I haven't posted yet about my experience here in Denver for a couple of reasons. First, there has been so much going on I haven't had much time. Taking it in, so to speak. Second, I'm no good at forcing a post unless I have something to say.
It is amazing to see what the DNC has done with this convention, not only for the party, but for the process itself in allowing an unprecedented level of access to those of us that - save for our little blogs - are average voters, minor contributors, and on again off again volunteers. On the same hand - as with any transition from "old" to "new" - in doing so, they have exposed for the world the flaws in the system. Not the flaws in the Democratic Party (sorry to disappoint Rob's eager and insanely jealous Republican commentors) but in the political process itself.
What exists here in Denver this week is the fusion of political insiders and age old leadership with the very people who found recognition in exposing that process to the light of day, hoping - through critical and positive feedback alike - to make a better party and a better bloc of representation.
In the course of just a few days, I have seen bloggers sitting beside CNN film crews, and established media icons being scooped by soccer moms with Flickr accounts. I've seen stories reported more accurately in YouTube videos uploaded by college students, as well as bloggers embarrassed by getting a story wrong, when the traditional media dodged that bullet with a few simple phone calls to confirm the details. To me, it seems like a very constructive and progressive learning process that in the end benefits everyone concerned with a "watchdog" media in the political arenas.
But the "old" vs. "new" conflicts go beyond the coverage. I've been told of party leaders using press credentials granted to and intended for use by bloggers to get non-delegates on the convention floor and other "official" party business. One woman I met was coerced out of her press pass by her state leadership who then offered it to a "large donor" for the night. I've watched members of the traditional media sneer at these simple novices, as if their presence is somehow an affront to the access they have had exclusively, yet abused so frequently with shoddy journalism and half-assed follow up. Yet sometimes even in the same room, I have seen a blogger's eyes light up as they hold a microphone up for a comment from a well known Senator, and I've heard the excited talk and in-depth discussion from a group of college aged geeks just out of Q&A on healthcare or an interview with a candidate.
I'm reminding myself that this is a transitional period for the party, and the DNC deserves nothing short of two solid thumbs up for the effort they have made (and for being the first to make it). But without a doubt, there are many who still do not "get it." They will, but we've still got a long way to go.
Resistance is futile.