Monday, August 17, 2009

Two conventions in Pittsburgh: Netroots Nation and the G-20

I'm in Pittsburgh right now -- the city that used to be called "Hell with the lid off," but is now the East-Coast version of Silicon Valley. "What the freak are you doing in Pittsburgh?" you might well ask. They just had a Netroots Nation convention here and I attended it. I'm not sure exactly what I had expected this convention to be like, but I never expected it to be so much fun -- or that I would have so many stories to tell when I finally get back home. But right now, as I sit here in some cheesy motel room out in Robinson Township, I'm thinking more and more about the upcoming G-20 convention than about Netroots Nation. Did you know that the next G-20 convention is gonna meet right here in Pittsburgh in September -- and in the very same building where the Netroots Nation convention was recently held.

What a contrast.

President Obama will be staying at a ritzy resort hotel in the countryside and be flown to the convention center by helicopter. And here's me -- at my fleabag motel and commuting from strip-mall country on the 28X bus. But I can deal with that. Even here in my shabby motel room with the rip in the ceiling, I still have electricity, running water and cable TV. So I'm still way better off than approximately nine-tenths of the rest of the world.

In September, the heads of twenty of the most influential countries in the world will be sitting in the very same chairs that I just sat in. But will they be having as much fun?
And as everyone was leaving the Netroots Nation convention, we were all fired up to go out there and make the world a better place. Will the G-20 attendees also be fired up to make the world a better place too?

We don't have much time left to sidestep the grim riders of the environmental Apocalypse that are currently targeting the entire human race. The clock is ticking. I'm vowing to do my part to help save humanity from extinction in the next 50 years -- or do we only have 20 years left? And will the G-20 conventioneers also be willing to do their part too? Or will it just be business as usual for them here in Pittsburgh? Will they once again fiddle while our planet burns?

I'm gonna try to be optimistic and hope that the G-20 reps will all do the Right Thing here in September, and that some of our Netroots Nation magic will still be left here in Pittsburgh to rub off on the G-20 next month -- so that these twenty highly-influential heads of state will at last decide to get off their butts, see the light and help us clean up the very mess that they themselves have created. Before it's too late.