BlueNC is closing in on celebrating its fourth birthday. We've been through two election cycles and one fairly contentious primary cycle and we've survived. We've celebrated a bit of a netroots victory with the election of Larry Kissell to the U.S. House, that helps take the sting out of the long list of previous disappointments. All this in mind, some of you are wondering what our role is. I know because I've been asked directly and every time we criticize a Dem we get comments criticizing us for our criticism.
In the beginning was the word and the word was progressive. It was easy to be on the right side of discussions because the boogeyman was almost always a member of the Republican party. In 2006 we had plenty of issues and candidates to fight for. Our role was defined for us. We wrote to promote progressive issues and candidates. We raised money, volunteered for and promoted candidates like Larry Kissell, Brad Miller and Heath Shuler knowing that most of them weren't perfect progressives. We won some and we lost some.
After the 2006 elections we saw Dems take control of the House and maintain control of the NC legislature. We continued to promote progressive issues and we continued to find easy targets on the right because Republicans still controlled the White House and had a strong enough contingent in Congress to obstruct legislation. Again, our role was easily defined. There was still so much to do to right our country.
As we moved through 2007 and entered the presidential primary season, things started to heat up. Many of us were recharging and taking a step back. Some took sides between Democrats as they announced their bids for office while others waited to see how the races shaped up. Some folks didn't declare a favorite during the primary season at all. By winter of 2007-2008 we were in full swing of our first primary season on BlueNC and it got ugly at times. Some of us still have the wounds to show for it.
The great news was that after the dust settled from the May primaries almost all here were able to rally around the winners to help them through to victories in the general election in November.
So, where do we go from here? What is our role? BlueNC had some political capital. Where did it go?
First, BlueNC will continue to evolve as online communication techniques and tactics change. We want to continue to provide as many communication tools as possible so that our readers and community members have access to more and better information. We are a blog. We are a source for original research and reporting. We provide fact-based articles and we provide commentary. We also are a means for others to provide information through writing blog posts and leaving comments. We aren't primarily a social networking site, but we do network. We also we aren't primarily a public relations tool for candidates and elected officials, but we promote them all the same.
Think of it this way - during election years we will work hard to help get Democrats elected. We will still write fact-based articles and we'll provide some original reporting on candidates. Many of us volunteer for campaigns and help raise money. We even do our best to get our community involved. This can make what follows a little bit awkward.
After the campaign is over, we go back to promoting the issues that are important to progressives. Some of those same candidates we worked so hard to elect may now earn criticism from us. We might have known they weren't progressive Democrats when we were volunteering for them, but we put in the effort because we felt that we would have a better chance of communicating our views with them than with Republicans.
That's where we are now. We are figuring out the best way to communicate our views with those candidates who are having a difficult time seeing things our way. We write up action plans, we write editorials and there are and will continue to be times when we criticize their votes and their rationale for their votes. In our view, we will never move our state and our country forward if we remain mired in the mud of conservative policies. So, we push, pull and prod our candidates with the tools we possess. Tools, which if we're lucky, include a quick wit to go along with our sharp tongues.
This coming winter you will once again see a shift toward promoting candidates for office. You will see more candidate live-blogs and press releases. We don't give up on our progressive ideals, but many of us do shift our priorities from issues to candidates.
About the political capital... We probably burned through that the first time we criticized our newly elected officials, but our goal was never to be all insidery. To their credit, not one elected Democrat has banished me from their press list and they still respond to emails and phone calls. I bet we'll even see most return for live-blogs during campaign season.
Hang around long enough and you'll experience all these shifts. If you're new, speak up. Let us know what you're thinking. It's OK to disagree with us. We've been known to jerk a knee or two, but most survive the experience. Thanks to those who've stuck it out with us over the years and welcome to those who are just finding BlueNC. If it seems like things are a little slow around here, trust me, it's just the calm before another storm. The 2010 election races are heating up as I type.
BlueNC is dedicated to freedom and fairness for the people of North Carolina. If you share that vision, welcome. If your intention is to disrupt our efforts, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.
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