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Hi there! You may be wondering about who and what we are here at Show Me Progress. I can’t speak for the other frontpagers, but I thought I would tell you at least a little bit about myself, my reasons for being a part of this blog, and where I see us headed as a community.

I only moved to Missouri a few years ago from Oklahoma, where I was a lonely liberal in a deep red state. Now I’m a liberal in a deep blue pocket of a mildly red state. My first volunteer hours in politics were not spent on any candidate, but rather organizing opposition the war in Iraq in the early fall of 2002. I later became one of the whopping 2% of Oklahomans to vote for Howard Dean. Since then I’ve found time to help out a number of candidates and ballot issues in Missouri, from John Kerry to Amendment 2 to Mike Frame.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting fellow volunteers in Missouri on all sorts of campaigns, and I’ve often wondered what people are doing in other parts of the state. When I was that lonely liberal in Oklahoma, reading Daily Kos and Atrios made me realize that despite what I saw on Fox News and CNN everyday, I was not alone, that there were other people who recognized what Bush and his cronies were doing to America. I hope that we can fill that role on a local level for Missouri.

More on that below the flip.

What we are trying to build: a virtual watercooler for concerned citizens in the state of Missouri, a community of viewpoints written by Missourians for Missourians.

Another (more complicated) way to look at it is the following:

Matt Stoller:

Civic participation is a key tenet of how we built our media and political apparatus. We are demanding low barriers to entry in the political system, a way for everyone to participate, and more open cultural structures, including business, agriculture, and government.

Duncan Black:

Overall what blogs have been able to do is create an unfolding political narrative which has been largely absent elsewhere. Sometimes it’s about emphasizing different things, sometimes it’s about combating DC conventional wisdom, sometimes it’s about highlighting things which are being ignored. But taken all together it’s about telling the story of politics in a different way.

Right now, the average Missourian (especially on the left)  doesn’t have very much of a say in what goes in their lives. To name a few things, you’ve got big corporations outsourcing jobs, corporate hog farms polluting farmland, and municipalities seizing residences to turn over rich developers. The federal and state governments support this state of affairs, while at the same time stripping away protections for the most vulnerable in society. Media consolidation and major newspaper layoffs lead to weaker coverage of issues in politics. Activists and citizens have to work through the old channels in order to effect change, or even to get more information, and they may not even know of parallel efforts on precisely the same issues that they are working on. We will be providing a space where the barriers will be much lower to at least join the conversation about what’s going on, and hopefully, find out how to do something about it.

Now, I’m no blog triumphalist. We’ll have disagreements and even arguments about issues and candidates, some of which will cause us to swear at each other. We also can’t replace institutions and traditional media, and in fact, we’ll depend on them quite a bit for what we’re doing. There will be a lot of work in making sure that regular content is provided, that the place is visually attractive and organized, and that habitual disruptors are given the boot. But we will be providing at least a platform for these discussions, and in the process, we’ll find some points of agreement, inform some people on the issues, and make some – dare I say it – progress.