Another Birthday for Room Eight New York Politics.
I haven't published a column on Room Eight New York Politics for about six weeks now. Truth be told, I am politically depressed: that's all. Hopefully I'll be back in swing soon enough; since I am still intent on regularly contributing to this political-writers colony. At least that's where my head is in general, but my heart's in a different place right now, so I am reading poetry and literature to cover up the disappointment that is today's political landscape (local, national and international).
In a few weeks this website (www.r8ny.com) will celebrate its fifth birthday. As far as I know, the policy here is still to welcome anyone willing and able to write; and unafraid of being published here (and often other places/ where columns are picked up). I still have a few issues with the editors, but I do admire and respect what they have tried to do here. I had hoped that this site would attract political-activist-types, willing to share info on important things taking place in their respective political sub-divisions; but it really hasn't happened much; has it? At least not to my personal satisfaction.
Given that some of our tacit missions here are to educate, entertain, inform, instruct, edify, highlight and amplify, I want to assume that we have done a fair job overall, given our limited resources. And yet, we have failed to attract sufficient prolific writers to exponentially grow our cause. We occasionally attract an elected official or two, but even then there is no consistency.
Maybe it is because there are no checks to go around: cash money to reward writers for their time effort and energy. Maybe its because nonsalaried district leaders like Chris Owens fail to see the efficacy of political websites such as this -especially when they aren't running for high office. And maybe it is also because paid elected officials don't see the worthiness of investing in ventures like these: after all, why try to educate the masses? They may just wise-up to the glaring overall ineptitude.
It's also possible that very few people are willing to put themselves on the line, in order to take hard stands on issues, and to sometimes stand against what some electeds say and do. Maybe there are too many folks out there who are so politically compromised that they cannot say or do the right thing(s). For example, who is going tell to Congressman Charles Rangel to do the Hosni Mubarak (“leave now”). Even a “quality” individual like David Dinkins lacks the balls to do and say the right fucking thing, relative to this issue. Bravery is surely made of sterner stuff.
And recently on Facebook, I asked Senator Diane Savino to explain why she was missing in action when Kevin Parker was being challenged in a primary: she blamed it on “Stockholm syndrome”. So much for a “principled stand”. Nowadays, she is hanging-out with the same republicans, who for years, have failed to offer any real progressive ideas for fixing the mess that is New York. Ambition is also made of “sterner stuff” surely.
When Bloomberg News did a survey last October, they found that almost three out of every four voters were going to the polls to cast votes based on misinformation (posing as facts). For this, I know we can thank the Fox News Network somewhat: but they aren't the only culprits. Many of us need to look in the mirror when we mouth off on how much we value and cherish our democracy.
Let me say this again: we have an unfinished democracy here, and we have a lot of work to do to get it finished right. It's time for serious stuff. Enough of the symbolisms and grandstanding. It's time for substance and common sense. It's time for true patriots to make hard stands. Especially as it relates to disseminating political information and political history.
Maybe it's too much to wishfully ask, that serious political people like Larry Littlefield, Manny Burgos, Howie “Gatemouth”, Jerry Skurnik, Ben Smith, Gur Tsbar, David Michaelson, Michael Bouldin, Lisa Sabater, Dan Jacoby, Mary Alice Miller, The Judge B, Dominick Carter, Yoda, Gary Tilzer, Vinny, and the many others who have made valuable contributions to this and other blog sites in this city, be respected, supported and cherished. Again, maybe it's wishful thinking to expect that the writings of these brave folks not be vandalized by blog-terrorists who see nothing better to do, than to come up here and ridicule the fine intent of people who know how much work is left to be done to get our democracy to a better place.
Maybe it's time for some of these aforementioned folks, to get quality exposure on radio, television, newspapers, magazines and other mediums. After all, their views and ideas have often been proven to be quite profound over time. Is there a finer political analyst/historian in this city than Gatemouth? Hasn't Larry Littlefield been vindicated time and time again over matters of fiscal policy in this city, state and country? Haven't Ben Smith and Gur Tsbar been INTERNET visionaries / pioneers long before Ariana Huffington?
Look, I still think we should both register and screen commenters here. I still abhor these personal attacks that too many seem to think, comes with the territory. Tell that to Congresswoman Giffords. Relative to political discourse, information and variety, websites like Room Eight New York Politics are way valuable beyond the imagination of many: they need to be supported more. It's simple as that.
I have heard that in a great month, Room Eight's website will get a little more than twenty thousand virgin hits on its meter. Fine. But in a city of nearly nine million people, that's way too little; way too little.
Today it was announced that AOL has subsumed Huffington Post, creating a whole new media-entity. We at Room Eight need to starting thinking big: we have to expand on many levels or face extinction within the next five years. To all of you out there: your ideas will be welcomed.
Stay tuned-in folks.
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