friday post, nothing big

mike calls. 'can you blog!!!' with panic in his voice.

elaine had to attend a formal dinner tonight and nina asked mike if they could get an early start on friday for a change. so elaine and mike's plan was to post later tonight.

'but i don't think elaine put it up at her site and i know i didn't at mine.'

elaine wouldn't put it up at her site. she's a very sensitive person but if she did assume that people were repeatedly checking at 7 on the dot, her attitude would be 'i have enough pressure on me! back off!'

i wasn't even sure if i was going to blog tonight.

but since mike's fearing a mutiny, i'll go ahead and do so.

c.i. asked us, mike and me, not to promote the year anniversary of the common ills.

we agreed to back off.

c.i. doesn't see the point in that and feels the focus should be elsewhere.

however, i have nothing else to write about tonight because i wasn't planning on writing.

and the anniversary was actually yesterday.

we talked on the phone last night while c.i. was pulling together the indymedia roundup entries so we were on the phone for about 2 hours. (you got to read through a ton of e-mails to make sure the most important things are covered.)

i'm not going to quote c.i. and let me add the cautionary note of these are my reflections of the conversations and c.i. might feel differently about it so just because i offer my 'testimony' does not mean c.i. would agree that that's how it went down.

so i wondered, what does it feel like a year later?

tired. hard to believe a year has passed. thrilled that so many people have come together to share but also a little overwhelmed.

for those who are late to the party, when the common ills started, c.i. could respond to every e-mail. then along came barbara boxer supporting stephanie tubbs jones in protesting the 2004 count and that day, 500 e-mails arrived. the e-mails only continue to grow. ('3504' was the e-mail count of unread e-mails while we were on the phone.)

c.i. continued to attempt to read e-mails. every e-mail. and to reply. finally an automated reply had to be created. you e-mail, you get it. that cut down and allowed c.i. more time to read. but it wasn't working because the community continued to grow.

jim and i came up with the idea of two addresses. 1, the public 1, would be for visitors, the 2nd would be private and only for members.

that allowed c.i., when pressed for time, to focus on the members and let the public pile up a bit.
but that still wasn't solving the problem. currently ava and jess assist by going through the e-mails and noting which 1s they think c.i. needs to read asap in the private e-mail account. in the public e-mail account, if they read it and don't think it's important, they don't even bother to pass it on to c.i.

when c.i. started the common ills, the thought was, it would be read by about 50 people - c.i., i said - i can quote myself - if your 'closest, most personal friends' alone read it, you'd have over 10 times that amount.

naive much?

but the common ills was going to do what c.i.'s done for 3 years in february only in net form. c.i. goes around speaking about the war, speaking about the bully boy, to college groups and high school groups. a friend was supposed to do that in february 2003 but got asked to do it in another location. the engagements were planned and as a favor c.i. filled in. and it just took off from there.

c.i. may give hours to 1 of those but c.i. isn't speaking the whole time and is usually asking other people to share. so last night i pointed out that in fact the common ills had reflected the speaking events. because what the common ills quickly became was, not a blog, but a resource/review for the left.

not the only 1. not the most left, not the best left, just the left. c.i. would disapprove of qualifiers.

it's 1 place for voices of the left.

and it's a place that people visit, a community, because there's no fiddle-faddle.

it's easy to forget this now, post-cindy sheehan, but a year ago, with bully boy 'winning' the election, you saw a lot of the left and 'left' back off from the war.

when i raised that issue, c.i. wondered if that's why falluja is still so unknown to so many americans?

it could be. but what is true is that moveon moved on. and a lot of others did as well.

it was like every 1 was channeling hillary clinton for many months there.

if they even brought up the war.

and the voices dominating on the 'left' were the 1s wrapping themselves in the flag (we know who i mean) and generally making themselves useless.

early on there was a feeling within the community that they didn't want posted comments and i dealt with that in an earlier post. c.i. told me i missed 1 thing, since c.i. was on campuses, finding out the feelings on comments was quite easy. people aren't really into them.

that was a big thing a few years ago. and relics from that era still want to leave comments at any site they visit. but most reflect the opinions that were in mike's interview with wally - that they are useless. a lot of shout outs, a lot of 'you are so smart!' sucking up and a lot of troll wars.

for the people who listen to the likes of rush limbaugh, that probably is reassuring; however, for people who wouldn't listen to that nonsense just because they're not into the call in format, it's not reassuring.

so where is the common ills a year later?

still talking about falluja and thankfully the mainstream media is as well, a tiny bit.

bring the troops home now is not a fringe view.

and you can think the voices like c.i. for that, all the voices online that stuck to their guns and didn't say 'well the polls say' or distort cindy sheehan or any of the other nonsense are war hawks dem voices pushed.

and they did push lies on cindy sheehan. now that they're candidates of choice are being forced to take some sort of tiny stand on the war, they're all over themselves, covered in urine from their excitement no doubt, trying to figure out their new position.

i talked to t and she said, 'do you get discouraged because you put in time and do you feel like there aren't enough changes coming down the pike?'

not really. because i think change comes slowly and that we've seen a lot of change that if we dropped back a year ago we wouldn't have believed was possible.

in the old days, what passed for bravey was really timid. these days, people are angry and if you try to dixie chick some 1 you better be ready for the backlash - towards you.

we saw the summer of activism and there were questions about that when c.i. 1st threw that phrase out to the 3rd estate sunday review. but sure enough it was a summer of activism.

the roots that were planted continue.

in october, i had e-mails complaining not that there wasn't any way to be heard but that there were so many ways to be heard and so little time.

let that always be our country's problem.

the gutless la times drops robert scheer because the publisher can't stand the voices of freedom and the voices of americans. and? the san francisco chronicle picks him up.

this isn't 2002. this isn't 2003. this isn't 2004.

we are stronger and we are tired of it. we are ready and willing to fight.

that didn't come about by cautious voices saying 'well let's find middle ground' - it came about from people digging in and getting ready to fight. the common ills community has demonstrated that they can and will fight. gina and krista's action alerts and activism lists, in the gina & krista round-robin, are key to that.

and the voices we need aren't the 1s saying 'send in your money so i can show how popular i am and set my ass up as the next cokie roberts.' we need the voices that speak about your own power, your own world and your own actions.

there are enough people telling you that ___ will save you, we don't need anymore.

it's time for us to save ourselves.

and that's what's been obvious, i think, at all the sites that have sprung up from the common ills community.

this congress member let you down? that senator sold out to corporate interests?

big surprise.

quit making heroes out of your employees because that's what they are. they work for you.

as long as you're in a position of begging, they have the power.

they shouldn't. they work for you.

make 'em work.

hold them accountable.

now you can't do that if in 2005 you're already declaring that ___ is the democratic candidate for 2008.

it's not the person, it's the issues.

but it becomes all about the personality too often. the mainstream media does that by focusing on the horse race nature of campaigns at the expense of the actual issues.

now if you're goal is to be able to say 'i voted with __ milions of others for the winner!' then, hey, the current system is perfect for you. if you're goal is to vote for issues, the personality basis isn't going to work.

we need to be more informed. we need to arm ourselves with knowledge.

that's not going to come from playing patty-cakes with politicians. or running fan clubs for them.

so that's my lecture for the night. mike and elaine will post late tonight. but they will post.