Netroots Nation is all about political activism. General Clark in his keynote speech on Thursday mentioned that there are four levels of activism that really make a difference. I don't remember what his description of the grading curve was, but I'll put forward mine.
If you vote, you get a D grade. If you vote and write letters, you get a C grade. If you vote, write letters and organize friends on political issues, you get a B grade. If you vote, write letters, organize your friends and then run for office, you get an A. There were a number of people here at Netroots Nation 2008 that are getting A's, and many of them were handing out literature, speaking on panels, giving speeches, and otherwise showing their support for the netroots and the progressive agenda.
Darcy Burner from our own 8th CD was everywhere, and very well loved by everyone. I don't remember a speech by anyone directly associated with NRN who did not mention her name as a rising star or as someone to support.
Donna Edwards from Maryland's 4th CD, who won a special election in June and was sworn into Congress 30 days before her keynote speech on Saturday night here in Austin, had caught the attention of Markos 3 years ago in 2006, and fought a long term primary battle with Rep. Al Wynn, who turned progressive during the last few years in order to try and fight back. She won. Her speech on the House Floor on the day that she was sworn in shows why.
Charlie Brown from California, who was the winner in the DFA All Star contest where Darcy got 2nd place, spoke to the DFA Caucus on Thursday night, and I was thrilled to learn that he knew about and supported the Veterans Family Fund, something that I'm constantly harping to everyone about at every opportunity.
Those were the only candidates that I really had the opportunity to interact with, although some of the others that I saw floating around were Jeff Merkley running for US Senate from Oregon against Smith, Eric Massa running for Congress from New York, Rick Noriega running for the US Senate from Texas and a bunch of others. I'm sure other blogs might be attempting to get a full list of everyone who was there, but there's really no way.
I want to mention something else as well. The Texas House is 5 seats away from a Democratic Majority, where they will finally be able to start reversing the damage done by the Republican Party over the last few years. Even just being able to stop the Republicans from pushing any further is a great step in the right direction, but we shouldn't ever be satisfied with that. I don't have the numbers on Texas to show what the results were in 2006, but I know that there are a lot of people down here in the Lone Star State that are focused on it. I think I want to focus on getting my maps and history project off the ground to help for the long term, but I'll be rooting for Texas in November!