The Netroots – the ADHD kids of politics?

It’s interesting to look at the symptoms of  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.    Why?  Because after spending the past year watching the so-called “Progressive Netroots” in action, they’re poster children for it.   While they frequently make “calls for action,” claim they’re the base of the Democratic Party,  and tout their prowess in the political arena,  it doesn’t really seem to be getting their agenda finished.    Getting them to spend more than a week on an issue is difficult.  They lack focus, there’s always a new “crisis” which must be dealt with now!  Details are waved aside, sloppy reasoning and inattention to facts are quite common.  Projects that require a long-term commitment are dropped or ignored.  They hop from one to another, never really finishing anything.

In short, they’re classic cases, which means that they’re making a lot of noise and causing distraction, but not accomplishing much.   The sad truth is that real political activism is a dull, boring process.  You have to spend a lot of time laying the foundations of your efforts.  You have to constantly study your issues, and make plans .  You have to get involved in your local party, and get things done there.  It’s hard work and it often takes years to accomplish anything meaningful.   Looking at any of the past achievements,  there’s a tendency to think that it “just happened,” and not consider the long and difficult process that led up to that achievement.

The “netroots” don’t seem to want that.  They want what they want, and they want it now.  Delayed gratification isn’t something they’re familiar with.   What they want changes each week, and they scream because no one’s paying attention to them.   Some, hopefully, will get the message and grow up.  But for now, they’re just the ADHD kids of politics.  Lots of energy, easily distracted, and not getting anything done.


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