A massive anti-Republican outpouring hit the streets of Texas yesterday. Half a million people shouting, "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote."
You'd think this unprecedented progressive outpouring in the heart of Red America would be the talk of the liberal blogosphere. But you'd be wrong. Unless you're a fan of the essential but under-read Marc Cooper, you could have spent the Sunday plumbing the depths of these blogs and not read a whisper about it.
Instead the bloggers were twisting their panties about "the latest pro-Bush editorial in that right-wing rag the Washington Post," to quote Americablog's John Aravosis' bug-eyed hyperbole.
What explains it? Race. Class. And the deeply limited scope of the "netroots" movement.
The protest, of course, was the latest pro-immigrant upwelling in the wake of the Republican-controlled House's cruel and jingoistic anti-immigrant proposals. But this wasn't in blue-state Los Angeles. This was Dallas. And look at the size of the thing.
According to the Dallas Morning News, one of the protester's signs read: "We are marching together to demonstrate, we the Hispanics in this country are united in more ways than one. We are tired of being treated as criminals. Look around you; we are all hard-working human beings like you . . ."
The League of Latin American Citizens, which was the prime organizer of the rally, has also organized a boycott today, encouraging the state's Latinos to skip work and buy nothing to demonstrate their economic might. The message: Don't Mess With Tejanos.
Here is a massive bloc of Hispanic voters taking to the streets in a pique of anti-GOP fury. Half a million voters (or could-be voters, for those yet to be naturalized) looking for a reason, any reason, to become Democrats. Today's "National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice" promises to send 2 million more immigrants of all races to the street.
But where are the progressives? Where is Russ Feingold? Where is Howard Dean? Where is MoveOn? Kos? Atrios? Like the rest of wired, white-collar America, they seemed completely unaware this uprising was in the works.
This cuts to the Achilles Heel of today's progressive movement. It only sees itself mobilizing itself: "Outraged office-dads of the world unite!" But if this movement has any hope of leading the Democrats back from the wilderness (as opposed to into angry, self-righteous oblivion) it needs to build broad-based coalitions that transcend the narrow interests of the blogging class.
It seems obvious, doesn't it? But in the political kiddie pool that is the "netroots" revolution, the supposed political slant of the Washington Post editorial board trumps the plight of millions of hard-working immigrants who toil in the margins of our society. Until that changes, progressives and the Democratic party they're trying desperately to reform, don't deserve a place in the winner's circle.