About 3 1/2 years ago I placed a call to Noam Bramson, the longtime mayor of New Rochelle, N.Y. and a Pearlman family friend.
We had recently relocated from The Queen City of the Sound (New Ro’s nickname) to Southern California, and I wanted some advice on how to possibly make a political impact on our new home turf. Unlike New Rochelle, as well as most of the other places I’d lived, my new town leaned hard to the right. The city council was Republican. The mayor was Republican. And, worst of all, our congressman was an entrenched arch-conservative political animal named Dana Rohrabacher, who seemed both eccentric and uncompromising.
Noam and I didn’t come up with any concrete solutions that day, but I committed myself to somehow, some way getting involved.
Shortly thereafter, Crazy Dana was born.
For those who don’t know, Crazy Dana is a website I started, with the double intent of informing people of Rohrabacher’s nuttiness and spearheading a movement to ultimately end his political career. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just began blogging, blogging, blogging. Then, when the race sorta commenced, I sat down with the myriad candidates, conducted Q&As, offered analysis. I attended some debates, chronicled the highs and lows, sought out political insiders for insights and understandings. I became increasingly comfortable with the material, and as time passed more people started to recognize me as “Crazy Dana” (Having lived for two decades as “The Rocker Guy,” it was a nice switch). I was quoted in articles, requested for radio spots. I was told, with legitimate frequency, that the site was informing lots of people. That knowledge was being spread. I showed my sister that post you wrote and I made copies of that thing you shared. On and on and on.
I bring this up because earlier tonight, the Associated Press officially determined that Dana Rohrabacher—congressman for three decades—had lost to a Democratic businessman and first-time candidate named Harley Rouda. I was sitting in my car when I heard the news, and felt like crying. Truly, I was overcome by the varied emotions.
And here’s the thing: My website is not the reason for outcome of this race. Rouda ran a wise campaign, Rohrabacher ran a shitty campaign, Rouda is serious and sane, Rohrabacher is a space cadet. One candidate was amazing and the other was shit—and it showed itself in the results.
However, if there’s a lesson from Crazy Dana, make it this: You can get involved. You can make a difference. It doesn’t only have to be via giving money, or marching in the streets. There are all sorts of creative ways to make your impact felt, especially in this funky Internet era of social media madness.
So … 2020 is approaching on the quick. You live somewhere with politicians who turn your stomach. Starting a website costs $0.00.