I haven't been very active on DKos for a while. The whining got to me, and also I went through a period of despondence over the serial compromises of the President on issues that I feel strongly about - like everything....
I have made my peace with the President's style of governing. It wasn't easy, but the takeover of the House by Boehner and friends reminded me what we really have in Barack Obama.
So, I'm back. I hope to contribute much more actively now that DK4 is actually here!
This site is built on a love of progressive politics. We are called upon by Kos to elect more and better Democrats, and we all agree with that simple aim, but what we really love, though, are the political campaigns themselves. Most of us work in them, volunteer for them, and we follow them as though our very lives depended upon them. We care. A lot.
Political campaigns are like cocoons. Especially when we are young, we wrap ourselves in them as though they are more important than life itself. We do this because we have strong principles and beliefs. We also do this because it feels really, really good to matter, and we in our cocoons are absolutely sure that we matter a lot.
Many of us become utterly consumed by campaigns. They feel good in the same way drugs can feel good - but, only at first. If we use campaigns to define ourselves, we run a real risk of becoming actual junkies with no lives outside of politics. We forget what real life actually is. We build and inhabit cocoons like addicts do.
The typical DKos answer, right up front:
People won't listen to me!! (Imagine whimpering and whining tones amplified well above the pain threshold, because, in the DKos tradition, feelings will be damaged)
Who listens to anybody around here. Nobody? Anybody? (I fear a poll is coming up)
Everybody is writing furiously and reading haphazardly. What on earth can we possibly do???? It's almost as if the people around here are children throwing rocks at each other, and inadvertently breaking windows in the course of it. At the same time, we're all screaming, "the sky is falling!" (Which it may be, but that's not fixing any windows).
UPDATE. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments, but I need to be more clear. This diary is not a plea for help. I'vegot tons of help in my life. My regrets were presented, possibly, a bit too well. I simply wanted to contrast my mistakes with what may be the President's mistake. It's presumptuous to do so, so I gave a clear background.
Why am I so angry?
I feel terrible. Why?
Part of it is the disillusion borne of a youth squandered and a middle age fraught with emotional fragility and a stunning lack of honest effort on my part. My personal failures are large and deep. Brought up to be selfless - to be "Christian" in the best possible sense - to put others before myself, to turn the other cheek, and to give my life over to the benefit of others, I did not do it. I squandered the promise I showed as a youth. I failed to develop and nurture my special talent for music, and my ability to write both music and words. I have been selfish rather than selfless.
The following essay was written for the purpose of winning the WaPo punditry contest. It will not win for a variety of reasons, the most important being that it was never submitted to the WaPo contest. I missed the deadline. Also, I don't want to work for the Washington Post.
A further reason is that the essay breaks all the rules, particularly the rule that requires brevity, and probably the one that requires a command of the English language and its rules of syntax and spelling or whatever.
Nevertheless, the essay was written, and it had to be dumped somewhere, so, why not here?
I'm on Hiatus from politics right now, so there will be no impassioned pleas for the public option, nor any action elements to this diary - just a few answers to the age-old question after the jump:
Update: Thanks for the comments everyone. It's clear I don't have my sense of humor back. Everybody took this WAY too seriously. It was supposed to be light snark. Anyway thanks for playing along!
I love dkos. I have enjoyed commenting and writing diaries. There is nothing wrong with this site as far as I'm concerned. But, I'm gonna stop writing here for a while. There are several reasons I need to take a break, but three reasons are most important. They are below the jump.
Revision: Daily Kos is not the cause of anything I wrote. This diary is not a criticism of Daily Kos, which is absolutely invaluable. Anyone who thinks my personal decision validates their problems with the site are mistaken. Peace!
Revision #2 There is a point several folks have made that is wrong. I am not giving up. I will never give up in my commitment to progressive action. But, you can't ask someone with a broken leg to "take one for the team" and keep skiing! Sometimes you're on the disabled list. I only wrote about the part of this that deals with politics. There's way more to it. Thanks again to EVERYONE!!
Revision #3 after the jump
Revision #4: You are all so great, I cannot express my appreciation anywhere close to well enough. Remember the best gift you ever received and how you felt afterwards. That's how I feel. Thanks!
