One year ago today, a “sandwich artist” working at a Subway started a blog. It started off as just a little blogspot site, a way to rant about all that was going on in the country. Namely, it started as a way to vent about how Mike Ross and Blanche Lincoln and the rest of the Blue Dogs were messing things up for the President, the party, and the country. Honestly, I have expected to do it for awhile and then just fizzle out. Trust me, no one is more suprised than I am by how this has worked out. Our tech guy, Matt, put together a great new site for us. Jsamuel and poladdict joined the crew. People started reading, posting feedback, and sending us emails. And folks started listening to what we had to say.
In the course of a year, we have: launched a site that has become a major force for the progressive movement in the Democratic party here, helped draft Bill Halter into the Senate race and fight tooth and nail through the primary to beat Blanche Lincoln, falling just short in the end, worked to derail Tim Wooldridge in AR-01, helped give Joyce Elliott cover and stuck up for her when others were saying an African American couldn’t win, helped L.J. Bryant overcome a potentially damaging news story, and shined light on all the ugly details of voter suppression and illegal activity in Garland County. On top of that, we’ve given progressives a way to break through the establishment and conservative noise machines. We’ve shaken things up here and changed things forever, and we’ve done our fair share of both ticking people off and giving a good number of folks reason to believe that they are not alone and that they can make a difference. Not bad for a bunch of average joes huh? (And an average jane.)
We’ve made our share of mistakes too. And we’ll make plenty more. That’s all in a day’s work. But we’ve also got plenty of big things planned for down the road, and I think you guys are like what we’re going to be rolling out over the next couple of years. Yeah, that’s right, I said “years”. We’re thinking long term here and we’re never going away. I set this blog up where we could recruit new people to it and build a community, one that would persist and live on whether I was around or not. And Blue Arkansas has a great team here and we’ll be looking to grow some more soon. A big part of why this site has been so great is because of John, Sarah, and Matt. On top of that there are countless other people who have contributed, shared info, sent along encouragement, or provided some sort of material support. Roby especially deserves credit for all the help he’s given us. Without him, this site probably wouldn’t even exist right now.
There are some things I want us to improve upon though as time goes on. We have an outstanding readership and we’re one of the top political blogs in Arkansas according to our stats, second only to major news sites like the Arkansas Times and Arkansas News that we really can’t compete with. But we have comparatively little reader participation. Some of you guys leave comments and that’s great-we want that to continue and we’d like more of you to join in. But we also have the diaries page where you can write about whatever’s on your mind, and having that is a big part of building a progressive community that can network with each other. I’d also like to see us get more use out of the ActBlue page. ActBlue is a great way for Democratic candidates to raise money, and it’s all safe and done completely electronically. Someone once asked if we were taking the money and the answer is no-ActBlue is handled by a reliable and established outside organzation and no on here ever touches a dime of the money that passes through (and we’ll never be making any money off this site, I can assure you). Anyway, that’s just the stuff I’d like to build upon in the year to come.
So yeah, a full year. In some ways it seems like only yesterday that I started this. In others it seems like an eternity has passed since then. So much has changed and yet there’s still so much work to be done. One thing is clear though, we’ve left our mark on state politics already, and you ain’t seen nothing yet!