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FDL Late Nite: Here We Come. . .

              Here come the Roots. . . 

Okay, I’m not here to engage in grassroots or netroots triumphalism.  We’re way behind in the game and the other guys still have us outgunned.  But we’re making some progress, and I wanted to highlight a few things for everybody.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week working on the beta development of our new Roots Project site, and I have to say, it’s going to be awesome.  We’re not ready to take it to Broadway yet, but this could provide some seriously game-changing infrastructure for progressives all around the country.  You have not heard much from me on Roots Project lately because I have not wanted to promote a new round of recruiting while we’re getting so close to a new home and organizational system.  Stay tuned!

Having said that, just because you have not heard a whole lot from me about Roots Project lately, doesn’t mean it’s been dormant or inactive.  Quite the opposite.  Most of the work going on now is the quiet work of collaborating and organizing around what I think of as the small, significant things that build a movement.  Let me give you just a few examples, but please understand, there’s no way I could tell you about all of it, because there’s so much going on I can no longer keep up!

Recently, we held a conference call open to all Roots Project members with the author of the excellent book, 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right.  We’ve adopted it as our Roots Project field manual and I highly recommend it to everyone.  It begins from a framework of progressive values, and then very succinctly outlines a broad range of actions anyone can take anywhere in the country to propel the development of progressive values into the culture and politics.  Blue state, red state, purple state, whatever:  it doesn’t matter.  I firmly believe political change follows cultural movements, and this book helps people shape and capture those movements to promote progressive politics.  It’s an excellent book, and it was a great author discussion and conference call.

Massachussetts group members have been getting together socially, even gathering this past week to watch the Lieberman-Lamont debate together. 

Groups all over the country, including Washington State, Pennsylvania, Virginia and California are getting involved with local Drinking Liberally chapters to network with other progressives in their communities.

Fini Finito of the Indiana group, aka the "Hoosier Roots Project," has been putting together podcasts with original content and interviews for all our members, and has set up a Roots Project MySpace page.  On July 4th, he attended a local community event where he set up a table by the parade stand, with official support, to register voters and tell people about the Roots Project.

In Illinois, group members have been studying candidates in every congressional district to see who really is a progressive in need of support.  That’s what led us to connect them with Howie Klein for his excellent Blue America series installment in support of the John Laesch campaign.

Of course, members of every group across the country (forty-three states) have been pressuring their senators and congressional representatives on net neutrality.  

Some groups are setting up local blogs focused on matters pertinent to their states.  SchumerWatch is one, as is this new one from Massachussetts (by first time web designer selise – give her mad props!).  Not to be outdone, fellow Massachussetts traveler RevDeb is working on her own site, Progressive Pulpit.  I’m sure there are other blogs by many Roots Project members, and this is just a small sample, a tip of the iceberg.  The important thing to note is that this is what progressive infrastructure development looks like.  Imagine every state propelling its own Lamont-like, people-powered movement!  It’s the little things that win championships, as they say in the sporting world, and it’s these little things that change the direction of the country.

That’s how the Connecticut progressive movement built itself up, even before the advent of online political organizing or blogs.  But with the new tools available to us, we can now do so much more, learning from each other in real time as we try new things all across the country. 

So, heads up, America:  here we come.  The pearl clutching establishment media is waking up to us (after getting up from the fainting couch), as is the nasty, faithless, rageful, narcissistically self-absorbed and whiningly entitled Rape Gurney Joe, who wants to have it both ways and can’t play by the rules.

Many people in our comment threads are also involved in Roots Project groups.  I hope they’ll offer us all more updates on what’s going on close to the ground.  Otherwise, feel free to chat in the comments section about any little things you may be doing.  Share successes.  Tell funny stories.  Swear and cuss and give Joke Line fits.   Hey, after all, it’s FDL Late Nite!

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Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.