Editor’s Note: The pseudonymous blogger known as Digby has been passionately writing about politics on Hullabaloo since 2002. On June 19, when she accepted the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award on behalf of the progressive blogosphere at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC, Digby remained an enigma, choosing not to reveal her name as she delivered these remarks about the evolution of the netroots into a political force. Watch the video here.
Those of you who know my blog, know that it is nearly impossible draw me from my secure bunker in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica. But when I was approached by my friend Rick Perlstein about accepting this award on behalf of the progressive blogosphere, I knew that it was an honor I could not refuse, not for myself, although I’m grateful, but for my fellow bloggers.
We are proud to be a part of the great progressive liberal tradition of Paul Wellstone and are grateful for your kind acknowledgment. Thank you. As there has been a lot said recently about the netroots and our influence on the Democratic party, this is especially rewarding.
And let’s just say we seem to have ruffled some feathers.
We’ve been called everything from witless to “some guy named Vinnie in a bathrobe and an efficiency apartment” to “blogofascists.” Some critics dismiss us as useless elites–the Metropolitan Opera crowd–or a “noisy Upper West Side cocktail party for the college-graduate class.” Still others take us to task for our “vitriolic, unhinged tone.”
The other day Tim Russert agreed “absolutely” with his gracious host, concerned centrist Sean Hannity, that the Democratic party was being unduly influenced by bloggers who were dragging the party kicking and screaming to the left.
Then there is the criticism that we are fascists or Stalinists demanding that everyone march in lockstep to the edicts of our leadership–generally assumed to be Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos–who apparently directs us with secret signals deeply embedded in the code of the Daily Kos web site while we carry on an elaborate ruse of spirited political debate and disagreement in public.
We are, in short, something of an enigma.
I like to call this phenomenon–irrational fear of hippies which has, in my view, become–irrational fear of political passion. Of all the criticisms I just mentioned, that is one we are all willing to accept.
We are passionate about politics, and in this era of Republican corruption, excess and failure, that passion sometimes manifests itself as anger. But how can you not be angry? So many institutions have failed us in the last decade that being vitriolic seems the only sane response.
And as for the idea that we are modern Stalinists: Does that makes any sense at all? We can’t even agree on what to call ourselves.
The netroots consist of a very lively and disparate group of citizens who are political observers, activists, readers and entrepreneurs communicating and organizing via the Internet.
We have opera-loving liberals from Georgia… Nascar-loving progressives from Chicago… and Grateful Dead-loving Democrats from… Florida. We are from everywhere, and our common tribal signifiers aren’t social status or professional authority or region.