and the Netroots Nation is only beginning to realize its potential. Now is the time to find the courage to keep your promises to us, Mr. President, not only because it is politically expedient, but because you know it is the right thing for this country and for future generations of Americans.

I guess what I mean is, please don't forget that we're asking you to keep up the fight, as well.

Respectfully yours,


Hey all- speaking of the Midterms, here are some must-see midterm political ads. In case they've escaped your notice:

And, if you're in the giving mood, ActBlue


  1. Kelsey, very endearing letter to the president. Your line about the progressive blogging community inspiring him was honest, and something I have not considered. Maybe this is a reflection of my sentiments about the seeming worthlessness of my vote. In addition, it never occurred to me that the president could be inspired by everyday people when the press cameras are turned off. But I suppose he could be.

    It's difficult to fathom that those midterm ads are actual. When I say Alvin, you say Greene...

  2. Yeah, I want that song on my iPod!

    Giving up on our ability to direct our government is an easy cynicism to fall into. I struggle with it. I think that I still believe the power of the voters is an inspiring thing, and that our government is only as moral or as good as we make it. The President's election, his campaign, the whole inspiring saga of it all was only what we made it. I think he forgets this, sometimes, but the inertia of the whole system makes it harder to see how much change we're really capable of affecting.

    This is me on a really hopeful day, though, tomorrow I'll probably be back to disillusioned with all of it....