I stepped outside last night for the first time in days, to grab a cab to the Daily Kos party at House of Blues. It was hot. I stepped outside again this morning to grab a cab to the airport. It was still hot.
Fortunately, next year’s Netroots Nation promises to be much more comfortable, and much more interesting in terms of the local setting. Near the end of his funny, passionate and energizing keynote address last night, Sen. Al Franken had the honor of announcing that NN 2011 will be held in his home town of Minneapolis. Not your typical tourist destination, but then neither was Pittsburgh, and we all had a lot of fun there. Plus, there are several nonstop flights a day between SEA and MSP, and that always makes for a much less annoying trip. (Well, except on US Airways; they can pretty much fuck up anything.)
So if I’m still blogging this time next year, I’m planning on being there.
As for this year’s NN, I’d say it was worth the trip, even if it wasn’t necessarily the most fun I’ve had at one of these confabs. (I don’t gamble, I done patronize hookers or strippers, and I can’t afford the extravagant shows, so Vegas isn’t really my kinda place.) Gatherings like this are all about making and reinforcing relationships, and the close connections I have to other bloggers nationwide, both national and local, make me a better and more influential blogger. It’s the community aspect of the Netroots movement that has always been its not-so-secret weapon, and nothing builds community like meeting face to face.
And while there certainly wasn’t the same energy and buzz as there was in the heady summer of 2008, I can safely report that the alleged death of progressive enthusiasm has been greatly exaggerated. When the final attendance numbers are tallied, NN 2010 may turn out to be the best attended NN ever. Indeed, there were considerably more first-time attendees at NN, than total attendees at the shadow “Right Online” conference down the street. Doesn’t exactly fit with the media narrative, but then, the facts often don’t.
As for me, I’m coming back to Seattle fired up for perhaps one last burst of personal advocacy on an issue that most Americans tend to ignore, but which threatens to undermine the ability of our nation to maintain a functioning democracy. But much more on that later.