Well, as shocking as it may seem, after 10+ years on DailyKos, NN14 represented my first NN (in person).
In the past, I have always sponsored people to go.. for the last four years, I've bought at least one NN reservation for a worthy Kossack I wanted to make the connections, but time constraints, job demands and my kids often prevented me from making the trek myself.
This year, though, I went all. I went all in on Netroots Nation, and I went all in on my time commitment in my state of Kansas.
Many of those who read this diary probably saw me coming and said 'Oh my God, that guy is going to talk about Kansas or Missouri..' and you know what, I'll take that blame. I have no shame in how hard I have pushed for my home state and my neighbor state this last year. None at all.
By the time Netroots Nation had started, I had provided 12 individuals scholarships - free full passes for Netroots Nation, thanks to Navajo and Daily Kos. I sponsored peole from Detroit and Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky. I sponsored people who didn't have the money but had a scholarship.
When people were homeless here on the first night, we opened our room. And when we had friends who struggled with funds for food, we Kansans took them out to lunch.
We did it because I wanted every opportunity I could find to talk to people about the fight I am pressing in Kansas.
When I was alerted that there would be no caucus for Kansas - despite our having statewide races a few weeks ago, I picked up the phone and said: THIS MUST CHANGE. And I went from being a ticket buyer to an event Sponsor so that my state could not be ignored in the caucuses.
I went all in on Netroots Nation 14. All in. Now, I want to tell you what I learned and what comes next.
When I came here I said: I will press my case and talk to anyone who listens. What I found is that on a daily basis campaigns from home - our congressional races - spent their time calling, texting, emailing me and saying to me: FIGHT FOR US, on Thursday afternoon, a house race got hold of me after a panel and said:
Let them know we are building party. Maybe we are a longshot, but we are trying to change things for the better.I had spoke with Markos the night before about leaked polling data out of our state and the giddy nature at which our candidates felt real hope. I took every moment possible to chase down whoever would listen. If you were hungry and you needed lunch... let me buy you lunch, can I talk to you about Kansas or an important Missouri race if that is your cup of tea?
I know Markos had to deal with me more than once, and David Nir, thank you for your patience. I thank them because they were willing to listen and say to me: Keep fighting. We respect the people who are fighting.
8 years ago, (and my timeframe may be wrong) at DailyKos a diary became popular where we said: We want to grow the party where there is none. The DCCC and others will back races where we should win. We want to fight for everyone everywhere.
It was refreshing and hopeful to have so many Kossacks, advocates, organizations listen to me, talk about my campaigns and say: Keep fighting. More importantly, for many who were here it was the first time to hear about the real fight for our state - a place that people have written off. As often as I write about Kansas, and despite the continuous polls that favor our gubernatorial candidate people are just waking up to the possibilities here.
So, I went all in.
Now, I have something to ask of you. I changed my pattern tomorrow. I will fly back early to meet with campaigns, to talk about their news and prepare for a PotLuck dinner in Emporia Kansas.
Next week, we are putting on a huge event in Hutchinson, Kansas that we will livestream over the internet.
I'm in a red state - a state people told me last year were foolish. I came here to Netroots to tell people that where there is fight, where people have courage, where we have a message and a voice it is not foolish. I came to plead the case for Navajo and the site that I have loved for years...
Over the last 10 years I've built up (hopefully) a fair amount of good will. When lifetime subscriptions were closing, I gave away numerous lifetime subscriptions. I've scholarshipped counting this year 19 passes to netroots nation. And I hope that people who read my diaries know that I am a WARRIOR for things I believe in.
Netroots Nation was an important event for me, but it is the first event in a series that will work to overturn my state.
I'm asking you now: If you are NOT a member of a group via Connect! Act! Unite! then WHY are you not a member? If you are not working to help change the election this year, then WHY are you not? If your state is not having a statewide, WHY have you not helped your fellow progressives win?
I went all in. I'm telling you I am willing to gamble with my good will and say that I am asking the least I can ask: I am asking you to listen to those of us who are battling in the hinterlands and help us spread our stories and the hope of change. I'm asking you to stand with us when we ask - we won't abuse you, I promise.
I'm telling you our house is on fire, now is not the time to argue over the price of your garden hose.
I have always believed the mission of this website was to advance progressives and to hope for change. I'm asking you to do more than hope. I'm asking you to work for it. I'm telling you if you are in Kansas and Missouri and to KosMail me and find somewhere you can help- you don't have to work as a full time job but every bit of help you can give is appreciated. If you are in Detroit, contact those in Detroit, if you are in Utah, Colorado, Tenneseee.
We are about Connect! Unite! and Act! Those who leave Netroots Nation tonight should know that we aren't about coming together once in a big event to be amongst our friends who agree with us. We must stand together, as WARRIORS together.
I'm in. I'm asking: Are You?