Do I have your attention? Good.
I would like to point out the utter injustice of a Democratic political system that is very, very happy to take the money and volunteers the blogosphere sends its way, and in return, we get... um....
Invitations to appear at places most of us can't even afford to travel, with no way to pay for a hotel -- unless you're an A-list blogger.
Oh, and awards. Yay!
A small handful of top bloggers gets some help: Fellowships, stipends, consulting gigs. The rest of us? Bubkis.
There is not even a little doubt in my mind that, if The Rittenhouse Review's Jim Capozzola had remained a Republican, he'd be alive right now. He would have been in a well-paid think tank job, living the high life. (He did, after all, have a masters degree in foreign policy.) Most importantly, he would have had health insurance for the past six years.
And what did his talent and dedication get him on the liberal side of the political noise machine? Some free books. A life that, as intellectually stimulating as it was, reduced him to living on the charity of strangers.
People saying really kind and thoughtful things about how important he was to the cause - after he's dead. Isn't that ironic?
Someone from either the Democratic party or some liberal organization showed up a few years back at the Philadelphia chapter of Drinking Liberally to ask the question, "What do bloggers want? How can we help?" She had, of course, already answered the question: Free Lexis-Nexis access! One account to be shared by I don't know how many bloggers!
I looked at her. I cleared my throat. "Actually," I said, "If we need Lexis-Nexis, most of us can figure out where to get access. What we really need is help with actual survival. Most of us need health insurance. We need computers. In fact, the single biggest thing you could do is set up a program that would give free laptops to bloggers, because so many of us live hand to mouth and when our computers go, we're silenced."
"Yes, but Lexis-Nexis..." she said, already tuning me out.
Jim's death has made me realize that, despite the yes, millions of dollars and untold hours of volunteer support the left blogosphere has thrown the way of the Democratic party, they will never, ever, ever give us anything more than a pat on the back. "Isn't that cute? They think they're special."
I don't know what it is about liberal groups whose leaders assume you should live on air while you give your life to the cause. Has it even occurred to them how much harder it is to get a "regular" job when you're publicly and politically active? I guess not. After all, they're already employed.
They don't really understand that the blogosphere is effective because it works like a swarm of bees. Yes, we have some queen bees, but you need the entire hive stinging from every direction in order to make it work. And to do that, you need to take care of the hive.
You may not even know that Jim's case wasn't unusual. I can name at least a dozen well-known bloggers off the top of my head who are in dire straits financially. I know several with health conditions that could become critical at any moment, and like me, they're living without health insurance, the Sword of Damocles dangling over their heads.
And so I am talking to lawyers about putting together a non-profit to help progressive bloggers. Not, as some groups offer, to help them organize for the Democratic party -- to help them personally, with things like electric bills and health insurance. I plan to recruit every blogger I can for the effort. One local blog proprietor is working right now to put together a concert benefit with a big name.
We should at least have our paperwork filed by the end of the summer. And if you, the blog reader, wants to be part of it, great. Hold a bake sale, even -- every little bit helps.
I know a lot of us aren't all that thrilled with the Democrats right now. So, until we get this foundation set up, you can directly support the people who do keep standing up to the Republican regime -- bloggers, the ones who aren't making a living off this insane labor of love. Go hit those donation buttons!
And for those of you who want to help this foundation -- if you have a business, and want to donate either money or computers, great. If you're a musician, and want to volunteer for a benefit, cool. (Anyone who has something to offer can email me at suburbanguerrilla AT comcast.net.)
We are, after all, the voices of conscience, the Jiminy Crickets of the Democratic party. Until now, we've stood up alone, without organized help from anyone.
And now we need your help. No more dead bloggers, not if we can do anything to help.
Follow Susan Madrak on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SusieMadrak