I am having a blast.
Huffington post wrote a story on me, and yeah, it's cool. All the comments were cool -- good and bad.
I spent Saturday night returning high fives to those giving me atta-boys in the comments section. I enjoyed defining and defending myself to those who were getting ready to rip me for who I am, or who they think I am. I love to debate. It battle-tests ideas.
I looked at people who are linking to me on the BlogSpot area or the HuffPo area and noticed that for the most part, we don't become fans of others easily. I was double-honored to see that my blog may be the only one that was being followed. I don't follow a lot either. I am a grazer in food and reading.
My family is pretty grounded and would not let too much of this helium expand my head.
I had a few themes in what I said to people in these comments that may be constructive.
First, all credit to Michael Smerconish for creating a talk show environment where somebody like me, with my views, can get a fair shake. If you have talk radio in your market and are not getting him, please call that station and ask, "Hey, what's a Smerconish. How can I get one?"
The direction of the media needs to turn to the center first. Talk Radio is an aircraft carrier that needs to be turned slowly. It is a business whose function it is to make money -- and lots of it. There is already a business model that is stating the way to make money here is to have screaming right-wingers who are entertaining. I hate to say it, but I will listen to Rush and sometimes find him funny. These places are doing very well.
I am not proposing eliminating that business model, but advocating a competing one, you know like capitalism and the free-market. Get reasonable sounding people on the air who are entertaining. I had no idea who Rachel Maddow was until she hit cable. I didn't know what Air-America Radio was -- we couldn't get it in Philadelphia.
The next step isn't that hard. When there is a Michael Smerconish or someone like him on the radio, listen to him and support the people who are sponsoring him. Many times these are local businesses that have a real stake in this.
You can say, "OK, Michael is right of center -- I don't agree with everything he says, why listen?" I don't agree with my wife on everything. I am not going to stop listening to her. My kids -- well you know the drill with teens.
If you are complaining that right wing radio is nuts, then find people who aren't nuts and support them. We need to find and promote peaceful dialog. I do not think Obama woke up last week and said, I liked the Phillies last year, let's get one of their guys on the air with me. It was no fluke that the guy closest to center with the lowest decibel volume got the gig.
Second, I want to thank people for actually reading this stuff. If I missed you, I am sorry -- there were like 30 pages, I really appreciate it.
Third, become active! You already are if you subscribed to this or are interested enough to read this far. I am not going to ask you for money, even though that is one way to get involved. I am talking about elbow equity.
I already asked you to do it with a call to a local radio station manager. It ain't that tough.
Next year we are going to get to vote on the people deciding healthcare now. You will have a vote for Congressman, and in about 1/3 of the states Senator. Those are 2 powerful chips you hold. In general, most of us don't use them to their fullest potential.
Healthcare is an issue to be won on the ground.
I want you to cut a deal for your vote. If our drug cartels and insurance moguls can do it, why not you and me.
Here's how it goes. Visit your current Congressperson's office; I don't care if they are a D, an R, or an I. State the following: "I am going to work on a campaign next year. I can go door-to-door, make phone calls, I will attempt to recruit new people for you, be a pain in the a$$ on the web, stuff envelopes, or whatever you need done. I will be happy to do it for you next year for you if you see my way now on healthcare. I will also be happy to do these things for someone else, if you wish to continue this foolishness. I am motivated and I will also motivate the people I clone. My commitment is your choice."
There is one thing in politics more valuable than money. It is called people. Guess what, if you are crossing party lines to go with someone that makes you twice as valuable. "Hey, look at Democrat Hank over there handing out stuff for Congressman Republican-for-Healthcare-Reform, is he a Republican?" or a phone call that starts: "Hi I'm Chet and I am a Republican calling you for Congressman Blue Dog."
If you want healthcare you may have to take grief from the party-insiders in the area. Tough noogies. Guess what -- the Congresspeople need political cover to get this done. Make their knees stronger.
I have already committed my vote and efforts for next years' Pa Senate race to Joe Sestak because he helped settle a contentious issue in my town where a museum, hotel and conference center was going to be placed inside Valley Forge National Park (the park sits in a number of small towns). The project was untenable and ill-planned. It was supported by Governor Rendell. It took about 2 years to settle this. Sestak had my back on this issue by sending his chief of staff to meeting after meeting in a place that was a 50 mile round trip for the guy. He came thru for me and my town. I owe Sestak because he did right by me. I doubt if I will ever help Rendell again. You get my drift.
If we start making the formal declarations to these guys, the balance of power can shift away from money based system. They all know they can get x number of dollars from contributors. Place a dollar amount on your time, and multiply that by the people you can bring into the system - you begin to change the dynamic. Currency is counted in votes, not dollars, not yard signs. Votes come from hard work and convincing people it is in their best interest to vote for healthcare now.
We have about 300,000,000 Americans. Only 130,000,000 voted. Factor out about 40,000,000 for kids and those ineligible, we are left with another 130,000,000 people who are not involved in the process. They have left because they are tired of this bickering and carrying on. These people can be invited back to the process by explaining their own self-interest.
Look, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I have plenty of battle scars from local politics. Many times earned because I went for the best candidate and not the party affiliation painted on their backs.
Please comment on what I am proposing, from the right and the left. I don't have all the answers, but I know if we get enough people talking ideas through, they become battle tested and ready for prime-time.
Thanks, I'll keep writing if I keep getting responses.