Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Days of Service, Past and Future

(Or, Brother, Can You Spare 500 Words on Abuse of Executive Power?)

The idea of MLK Day as a day of service is a great one, and I hope it continues in future years. And while the nation and the world heaves a huge sigh of relief now that Bush is finally out of office, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. I also think it's good to take a moment to remember those who helped keep us sane and focused for the past eight years. Jane Hamsher captured the appeal of the blogosphere nicely when she wrote:

During the '90s, railing at the TV set was the isometric sport of the silent majority... That isolation ended with the advent of the progressive blogosphere, which acts as a virtual water cooler for those who not only want to rail at the TV set, they want the TV set to listen.

I quoted that passage last year for Blogroll Amnesty Day, which is fast approaching again. So it's a good time to stroll through the blogroll, and think of those bloggers who provided thoughtful analysis, hosted a spirited discussion, or offered a cathartic rant. When basic sanity was out of fashion in politics and most of the media, they were there. Not every blog reader or commentator can afford to make donations, of course, and not every blog needs them. But some bloggers could use a little extra help, or at least deserve appreciation. For instance, their official fundraisers may be done, but there's Blog Hostess with the Most-ess Blue Gal, and the Sage of Santa Monica, Digby. Maha has just started a fundraiser. (VS is fine, but BH can always use a little love.) I'm sure I could got through most of my blogroll, but many other sites large and small have a way of accepting donations.

Meanwhile, Tom Geoghegan is running for Congress in the Illinois 5th (it's (pronounced gay-gun), and it's exciting to see a bright, creative candidate with a great handle on labor issues in the mix. He has a blog diary over at MyDD, and Kathy G, who knows Tom, is one of the go-to bloggers for all things Geoghegan (and apparently, Springsteen).

If nothing else, there's always a need for more reflection, more activism, and more participation in democracy, and I hope the liberal blogosphere continues to contribute in that way. As a part-timer pulled in many different directions myself, I'm all the more impressed by the bloggers who post every day or nearly every day, who consistently turn out quality work, or bring other bloggers or commentators together. And there's plenty to comment on going forward. Personally, I'm deeply dismayed by all the scoundrels and ignoramuses (mainly scoundrels) claiming that torture actually works (it doesn't work reliably, unless one's after false confessions), and the many in the media who are either spreading the same dangerous bullshit or not challenging it. That's one of the subjects I'll continue to cover in the year ahead, but everyone is passionate about different issues, everyone can contribute in his or her own way, and it's the mix and the dialogue that makes it so damn interesting.

(Cross-posted at Blue Herald)


Fran / Blue Gal said...

Thank you so much for the mention, Bat. I actually have a permanent tip-jar on my sidebar now. I've resisted doing that but a dear friend pointed out to me that if what I do every day isn't a job, he didn't know what was, and I should get paid for it. I'm always grateful for linky love, too, which is valuable currency that can only be measured in returned warm feelings. Thanks again.

Comrade Kevin said...

I recently saw this dubiously truthful article in USA Today (not exactly the bastion of high-end criticism) holding bloggers accountable for making the world more sarcastic and dark.

I just laughed.