(Crossposted from Bleeding Heartland)
Today, after some serious procrastination, I forced myself to drive out to the hospital to see a friend who just got some really bad news. This friend - I'll call him Mort - had stopped in to see his family doctor for symptoms he did not disclose to me, but the result was a colonoscopy last Thursday, and a colon resection and liver biopsy on Friday, The lab reports yesterday confirmed the worst. He has colon cancer, and it has spread to his liver in two spots.
I call him my friend, but to be brutally honest, he's more of an acquaintance, even though I've known his whole family for 45 years. The fact is, in that entire time, I've probably only had one or two conversations with him that could be called anything more than small talk.
Nevertheless, I want to share a bit of Mort's story with you. You see, I feel somehow personally responsible for what has befallen Mort. In fact, I'm guilty as hell. I need absolution, and confession is the best way to feel I've received it.
(Just so you know, I'm not religious, but the language of the church fits my mood, so I'm appropriating it.)
So, this is a diary in the original sense, a personal expression of how I feel right now.
Yesterday, I attended a health care forum in Iowa hosted by Senator Tom Harkin. Following it, I wrote a diary, "Now I understand why war happens (a health care forum story)." In it, I asked the question, how can you defeat the bullies who are overrunning most of these meetings?
The problem in dealing with the teabaggers, deathers, birthers, racists, anarchists and radical libertarians who are overrunning health care forums nationwide is simple to describe.
They. Don't. Listen. Ever.
So, you can't really talk to them. When they have stacked the room, the intimidation is palpable. That's how they win.
Yesterday, I couldn't for the life of me think of how to beat these people, short of overpowering them somehow - hence the title of the diary. But, even as I wrote it, I knew that overpowering them just feeds into their fear and paranoia, and realistically, it's impossible anyway.
Today, after a little sleep and some reflection, I realized that the effect of the teabaggers' aggressive intimidation made me stupid for about eight hours. Anger is an amnesic agent. It makes you forget what you know. I was angry, depressed, agitated, and clueless all at once.
Today, I saw our problem first hand. We are in a world of trouble, people. Mobs are powerful and wholy beyond reason. Yet, they must be stopped, because they are extremely dangerous.
There are a lot of very angry, very frightened people out there, and about 150 of them turned out on a Wednesday afternoon to harass Senator Tom Harkin, shout incoherent political slogans (the same ones that have been diaried to death here in the last week), and to let him know that they are very angry about the idea of government in general and government health care in particular. The total crowd was limited to about 210 by the fire code.
Some people were wearing Teabagger T-Shirts, and others had reams of notes clearly pulled from the internet. There was no chance for anyone there to voice any approval of any health care bill, nor was there any chance to ask any of the legitimate questions we all ask here all the time.
All (that I can remember for sure) of what I heard after the jump....
David Waldman's very thoughtful essay, "Behind the White Folks Who Built this Country," is fine as far as it goes, but I don't feel comfortable with the argument. It plays into the Buchanan position. The "slaves gave the founding fathers time" argument doesn't help understand the central issue, which is, "what do we owe each other now, today, and always?"
I first caucused in Iowa in 1984, for Jesse Jackson. I was the only person in the Jackson group in my precinct (go figure), so I joined with the Gary Hart group. That didn't work out so well either. Walter Mondale had Iowa locked up, and it was frustrating, because most of us knew he'd get beat, and boy, did he ever get beat.
I met Dick Gephardt in 1986. He wasn't impressive. I also met Joe Biden in 1986. In 1987 a group of us met with all of the Democratic candidates. Mike Dukakis didn't know what the Iowa minimum wage was. Jesse Jackson, that year, signed up many struggling farmers- a very surprising event, but one I would remember 20 years later. Gephardt came back. Al Gore and I got into a shouting match over the PMRC - Tipper's music censorship group. Bruce Babbitt was perfect, but boring. Paul Simon had a bow tie. He looked like Al Franken....
I headed the local Biden effort. He dropped out, so we all moved to Simon, but he dropped out after Iowa.
The sad thing is, I have no photos at all from that time, nor from 1992, 1996, 2000 nor 2004.
By 2006, the world was different, and I knew it would be an important campaign. I bought a digital camera. I was ready.
Part of Muskegon Critic's diary today was probably aimed at me. That's OK.
But there are some serious points to be made here. Please follow below the fold: