The nation’s largest annual gathering of liberal-progressive activists took place this past weekend in a paragon city of liberal “progress:” Detroit, Michigan. As an attendee of the Netroots Nation conference, I gained unscripted, unedited, and unpolished access to the agenda, tactics, and policy plans of the organized left. Keeping a low profile, I observed how the left plans to “rule” the next generation and their intentions for Texas and America.
First hosted as a small gathering of liberal bloggers and activists in 2006, the conference has grown to rival many similar conventions in size. With over 3,000 attendees, it was a record year for the annual meeting.
Sponsors included candidates, issue groups, labor organizations, and vendors united around their shared progressive vision for America. Events ranged from policy panel discussions and software training presentations to movie screenings and caucuses focused on members of an area or constituency group. Organizers of the convention even built a political protest march for participants into the schedule.
Out of the numerous events, I attended four sessions everyday on all three days of the convention. A few of the sessions I attended involved digital strategy and online organizing. The majority of the sessions I sat in on were panel discussions, many of which could only be described as eye opening. Several speakers at these panels revealed a key personality trait of the American progressive movement: an intense disdain for traditional American values, limited government, personal responsibility, and individual liberty.
Most personally alarming were the offensive and inaccurate characterizations of conservatives by some speakers. Also unsettling were attitudes toward the role and operation of government. One panelist even used the word “rule” to describe government’s relationship toward its citizens. Another speaker demanded that government must, “enable local control of the distribution of resources.” On a personal level, the few participants I actually interacted with were nothing but cordial, to their credit.