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Sunday, August 05, 2007

And so goeth the Conclave of the Great Orange Satan
Posted by Jill | 9:53 PM
It's all over but the real work now. The party, the fun, the heady experience of being in a hotel and conference center with 1500 incredibly intelligent and interesting people, and the even more heady experiencing is realizing how many people actually READ this crap I spew every day -- well, it's all behind us now.

What an amazing experience this was. My contempt for the arrogance and general dickishness of the Alpha Dogs of Blogtopia (™ Skippy) is well known, and in my one dealing with Mr. Moulitsas at a book signing in Hoboken, he insisted that I was this little old Jewish lady running a bed and breakfast in Jersey (and I have the inscription in my copy of Crashing the Gates to prove it). But there is no denying that in simply "building a web site" as he said in his surprisingly touching speech to close the conference:





...he has, however inadvertently, done something that is truly incredible. Those who organized this conference -- those paid and volunteer staffers who booked the location and got the guest speakers and made the paper flowers and ordered the finger food and got the sponsors to cough up for box lunches did the heavy lifting. And in removing his name from this event beginning next year, when the conference will be known as "netroots nation", he's acknowledged that he really isn't a blogger anymore, nor is he any more of a movement leader than anyone else. There were 1500 people at the McCormick Place Conference Center who are the movement leaders now.

I wasn't even sure I was going to go until about a week ago, for any number of reasons, including, for a time, a conflict with vacation. But this weekend was worth the money AND worth a somewhat nerve-wracking flight home. For one thing, I was able to spend some time with my old online fiction writing friend Shirley, who does pet therapy with her dog Liberty, a certified READ dog. I've known Shirley for almost ten years, and while this was only the second time we'd met in person, it was as if we used to be next-door neighbors and were simply catching up.

For another thing, it was an opportunity to hang with my Morning Seditionists blogbuddy Melina and have Geek Girls Nights of sitting up till the wee hours with our laptops, writing and gossiping and brainstorming about web sites and political activism.

Of course there was also the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see seven presidential candidates live and in person. But almost more important was the chance to talk about issues and politics with other actively involved people who Get It -- and to meet up with some of the people whose work I've admired for a long time -- people like Bob Geiger, Bill Scher and Pam Spaulding. And of course the inexplicably scrwed over by Air America Sam Seder (video to come as soon as I get it into a size that YouTube will take) and the mad genius guerilla blogger Mike Stark (who was more than a little bewildered at this little middle-aged lady from Jersey gushing about how awesome his O'Reilly stunt was).

At the same time as 1500 people watched seven presidential candidates try to convince us that they were the agents of change, the news was coming in of more of the same in Washington -- gutless, spineless Democrats so frightened of being wrong that they trashed the United States Constitution and allowed the most hated president of our lifetime; a man who has lied again and again and again, the authority to spy on all of us at any time, for any reason.

We have a ton of work to do. We have an entrenched, corrupt kleptocracy that we have to kick out of Washington. But looking at this group of people, young activists and old warhorses like me who have been at this for 30 years, I could almost believe that we can do it.

I had to leave early this morning to catch a flight, but Melina, who has a terrific post up at John Edwards' blog about the last day, has more on the last day.

(Video links to come.)

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