If I had a dollar for every time someone has visited Seeing the Forest… I’d have a MILLION DOLLARS!
But I’m a Progressive blogger, so instead of being rich I have a day job. I once said that blogging really got going when so many people were laid off after the dot.crash. There’s a lot of truth to that. Back then almost every blogger I was in contact with was unemployed. It’s what gave ME time to get started. (Remember Odd Todd? He wasn’t a blogger, but his excellent work is another example of what I am talking about.)
Every time you get one or more bloggers (or Progressives) together the talk turns to how people can’t make a living supporting the Progressive cause. Now there are a few bloggers making a living from ads, but those are rare exceptions. Blogging is done out of an inner need – more like a desperate drive – to say what we say. I know bloggers who are sacrificing a good income just to keep blogging and otherwise working for Progressive candidates or issues, but they are single and most don’t have kids or health costs and have some way to keep going. But most people have families or other costs and responsibilities and it is a shame that the culture of Progressives does not include making a decent living from a commitment to helping.
The subject of pay for Progressives is an important subject about which I plan to be writing much more, but one comment now: One reason the Right is so successful is they understand that people naturally have priorities and one of those is making a living. From the Introduction to The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law,
This web of right-wing organizations funds and supports many other voices that speak on behalf of tort reform and other issues. The people who write the books are funded. The people who write the op-ed pieces are funded. The people who speak on radio and cable TV shows are funded. The people speaking to public interest organizations are funded. Even the people who initially write many of the templates for letters to the editor are funded. In addition to funding these individuals, the right-wing organizations provide them with institutional bases and access to publishers and media.
In fact, there are a number of (most?) very good writers, lawyers, politicians, operatives, etc. who working for the Right solely BECAUSE of the pay. This doesn’t say good things about the content of their character, but they are smart and talented and the Right benefits — the rest of society suffers the results. In contrast to this, Progressive organizations, when they can pay at all, are only able to offer about 1/3 of what I make in the “private sector.” This is a problem that we have to solve. As I said, more on this subject later…
I have learned that it is very, very hard to have more than one main focus. Your main focus ought to be your main forcus. I’ve been blogging for more than three years, writing several posts most days, and many of those much more substantial (see “best of” in left column) than just dashed-off stuff about my dog or blogging from a car. (Though I did make history as the first person ever to post a picture of his dog (and here) from a National Political Convention and they can’t ever take that away from me. Heh.) Newspaper columnists write a couple of columns per week, and get paid a lot. I still try to write several posts each morning before I have to attend to my other main focus but I know that my blogging – and thinking – has suffered since I took the tech job. (Vice President’n is hard work. It’s haaardd.)
ANYway … here is what I would do with a million dollars…
I would blog full-time with more substantive posts. I would do more research, write more reports, do more to advocate building a Progressive Infrastructure to counter the Right. Along those lines I would give Commonweal Institute a bunch of money for general operating expenses, so they can launch their mission to bring to the broad general public positive information about the benefits of Progressive values and a Progressive approach to issues. The hope is that this – along with the same from many other organizations – will begin to counter the long-term propaganda campaign from the Right that has been relentlessly promoting conservatism, right-wing values and right-wing candidates. Over time this will bring back the public consensus that government is good, public schools are good, it’s good to help the poor, war is wrong, it is a good idea to protect the environment, etc.
Of course I would give a lot of money to other organizations, as well as help out bloggers. I’d help them buy blog ads, for one thing, to announce things that people need to know about.
What would YOU do to help the Progressive cause, if you had a million dollars? Discuss.