My Unified Theory of Everything
Well not really. It’s not anything so fancy as a theory.
My manifesto, by the way, can be expressed in one phrase:
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Let us assess where we are now in the grand old blogosphere:
We have performed approximately seven trillion “gotcha” attacks on the media, reversing memes at the speed of light!
We have helped to elect a Democratic majority in the Senate and Congress.
We have spouted bloviations on every imaginable topic that if laid end to end would easily wrap around the circumfrence of the universe 50,000 times.
We have called to the media’s attention stories they would not otherwise have covered.
What we have NOT done is change policy in our government. Bush and Cheney have more power now than they did before the 2006 election. The War in Iraq is still raging, and I see no end in sight, no vote that points to our representatives ending this war. We have seen no real opposition — NONE.
So, athough the blogosphere has accomplishments to its credit, ultimately we are all frustrated … which is why we are clamoring for a manifesto in the first place!
I’m going to throw some words out here. They are words that have been so distorted, misused, misinterpreted and misapplied, that I ask you to try and capture your first impression of them as you read them:
Solidarity. Sounds kind of old-timey, doesn’t it, brings up memories, perhaps, of union halls and labor fights, communists arguing over coffee at a CUNY college in the 1930’s, hippies planning love-ins, ah good times, good times.
Diversity. Sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it? A real clunker of a word, brings forth notions of stridency, political correctness, conflicts, guilts and resentments, feelings of being threatened, privileges taken away. But mostly boring. No real resonance to that word, is there?
Feminism. Now this is a real winner, isn’t it? No three women agree on the definition, and no three men do, either. This word has been tossed around so much, it’s dizzy!
Racism. Ooh, hot button, eh? Flung as accusations to hurt another, flung by haters who wish to defend themselves with preemtive strikes against those whom they hate, another term misused so often, too often.
Sexism. Well, there’s so many folks who never gave this word a how-dee-doo to begin with, aren’t there? And yet another word flung back and forth like a volleyball at the beach.
So I’m going to try to refresh some of these words.
On this essay, I shall tackle the first two words, Solidarity and Diversity, with diversity being a subset of the former.
We hear what is going on in Burma and it breaks our hearts. We hear what is going on in Darfur and it destroys our hope. We know what we have done in Iraq and it sears our souls. We see what is going on in New Orleans and it brings us to tears. We watch what is going on with our migrant workers, families ripped apart, detention centers no better than gulags, and it makes us crazy. We read what is going on towards the poor, families without food or healthcare or hope, and it makes us rage.
Problem is, if we try to focus on one of these issues, all the rest vanish. Eventually we feel so helpless we don’t do much at all, the problems seem so overwhelming.
In our liberal blogosphere, these issues are mentioned, sure, they’re mentioned often. But rarely on a consistent basis. And rarely in a prominent way.
In the diverse bogosphere, these issues are spoken of quite differently and given center stage. There are blogs founded by people of color who exclusively deal with racism, immigration law, social justice. There are the local NOLA blogs that point out in excruciating detail just what is really happening in the region, from politics to social justice, to racism and to cultural events as well.
Yet we are fragmented, we have different goals. We don’t have as much power as we could.
Blogs founded by people of color broke the Jena 6 story, did you know that? Those bloggers were indefatigable, and often under threat, and they pounded this story until the traditional media got ahold of it. And only then did places like Daily Kos cover it — and not too well, either. Daily Kos quoted The New York Times, not Zuky or Sylvia or Afrospear. No, didn’t cover it well.
We all talk about how the blogosphere can change things. And I believe it can, I really do. But not without …
Solidarity and diversity go hand in hand. In order to unite, we have to know who’s out there to unite with.
And because we are bloggers, we want everything YESTERDAY!
This will not happen when it comes to SOLIDARITY.
Let’s think for a moment — about those monks in Burma. About those poor folks exiled from New Orleans. About those victims in Darfur. About migrant workers living in terror in America. About Palestinians living in Gaza with no hope. And these are a small sample of examples. They all have something we do not – an understanding of how to survive under oppression.
How many of us have had to live under real oppression? I’m not asking that rhetorically – the blogosphere is a big place and there are no doubt folks here at DocuDharma who could answer yes to that question. But the majority of us? How many of us came to blogging because we had our first taste of oppression? How many of us?
These folks have had to survive under lifetimes of oppression. Is it so outlandish to think we might learn something from them? Something we do not already know?
And how do we learn? By coming up with a recruiting drive to ask these folks over to post at DocuDharma?
Well, I have no objection to that, it is a small piece, a very small piece of the answer. Fact is, we’ve already had Duke1676 post front page essays here at DocuDharma twice — they haven’t garnered many comments, though. Duke is one of the best bloggers on immigration issues you can find. His blog, Migra Matters, is on our blogroll. Perhaps we could visit that site every now and then. Same with Nezua over at the Unapologetic Mexican. Or Kai at Zuky.
And those are only a very small fraction of what’s out there, and those are only US blogs – and we have blogs all over the world!
What does that mean? Solidarity. To me, it means coming together, defying the artificial divisions that have been deliberately placed between us by powers who wish very much for us not to come together. And it means effort, real effort — thinking outside the box — dropping preconceptions and prejudices — and before that simply finding out what our preconceptions and prejudices are! It means expanding our view, expanding our minds. It is a powerful force, and we are not taking advantage of it.
Until we do, I believe no Manifesto of any kind will lead us to REALLY “blogging the future.”