"It's very hard, actually, to move people from online activism to offline activism. That's the next step. That's what liberals and democrats are going to have to do." -- Paul Begala from NPR's On The Media's coverage of Yearly Kos
so far it sounds like the ongoing theme of yearly kos is that blogging is not enough. as one of the lunchtime candidates said, if he sees that next year the kossaks are not only blogging but also serving on their democratic central parties and ptas he will know we are winning.
last summer i was a volunteer coordinator at cindy sheehan's camp casey in crawford texas. this was a true grassroots movement, a tipping point that was run completely by volunteers. near the end of august we had thousands of people showing up during the days to see what was happening and hundreds camping 24/7. this meant we needed folks to volunteer to do things like direct traffic, stand guard at night, help out in the kitchen, gather up trash and recycling - you name it, there was a lot of work to be done.
every morning and every evening the camp commander, former diplomat ann wright, would call for volunteers to take a shift. since the bloggers wouldn't leave their tables to join the morning and evening volunteer meetings, we started physically moving the meetings closer to them. they still wouldn't volunteer. when asked directly, a number said that their contribution to camp was their blogging.
as someone who would have loved to take time to add to my personal blog for my family and friends, i resented them. there was too much work to be done. manual labor, heavy frigging burdens that these able-bodied folks could have easily lightened.
camp casey was a true community and a microcosm of our movement. i risk airing our dirty laundry to say that i support the pleas of the organizers who ask you to get off your asses. one common lament of the netroots is the lack of backbone in the democratic party. howsabout setting an example by first using yours to do some heavy lifting?
the truth is, after much shaming, a few bloggers did start taking their turns at security and such. and they honestly looked happier for it. it's much more satisifying to be a part of a movement than to simply report on it.
bloggers do serve a purpose. i thank all of you for your contributions and damn all of you for my addiction. but nothing absolves any of us of our duty to get out and volunteer to do the actual dirty work as well...