West Virginia Blue marks its first anniversary today, but the conception of it began much longer ago.
I began blogging on Daily Kos in the run up to the 2004 election. From there I branched out to Booman Tribute, skippy the bush kangaroo, the predecessor of Street Prophets, Political Cortex and other sites. I read Eshaton, Billmon, Hullabaloo and of course Steve Gilliard’s The News Blog.
And of course the countless diarists and commenters here, the people who make up the life and energy of the site.
These are the sites that helped shape my views and hone my debate skills. I had become a fairly proficient and popular diarist – but there are many diarists who could do what I do on those sites.
Where I saw a need was to create something similar to those liberal Democratic group sites for West Virginia.
Since then, with the help of BlogPac, we’ve moved to a Soapblox platform, which makes it easier for people to sign up for an account and join the debate.
When I launched West Virginia Blue, I really just wanted a place for West Virginian bloggers to gather.
But the ambition for the site grew with the need. There was no real platform to call the West Virginia media when they’d print GOP myths as facts in their columns and editorials. Writing a letter to the editor allows them to control the length and the decision to run it. The same was true of the active right wing blogs in the state. Their lies could go unchallenged because other blogs on the left did not want to appear partisan in nature.
I met my blogmate Clem (wvablue on Daily Kos) before a Mike Callaghan debate. We began too late in that campaign to make a difference. But we kept meeting and talking. The day after the 2006 election, we were already discussing how to lay the groundwork for the 2008 race.
We believe in good, effective government, reproductive rights, the U.S. Constitution, access to good healthcare for all regardless of economic status, a clean environment, higher government investment in education and infrastructure, the separation of church and state, opposition to torture and ending the Iraq occupation.
Those views led the former executive director of the West Virginia GOP to give us a “Thinking Blogger” award and to call us a “far left” site. If we are far to the left, then so are the majority of West Virginians and the American people. I carry the label of liberal proudly. We liberals come from a proud tradition of caring for the lives of workers and ordinary people who believe in freedom from tyranny in its many forms.
West Virginia Blue began as a site to really support the 2006 election. But the day after we lost our bid to elect Mike Callaghan in WV-02, Clem (wvablue here) and I discussed how to lay the groundwork for the 2008 race and beyond.
As a Democratic blog, we’re not afraid of praising or criticizing our elected representatives when deserved or needed regardless of party.
So here’s to us on the blogging edge of state and local politics. We celebrate our first anniversary milestone, but the road ahead of us is long. And West Virginia, it’s wild and wonderful too.