But knowing net names and not faces didn't bother anyone. In fact, there wasn't much that bothered anybody. I have been to more than my share of political conventions, get togethers and meetings and the biggest thing I saw at this event was spirit - a sense of common purpose and unity - not false unity of everyone being the same and thinking the same, but true unity where everyone is respected, everyone is equal, everyone is loved for who they are, and everyone is welcome. It was a beautiful thing - it's absolutely unique in politics.
But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.
This is why authenticty matters. The Internet facilitates personal relationships, or at least a sense of having personal relationships.
I wrote this after my first full day in Washington DC.
...Today I was in Washington DC for my first visit ever. I got to spend the entire day at the Capitol, first acting like a tourist, and then meeting people. I told myself when I first scheduled this trip that I wasn't going to buy into the whole "DC is such a cynical place" thing. Sure, there are plenty of people who get into politics for very cynical reasons. And the constant negotiating of power causes the optimistic to moderate themselves. But there are a lot of people fighting for the forces of good at the highest levels. And it makes me very proud as an American.
...You're only a sellout if you are not willing to question your own assumptions as part of doing what it takes to move forward. In that respect, I think a lot of people in politics are selling out and forgetting that the path they have chosen, a path in pursuit of power, comes with a certain level of responsibility.
I'm tired of with us or against us. Look at what that mentality does to our nation. I'm not suggesting compromise with the "bad guys." I am saying we have to compromise with each other, and not define our truth with the worst possible assumptions. Alienating would be allies doesn't help any of us.
First, Raven, I love you man! Thanks for putting this together for me. I know it's not as perfect as you would like. But I'm happy to finally have a place of my own to put my thoughts.
Meanwhile, I don't have time to write thoughts. So here's something I wrote back in August. I was trying to come up with an accurate metaphor for the blogosphere.
...we do have power. But not the kind that one individual can wield to bend one person's will. It's bad strategy to demand what we can't get, unless the process somehow leaves us in a stronger position. We are no longer just a loud lonely dissenting voice. The trend has shifted towards more people starting to agree with us, and we need to play our hand better. It's not that any one blogger is powerful or that any one blog represents exactly how people feel. Blogs are a powerful tool for building critical mass so that movement can happen. A blog is not like a megaphone. It's more like a laser. Do you know how a laser works?
The challenges of change are always hard. It is important that we begin to unpack those challenges that confront this nation and realize that we each have a role that requires us to change and become more responsible for shaping our own future. -Hillary Clinton