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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 23, 2012

 
This is why I do it

by digby

I've had a lot of inquiries in the past few days about why I bother to keep doing this.  There are many reasons why they ask, from those who believe there's too much information already to those of the anarchist bent who feel working within the system is useless. I don't have easy answers for that.  I can certainly see their point.  It's not as if blogging has changed the world.

But I get letters like the following fairly frequently.  And it means something to me.  This is from a young guy who lives in Alabama:

Hi Digby, 
When I heard a few days ago about O's latest offer on the SS cuts (and the other undesirables) in the shock doctrine  fiscal cliff negotiations, I took your advice and called all my representatives in Congress - along with Reid and Pelosi. I also shot an email to the WH comment line. I live in the progressive frontier of Alabama, so calling my representatives is slightly preferred over getting prepped for a colonoscopy. Really, just barely. It had to be done, though. It's that important, as you know, obviously. 
When I called Reid's office, I had to hold about 10 minutes for a staffer. Side note: the music was of the patriotic sort (shock), which probably could've doubled as a movie score. I don't know if that was as vomit-inducing as listening to the senator's voice on the recorded greeting, but it was close. When a live person did answer, she did not seem engaged when I asked her what stance Reid would take. It's not as much the obfuscation as it just was the unpreparedness. She was silent whenever I asked a question - to the point where I had to make sure she didn't hang up on me several times. Yet, maybe that was the point. It’s convenient to play ignorant to an impassioned caller’s request, because that could very well foster a tiny bit of discouragement in the one imploring someone to act. And we all know that discouragement, like cynicism, aids those in power. But, I’m probably giving this staffer way to much credit. 
In the end, I'm glad I called everyone, and I plan on calling tomorrow. I've even engaged some in my family about what's going on, and I encouraged them to call as well. My mom called her reps for the first time during the public option tease a few years ago. And even though it was tossed aside, she still felt empowered that she got involved. After a little bit of convincing, she’s firmly on the side of single payer, by the way – because it just makes sense.  
It's just disheartening. So many people I know don’t seem to want to comprehend what impact these misguided/harsh cuts in our social programs not only will have on them in the present, but also how devastating the repercussions will be in the future. They're so busy in school, working, etc. Or they take the route of my cousin, who constantly claims that we should just expect to live without these benefits. I know you see the fallacy in that argument. 
And it's so easy to slip into escapism, but when there's so many issues at hand, such as the planet being on fire and austerity being tossed around like candy (or cat food, more appropriately), the greater number of people getting involved in the process the better. I know it sounds like youthful optimism, but it is what's needed. At least I try to do my part and educate as much as possible. I write for my school paper as an alumnus, and I plan to pen several piece about this and other topics breaking over the break when the spring semester starts in January. It’s all I’m able to do, now, but it’s something. 
I just want to thank you and others on the interwebs for what you do to inform everybody about the issues. It’s so vital in times like these. Keep it up! 
Best, 
Eric

It's fashionable to cynical. And I've been around a while and will likely be leaving this world before Eric, so I could just let all this go. But letters like that make me want to carry on. I may not be changing the world overnight but if Eric finds value in what I do then so do I. Because what he's doing is being a good citizen and if I can help him with that then it's worthwhile.







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