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When I was nine, my parents received a mysterious envelope at home, in a rural-ish town outside of San Salvador. Inside were pictures of me (then eight) and my younger brother being taken in the morning to our grandmother's house, where we would get on a bus to go to school. The pictures followed us after school, boarding the bus, going back to our grandmother's house, and eventually being picked up by one of our parents for the evening drive back home.

The pictures were taken by communist guerrillas and the message was clear -- leave town, or else. Within a week, my parents had packed up all their belongings into their station wagon (a rambler, with those fake wooden panels) and driven all the way north to Chicago. It wasn't smooth sailing, either. While we survived the drive through Guatemala and Mexico without any problems, everything in the car was stolen the first night we spent in Texas. That was probably my mother's worst birthday ever. Happy birthday! You now own nothing.

Thus began my sentient life in the United States, taken away from my friends and extended family to a place with an unfamiliar culture. While I knew some English, I had to spend 2-3 years in a bilingual education program to get up to speed. I had a rough time of it. Not only did I have a funny accent, but I've always looked younger than my age. That's fine when you're 42, not so great when you're eight, nine, ten. And it's particularly rough as a teenager.

I write this all to say this:

I don't have the kind of background that generally leads to this kind of success. I'm an anomaly. Yet here I am, running an online community of thousands, with over six MILLION unique visitors per month. This community has raised millions for candidates and causes, and if there's something electoral to do -- making phone calls, walking districts, whatever! -- you've done it.

And it started because I began ranting into the void. And you guys didn't give a shit where I came from, or what school I attended, or who I knew, or who my parents where, or none of the things that generally lead to success in this world of ours.

And I appreciate that. I never stop appreciating that. And just like I never forget where I came from, I never forget why I am here today.

And the reason is you.

All that said, that doesn't mean you can't tell me what a clueless asshole I am. Fire away!

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