Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Rachel Maddow Is the Face of the Progressive Left Right Now
What I found most extraordinary about President Obama's surprise video message to the activists at the Netroots Nation conference was his choice to let a clip from the Rachel Maddow Show do the talking for him when he asked Democrats to remember the accomplishments of the last eighteen months in the midst of our disappointment and distress at the slowness of change despite the abiding urgency of now. Given the way presumably up-and-coming right-wing figures like Marco Rubio and Naked Scotty Brown also make recourse to clips from Maddow's show to crystallize what it is they want to be seen as fighting against it seems quite clear that there is something vital she is representing about the progressive left in this particular moment. In her cheerful queerness and corny geekiness, in her obsession with infrastructure and in her expectation that people in government should believe in the capacity of government to help solve shared problems, in her unabashed patriotism for an actually secular, equitable, diverse American ideal we have never quite managed really to incarnate (I could do without some of the rah rah military moments, I'll admit) I personally find Maddow an enormously appealing exemplar of the left wing of the possible, and there is something heartening about her widespread popularity across the left as well as the apparently widening recognition across the right that she represents a threat to their greedy, mean, deceptive, incompetent, fearful, and stupid view of what America should be.