I can remember back when this website was enthused to get 30K hits a day and many days got less than 20K. I am sure some front pagers can remember when it got much less. I can remember three years ago when we started the RedState Gathering as a means for RedState diarists and commenters to get together and meet each other face and socialize. We were thrilled then to have exciting (but longshot) candidates like Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley who were willing to come down and speak with our members.
Today as I walked downstairs into the meeting hall where sitting governor Nikki Haley was giving a speech, past the crowded waiting area full of dozens of people, I realized that despite the fact that our meeting room was much larger, there was absolutely nowhere to sit. Not only that, there was nowhere to stand; I could not find a spot that I wasn’t in someone else’s way. The room was hot and humid as the AC in the hotel couldn’t keep up with the crowd, but no one moved to leave their seat. All day people stayed crammed into the hall, wedged in side by side in seats or standing for hours at a time, ready and wanting to help change America.
Then as we all filed in for Rick Perry’s announcement, and literally hundreds of people had to be turned away into a side room to watch the announcement, and as the lights for the news cameras came on and I noticed that the podium where the probable GOP nominee was going to announce his candidacy read “REDSTATE GATHERING 2011” I finally came to understand how far this little website has grown. It sent chills down my spine and put a lump in my throat.
People always ask me how I got involved with RedState. The answer is simple: In February 2005, I started logging on and leaving comments and diaries. In about six months, the Directors asked me if I would like to be on the front page. Since then, RedState has created opportunities for me that I could have never dreamed of, and has introduced me to some of the closest friends I have in life. Most of the front pagers here got here just the same way – by starting out in the diaries and comments writing about what they are passionate about. And most future front pagers will certainly come from there as well.
Today, everyone who is reading this site in the wake of this day may be wondering how they can participate. The answer is the same: get involved right here. Write diaries, especially those concerning what is going on in your corner of the world and especially if it isn’t getting national attention. Participate in the comments. Get to know people. Trade emails with them. Get involved in local GOP and TEA Party organizations.
RedState is a great place to get involved and meet some of the greatest conservative people on earth. Take advantage of its existence as a community website and jump right in. We look forward to having you, and seeing all of you at RedState’s next gathering.