Remember “All your bases are belong to us?” Yeah, it’s that kind of title. It comes from my blogstats, and indicates one way an O-bot found my blog. By searching with that phrase. It also demonstrates that at least some of them want to know why we do what we do.
Which brings me around to a little thing that’s been bothering me today: language. I’ve been frustrated for a while about how the PUMA movement has been proceeding. Despite the fact that I’ve cheerfully and publicly been on board with pushing this movement, and doing everything I can draw attention to it, I sometimes disagree with it, and often find myself disappointed in it. On it’s worst day, it’s a movement of chatterers in an echo chamber, with no inclination to get out. On it’s best day, it’s just not good enough yet. I’ve been trying to help, but have felt largely ignored by the leaderships of these various coalitions, even as increasing numbers of ground troops within the movement seem to think what I am talking about is worthwhile.
And it is worthwhile. So far, the media has painted us as a quaint, if cooky, little phenomenon that will ultimately go away once the Convention is over. They make no effort to try to understand us, or our very rational complaints about a corrupt primary season. And no one that I have seen yet is using their 15 minutes of media fame to actually explain it. Well, except Harriet Christian, but even she is not articulating it in an unemotional way, which will be required if we ever hope to be taken seriously, and have a shot at salvaging the Democratic Party. One question just keeps going over and over again in my head:
If Obama wins anyway, what kind of power will we have?
If we keep doing it like we’ve been doing it, the answer will be a resounding NONE. Do you honestly think we can sit around and rely on trashing Obama in some of the exceedingly Republican-like ways some of us are, and hope to be listened to at the Convention? Or after? Not bloody likely. And we have zero hope of convincing those who may be wondering about Obama and haven’t decided, or those who are curious about us, but are fearful because of our media rep (rap is more like it, but whatever) with these methods. As I said in comments at The Confluence, in a post ironically (in relation to this post) titled The Honeymoon is Over:
Building a third party will take too long. We must try to salvage this one first. It is that urgent. If they won’t listen after we present them with rational arguments and evidence of their wrong doing, fine, I’m on board with a third party. But they will never listen to us in Denver as long as we are sitting around all “Nobama! 18 miliion!!! ZOMG!” E-mail, e-mail, e-mail. Ya know? That’s all I hear Murphy talk about on tv, how she’s prepared to vote for McCain, but how about actually thinking about using our leverage to force the REAL issues into the media? What about using it to forcing the party to do it over and do it right at the convention?
That’s what I’m frustrated about. That there is not yet a coherent message, and we are allowing others (outsiders) to create our brand already. Language matters. We should be careful, and thoughtful about how we use it. And until the Denver Group, I haven’t seen that. I’m STILL not seeing it enough places.
I drafted the Declaration because I saw a void of rational language. I heard the kernels of truth in millions of emotional, outraged voices, and I distilled what I heard down to just the facts because it had to be done. And it wasn’t being done. I married it to an appeal to history, and pushed it at a time when it could connect with what was already going down. It hit, and took off, going viral within our echo chamber in 24 hours. I do hope the leaderships at the various coalitions are paying attention, because this is an important step. They don’t have to use the language I used, or use my document, or give me any credit. I don’t care about credit. But they have to see now that many of us are hungry for just these kinds of collective, collected, & rational arguments. They have to see the leverage that can provide. And I hope they move on it.