It’s true that technology made blogging and citizen journalism possible, but it was the media’s tendency at the turn of the century to report outrageous lies without identifying them as lies that caused the emergence of a progressive blogosphere. When millions of people who had been impotently shouting at their televisions found a way to talk to each other online, a new force in American politics was born. I was there in Las Vegas from June 8th to June 11th, 2006, when we met each other in person for the first time at the inaugural Yearly Kos (now Netroots Nation) Convention. It was exhilarating and restorative.
My, how things have changed. That the present administration lies is no longer disputed by the media nor does it go unreported. In fact, the topic is beginning to crowd out all other reporting about everything else that goes on in the country and the world. This actually presents a challenge for a guy like me, because I used to have an obvious angle on nearly every new article on a Republican presidency, which was that the reporters didn’t fully explain how much bullshit we were being subjected to and that the result was to allow people to take seriously what should be dismissed out of hand.
If I do that today, it’s pretty much redundant, because the reporters are doing a fine job most of the time in debunking every utterance of the president and his surrogates. That something is seriously wrong is no longer doubted, even among a growing number of Republican lawmakers and their aides.
For example, observing the Trump administration’s behavior this week, a senior Republican Senate aide was just quoted saying, “It has to stop … never seen anything like this in my entire career.” Asked how the Republicans in Congress are feeling, a top House leadership source said, “Lot of anxiety, don’t know next shoe to drop.”
After the first generation of progressive bloggers met in person in 2006, we felt like we had a purpose and we could change the world. After the excellent outcome of the 2006 midterms, we were even more optimistic, and following that up by electing the first black president gave us the sense that we were on the crest of a giant wave.
Before long, we began to splinter and whatever progress we made as a country during the Obama years (and it was substantial), it’s now obvious that the right-wing spent all that time devolving. The result is that things are immeasurably worse for the country under the present Republican leadership than they were under the previous leadership, and that’s something that was almost unimaginable on Inauguration Day in 2009.
We can’t fix this house by shoring up just one side of it. There has to be a movement on the right to take back some semblance of sanity and decency. They won’t listen take this old progressive blogger’s advice, but I have some stories to tell if they want to listen.