Something to Do
While we do not yet have a nominee for certain, I think we can say with a high degree of confidence that Senator Obama achieving a majority of the overall pledged delegates in Kentucky last Tuesday will prove to be, ultimately, what secured him the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008. This was, and always has been, as both candidates and their surrogates agreed at the outset, a contest for pledged delegates.
The thousands of you who played a role in that achievement, that majority, deserve a massive round of appreciation and praise.
Now's when the hard part begins...
Some of us were here on the internets blogging in 2003 and 2004. (Many more were readers and have since joined the discussion.) Those were different times.
To be a Democrat in 2003 was to have watched in successive election years (2000 and 2002) our party lose ground despite the hard work of so many good people with solid values and amazing ideas. 2004, we felt, was going to be different.
Some of us supported a guy named Howard Dean. Some of us supported a guy named Wesley Clark. Many fewer of us supported candidates like John Kerry, or John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich (whom I voted for in the CA primary in 2004). A very, very few of us supported Dick Gephardt.
Yep. That was me.
2004, ultimately, proved to be a massive disappointment for us. It ended up being a year on par with 2000 and 2002. And, yes, that sucked.
But something happened in the aftermath of that loss, something different from what had gone on in 2000 and 2002. As a party and as a blogosphere, we matured and we rallied, and, yes, we came together and renewed our engagement instead of having a pity party and disengaging or giving up.
We changed. And as we changed, the times changed with us. Our hard work paid off, and we redoubled our effort.
Howard Dean became the Chairman of the DNC.
George Bush failed in his attempt to privatize Social Security. Conservatism failed in its response to the natural and, then, man-made disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. And we here in the netroots rallied.
We formed local blogs. We supported long-shot insurgent candidates. We got organized locally. We believed. And in 2006 we worked our asses off for change.
And we won.
2008 is the natural consequence of all that hard work.
We have a candidate, Barack Obama, who...while different from Chairman Dean in some respects...is similar to Howard Dean in key areas. Both opposed the war from the beginning and both are firm believers in the greatness of what we can achieve when we organize ourselves at the grassroots level; both men are rooted in the 50 State Strategy as the most powerful way to grow the Democratic Party and enact the reforms we seek.
You have the power is the natural corollary to change comes from the bottom up.
This has been a grassroots campaign for the nomination, and, if things go as they seem to be headed, 2008 will mark the first grassroots campaign for President.
We in the netroots have a role to play in that.
I want to make a simple invitation tonight.
In the coming weeks I'll be letting you know all the various ways you can maximize your effectiveness this summer and fall whether on behalf of the nominee of our party or working for a candidate downticket in a local race.
For right now, I'd like to highlight two tools that you can sign up for and learn to use in ten minutes. Both of these tools relate to Barack Obama and his campaign, but the basic principle behind them applies to any campaign in any locale.
First, if you haven't already, I'd encourage you to sign up at MyBarackObama.com, or MyBO as they call it in the campaign.
MyBarackObama.com is the social networking wing of the campaign. It's where you can blog, where you can find friends, and where, most importantly, you can get linked up with other folks who support Barack Obama who live near you so that you can take action together.
For now, I'd like to invite you to join me and a bunch of other readers of DailyKos.com at MyBarackObama.com. You can do this in three easy steps:
1. You'll have to sign up.
2. You'll have to search for and join a group called Kossacks for Obama. (You should also enter your zip code and join a group near you.)
3. If you're willing, you can also be my friend! (Hint, my name is Paul Delehanty..User 276 on Page 12 of Kossacks for Obama...search for me, I should be easy to find.)
Once you've done all that, you will have begun to use a tool we didn't have in 2004. Social Networking, or what some people call Web 2.0, is a way for you to have your personal space within the campaign to make Barack Obama our next President.
You can blog, you can fundraise, and, most importantly, you can link up with likeminded people near you and all over the USA and abroad. Currently, I only have 1 friend. You can help me change that, too!
Social networking is a big deal. It's actually, and I'm not bullshitting here, our best hope of building the kind of network we need to build in one summer and fall to make victory in 2008 not just a possibility, but a overwhelming likelihood.
We need to be registering voters and getting folks plugged in...now. You can help with that...and I intend to write diaries that show you how.
Now, for the second thing to do.
This is really easy. It's more simple than anything you'll do all week.
I'd like to invite you to join an open Google Group, a listserv, called Netroots for Barack Obama. There's 122 of us there. I think we should try to double that.
A listserv is a powerful tool. Yes, it takes learning how to set your email browser to forward the messages into one folder...or subscribing to a daily digest instead of receiving every email as it's sent. But, once you've got the hang of it, a listserv like the Netroots for Barack Obama google group is an extremely powerful way to stay connected to what folks who support Barack are thinking and doing day to day.
That's all I'm asking you to do this weekend. It will take ten minutes.
However, in those ten minutes you will have signed on to use two tools that we did not have in 2004...the Google Group and the Social Networking Site.
With those two tools...in addition to reading your favorite blogs...you will have plugged yourself in to something powerful.
And that's the point. That's how we will make change in 2008...by coming together and getting organized. We could have given in and folded up the towel in November of 2004...we did not. In 2008, it won't be easy. We have a long summer and fall ahead of us. But, this time we've made a commitment to each other that it will be different.
We've learned, we've grown and we're ready. We know what's possible. We don't know yet what we will attain. There's more I'm going to tell you about down the road.
Yes.We.Can....VOTE FOR CHANGE.