Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Preparations for Denver

Now that the general election has officially started for the Democrats and for Barack Obama, I'm starting to take more seriously my role as the official blogger from Guam for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver at the end of this summer.

First off, I've posted several articles critical of John McCain since last year, but its only been in the past few months that I've actually started coming up with my own iyo-ku/tinige'-ku posts, criticizing the Republican nominee. My first was in January, and titled "100 Years," where I discussed the now infamous statements by John McCain about how long he'd be willing to have US troops in Iraq, in the larger context of American global power and militarism. Then I had a short post titled "There Once Was a Man Named McCain..." which was inspired by the following limerick I heard on The Colbert Report:
There once was a man named Mccain
Who had the whole White House to gain.
But he was such a hobbyist
of boning his lobbyist.
So much for his '08 campaign.
(Ai adai, mampos na'chalek este. Pinalakes yu' kada hu hungok gui')
Then last week I wrote about "Iyo-ku Obligations," which described my responsibilities to help ensure that the media vacation that McCain has gotten over the past few months (put i imafulo' Hillary yan Barack), end as quickly and loudly as possible.
Secondly, I've been contacted by and contacted some of the other bloggers out there who will be attending the convention as part of the States (and territories) Blogger Corps. There's been some discussions about working out some plans and strategies ahead of time, and also getting organized to help bloggers who need housing or transportation during the convention. So far the main bloggers who I've spoken to (and checked out their blogs are), Ian Lind Online from Hawai'i, Yanqui Mike from the Democrats Abroad and of course Squarestate from Colorado.
Thirdly, I've been getting a spike in media coverage. Speaking of Squarestate, they were also kind enough to give me and my blog a big shout out during an interview with DNC Chairman Howard Dean last month. The blogger interviewing Howard Dean is none other than i mas maguaiya na abok-hu Aaron from the blog Guam Loves Jason Rosenberg. Here's the excerpt from their interview below. The full interview can be found at this link.

SquareState: I applaud your recent trip to Guam, and I think it showed a real commitment to outreach and inclusion.
Governor Dean: I still have to get to American Samoa, though and I have to figure out how to do it. It is not an easy flight. It makes Guam look like a walk in the park, and I had to go through Tokyo to get there.
SquareState: I don't even know where you would go for, "Americans Abroad."
Governor Dean: I've done that. Every time I go abroad there are a fair amount; Japan, Australia, Europe. That's not so hard, but American Samoa, I have to be there before the end of my term and that is not so easy.
SquareState: Well, Guam holds a special place in my heart because during this period when you have been credentialing bloggers, I was doing some outreach to bloggers outside of Colorado and there is a blogger in Guam who I am hopeful will be on the roster. I feel he has earned it, but unfortunately it is very difficult for a blogger like him to plan the long trip to Denver when the credentials are announced in mid-May. I have room in my home for my colleague from Guam, but what housing will be available for the dozens of others who are just now learning they are on the list?
Governor Dean: I don't know the answer to that question but apparently there are rooms available. I would talk to Jenni and the folks here about that kind of information, if there is an answer.
I was also fortunate enough to get some small snippets of recognition from different Guam media sources. The most significant mention came from The Pacific News Center, in a series of short articles on my being selected to go the convention. Here's the longest and most detailed one, where they as expected spelled my last name wrong:
"Local Member of 'Blogger Corps' is an Obama Supporter"
May 14, 2008
A Barack Obama supporter has been chosen to represent Guam in the official State Blogger Corps for the Democratic National Convention. Michael Lujan Bevaqua, the proprietor of "No rest for the awake - Minagahet Chamorro," will be the only official presence in the convention for Guam, outside of press and the party delegation.In a recent entry, Bevaqua, who now lives in San Diego, says he didn’t have much competition from local bloggers. In fact, he claims he has yet to find another one from Guam that regularly deals with political issues. But other than politics, Bevaqua also posts entries entirely in Chamorro.

You can learn more about Bevaqua at minagahet.blogspot.com, his blog, or at decolonizeguam.blogspot.com, where he is a contributor.
Lastly, I know that in order to make this convention trip the best possible, I need to expand my network so that I don't walk around the convention staring at everyone, not knowing anyone or anything. To this end, I'm considering attending a conference next month for Bloggers of Color titled Blogging While Brown. The conference is taking place next month, July 25-27 in Atlanta, Georgia. If I can come up with the money then I will definitely attend.

Although I have been blogging for almost four years now, I am definitely not that tekngo' about the blogosphere. Except for the links that you'll find on the right side of this page, I don't really know what's out there. Ti hu gof tungo' hafa guaguaha. Ti hu gof tungo' hayi i manmaolek na bloggers. For instance, when the list of blogs for the State Bloggers Corps was first released I came across some posts which were decrying the spirit of "Jim Crow" at work in the selection of who was representing states at the convention. Those who made this claim, argued that the State Bloggers Corps was all white male or mostly white male and that there was no diversity amongs the blogs, and in particular little to no African American representation.

I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure how to respond. Going through the posts and comments it was clear to me that everyone else had a clear sense of who was who and what blogs were "white" and what blogs were "black " (or part of the Afrosphere as people called it). I had no idea who most of these blogs were at all. All I ended up gleaning from this debate is that despite so much evidence on my blog which states that I am Chamorro, ya sina tumuge' yu' gi fino' Chamoru lokkue', because my blog was not "obviously" black, it ended up not being counted as something which created "diversity" for alot of these bloggers, and therefore was counted as just another Jim Crow white male blog.

Sigh, hunggan, esta hu tungo' na meggaina (mampos) kinu este ha', ni' debi di bai hu cho'gue antes di bei hanao gi Augusto. Lao este na kuatro na punto nahong ha' para pa'go. Siempre gi i otro na mes bai hu espiha empenu put mas.

And before I go, I just wanted to say "Si Yu'us Ma'ase" to Aaron for looking out for me in his interview with Howard Dean and also offering to let me crash at his place for the convention. What Hillary Clinton said about the Democratic Party being a family, I definitely have felt through Aaron's generosity and kindness.

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