Wednesday, November 09, 2016

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

Like most of what I write this should probably be a bit more well thought out, but I've been thinking over the last few weeks about how things have changed since this little blue lemonade stand started. A lot of the things the "netroots" advocated for and pioneered (whether we helped to create any of it is another question, but we were there first) became mainstream and professionalized. A more vocal liberalism, or at the very least a more vocal center-leftism, became a part of the discourse in a way that it hadn't been before. The rabid lambs of the internet were out in front on some important issues, and consciously provided space for the more important powers that be to move into. We were anti-war and pro-gay rights and anti-Social Security busting before it was cool. I'm not saying the bloogers were the first activists on these issues - of course not! - but I do think we helped to mainstream them and make them part of the standard Dem position. I've long thought bloggers helped knit together a tapestry of issues which were seen as somewhat disparate before. An end to the cafeteria Democrat. Gay rights and reproductive rights and racial justice and criminal justice reform and retirement security and immigration reform and livable wages and health care reform and consumer protection aren't really different issues at all. They're all one, really. Not that Dems are close to being perfect on all of these issues, or even would be if they were our benevolent dictators, but it's harder for them to run from them anymore.

For better or for worse, the cable news "hack gap" was closed to some degree, with even some non-hack liberalism making some appearances. A world where Chris Hayes is the left flank on cable news is better than a world where Michael Kinsley is. So, some progress. But the mainstreaming and professionalizing of it all has come with some costs. Probably it's time to be a bit more punk and a bit less Dad rock.