Discover more from Constant Commoner
That Time Bill Moyers Read My Words
He read them out loud. On TV. My 15 seconds of fame.
I was going through my old blog, Ramona’s Voices, this morning, looking for a piece I wrote about the McCarthy hearings and the Red Scare, when I found this piece on an entirely different topic, written the day after Bill Moyers quoted from my blog.
I’d almost forgotten it even happened. Shame on me! My 15 seconds of fame and there it was, lying discarded like any old has-been, as if it didn’t change me. As if I didn’t feel afterwards that I could make a difference.
But I didn’t make a difference. None of us did. No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t get our message out: that simple decency and an adherence to a common cause—namely democracy—would help the planet and make all of our lives better.
Today times are worse than any scenario any of us could have conjured up. There are dangers everywhere, and democracy is in deep trouble, but we writers are still writing, still hoping to make a difference. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not quitting.
Because this is what we do.
(You’ve probably noticed this is longer than my usual piece. It is long, but I hope you’ll read it to the end. Please share if it speaks to you. And hit that little heart, please. It lets Substack know someone has been here.)
First posted at Ramona’s Voices, August 2, 2009
My Words on Bill Moyers' Lips - I'm Speechless
I missed Bill Moyers Journal on Friday night, and I was away from home all day yesterday, so I had no idea that the end paragraph of my lowly blog about Moyers' interview with Wendell Potter made it onto the top of his show. (The clip shows my blog at Talking Points Memo but the content is the same as the original post here.)
Rowan Wolf over at Talking Points Memo Cafe saw it, blogged about it, and put it on YouTube. To say I'm pretty stunned by this is a total understatement, and normally I don't like to toot my own horn, but this may be my 15 seconds of fame, so you'll have to forgive me for this, please.
I really want to talk about how blogs and bloggers have come out of the shadows and onto the battlefield. It's becoming a powerful vehicle for change, but with that comes the same kind of responsibility that journalists advocate but don't always follow.
There are thousands of political bloggers out there now, and picking and choosing is a daunting, time-consuming occupation. Our political views are often going to be different, but the one thing we should be able to agree on is that we've come to this new vehicle for change with the understanding that we have an obligation to tell the truth as we see it and understand it. We'll make mistakes--plenty of them. Most of us are not professionals, after all, and our passion is bound to get in the way of clear thinking and good judgment some of the time. But our voices are out there, we're growing stronger, and I believe this country will be the better for it.
I came late to blogging. I just didn't get it. So much of what I saw was superficial, shallow navel-gazing--a kind of helter-skelter motor-mouth. Every thought, worthy or not, was transported onto a personal page for everyone to read--even those just merely, superficially interested.
I think it was the blogs on The Daily Kos that first convinced me it could be used to pull together whole communities of people with common interests so that one voice became many, and many voices could ultimately gain the power to change things.
I started my own blog here on January 20 , the day of Barack Obama's inauguration. I remember hesitating for a long time before I hit the "Publish Post" button. It seemed like such a conceited, ego-driven kind of thing to do, but after eight years of GWB, and after the heady jubilance of the Obama victory, the passion to do something was overwhelming.
All I can do, really, is write. I'm not good at organizing or speechifying or getting on the telephone to try and convince anybody of anything. Writing is re-writing, and since I never get my thoughts straight the first time, it's the perfect vehicle for me. But I wanted my blog to include more than just my voice. I wanted it to be an open outlet for the blogs, articles, columns and videos so many of us were sending to one another by email almost every day. I've created links to many of them, but there are so many good writers out there who have a voice and are working hard to get themselves heard. It's becoming a real movement now, and outlets like Talking Points Memo are right at the forefront.
Somewhere along the way, I was lucky enough to find Talking Points Memo and the TPM Cafe. A whole new world! Intimidating at first because, man, are they smart! But I started a blog there and they welcomed me with a generosity that actually kind of floored me. My comment section here on this blog remains forlorn and lonely, but at TPM the comments sections are lively and boisterous -- full of good talk and good information. You can always count on the commenters to make you get it right. That's the terrifying beauty of political blogging--we're all opinionators and we make our opinions known! [Note: TPM Cafe was an open community where we political bloggers could hang out and share our work. It’s still there but closed to most of us now.]
But this one blog about Moyers and Potter must have struck a tiny nerve. My Blogspot blog had 162 hits that day and the next, and it received 656 Diggs--all because it was posted on TPM.
We have the power to make change. On my last post, I was wallowing in Faithlessness, but today I'm energized. And all because Bill Moyers spoke my words for a few seconds on his show.
Okay, I'm ready to get back to work. Health care, labor, education, voter fraud, congressional shenanigans, shameless fat cats--bring 'em on.
What can I say? I'm easy.
If you like my work here and want to see more of it, the best way to do that is to subscribe. Each new post will arrive in your inbox, but not so often you’ll dread seeing them there. I don’t write every day. I don’t write on a schedule. I post only when I write something I think you might want to read.
My political self is probably always evident, but I write about life as I see it. I’m in the midst of it and the mysteries are too fascinating to keep to myself.
A big Thank You to those of you who have opted for paid subscriptions. Your contributions help to keep me working here, and I’m thrilled that you’ve taken that step.
Every subscriber, free or paid, has a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t here and that would be a shame because I sincerely love doing this.