Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The amazing power of the blogosphere

Over the weekend, I happened to pick up a copy of the Bloomington Alternative. I had never seen this independent paper before (we were exploring Nashville, IN at the time,) but I was drawn from across the room by the headline splashed across the top of the front page:

Hate crime in Indiana?

Well, being that I live in Indiana and hadn't heard word one about any 'hate crimes' lately, I walked over and grabbed a copy. Later, at home, I read the entire article and couldn't believe what I was seeing... and more amazingly, that this was the very first I had even heard of it! If you live in Indiana and something this... horrible happens 'just down the road' from you, you'd like to think your local media would let you know. Really, you would. Trust me.

I blog periodically out on Daily Kos. I actually started posting there after I heard Al Gore talking about the Internet in an interview with Larry King. Gore described the 'conversation of democracy' and commented that it has moved out to the Internet. I realized that blogging out here is all fine and well, but I am not part of any conversation here; I'm just talking to myself, in front of anyone who may pass by.

After Al's comment, I realized that what I am really craving is a chance to take part in that conversation myself. I already had an account on Daily Kos, and when I saw that Senator Feingold had just posted about the Democrats 'cave' on the war funding, suddenly it dawned on me that I can really have a conversation with my representatives... and maybe even make a difference.

Consequently, after reading the story about Aaron Hall's brutal murder, I used my 'once a day' diary space on Kos to post a quick blurb about the story, and question why there hadn't been any local media coverage other than the writeup in an independent, progressive paper. Something about the lack of mainstream coverage was creepy. I wrote up a quickie diary and posted it.

And then the most amazing thing happened.

The diary was met with an instant barrage of comments, more and more every minute as everyone on the site descended on it. Soon it was on the site's recommended list, where it remained well into the following day.

This story seems to have struck a chord with everyone. I know it did with me; and I wasn't surprised to see angry comments from other Hoosiers from all over the state - other citizens who had no idea that this had occurred so close to home.

All day, this democratic 'conversation' continued via a continual stream of thoughtful comments from around the country. Then people started posting links on their own blogs. Someone also apparently posted it to Digg, because today I saw the story headline crawling across the bottom of my browser window.

One of the comments out on Digg mentioned - and linked - a story out of Indy's WTHR, that (according to the timestamp, June 12, 2007 02:03 PM,) was posted yesterday afternoon. Indy coverage! Today I did a Google search and found a conversation going on via a blog in NYC.

This is astounding. The media, in my opinion, totally fell down on this one... but the Internet picked it up and spread the word all over the country, in the course of a single day. People all over Indiana are finally finding out, and maybe this will even help the family of the victim.

Kudos to the Bloomington Alternative! Go go Independent progressive media! Somewhere out there, old Ben Franklin is smiling.

Al... you were right. The democracy conversation is alive and well, and living on the Internet.

Today on Daily Kos, there was an informational diary from Representative John Conyers concerning White House subpoenas, a diary by Senator Dick Durbin about funding the blogosphere and the fight for fair elections, and yet a third diary by Congressman Tim Ryan that even included video!

Other terrific Daily Kos diaries from the past 24 hours include:

  1. Rift Between Army and White House Widens
  2. The Capitulation of the Democrats Part II: Iran (Updated)
  3. Another Day in Indiana (argh, Mike Pence... thanks so much...)
  4. Just returned from a screening of SiCKO: America. Watch. Out.
  5. *UPDATED*: Nurses Give Moore, SiCKO 8-minute Standing Ovation

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