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  •  As long as all we do is present antitheses (1+ / 0-)
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    samddobermann

    we're not getting on the good foot, we're reacting.

    Can't we assume that as "progressives" we aren't satisfied with the status quo and then more forward from there instead of constantly putting ourselves in the (basically passive) position of reacting to theses generated by our opponents?

    Call it the Overton Window or whatever you like, but if we're always playing on the regressives' (of either party) turf we're NOT generating much of anything and nobody's gonna really listen to us.

    I dunno.  In real life I find those who present things to do far more stimulating and attractive than those who just point out the flaws all the time.

    What do want?  Do we want to build a movement that draws more people to it or do we want to bore them to death with a lot of negativity?  There's a reason we haven't gotten a lot of political traction.  Personally I suspect it's because we haven't been offering anything of our own.

    •  I simply disagree (2+ / 0-)
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      Gorette, Val

      Presenting an antithesis is the core of push for progress.  It is the very opposition to the status quo that creates those new ideas that you appear to value.  New ideas do not arise in a vacuum.  

      Furthermore, we are not putting ourselves in the position of reacting, we are put in the position often of having no other recourse but to react.  There's a huge difference between the two.  And I would argue that this is not a passive position.  It is the first step in changing the status quo.  Women's suffrage raged for 70 years before full voting rights were acknowledged for women.  During much of that fight, the only thing suffragists could do was raise consciousness by calling out the inequities they endured.  What would you have had them do in the 1850's that would have satisfied your "new ideas" requirement?

      Similarly, the civil rights movement did not spring up in the 1950's, but had been growing for nearly 100 years.  To use a recent example, the wave of same sex marriage adoptions occurred after at least 30 years of fighting for spousal rights (I use this conservative benchmark because the rise of HIV created an urgency on this front as spouses of the infected faced all kinds of horrors regarding caring for their partners and the treatment of joint property).  I was there in those early days and there was nothing to do but complain about the status quo, along with protesting.

      Progress does not happen overnight.  It does not spring like a "new idea" from some untended soil.  It starts by pointing out a wrong, over and over again, until a critical mass is developed which then can be actualized through a change in policy or attitudes (the synthesis).  I would argue that what you consider a waste of time is a natural and necessary part of the process.

      As for "boring them with negativity," is this a statement of your response?  I think that people like to find that there are others who feel the same way they do.  The complaints ultimately lead to a growth of consensus (as is recently occurring on same sex marriage).  The demand that we shut up or that everything doesn't have to be a gay issue is quite similar IMO to what you are advocating.  If you find the dialogue boring, I would posit that perhaps it is because you do not want to hear the message.  Are you politically inclined towards the positions of the "negativity" folks or opposed?  I think your response would be very informative.

      On an unrelated point, it appeared to me that those who decry the complaining around here about the administration were often the same people who opposed the Occupy movement or were extremely critical of it.  The so-called complainers tended to be in full support.

      •  for the record I was absolutely pro OWS (1+ / 0-)
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        samddobermann

        my lack of enthusiasm for complaining is the same no matter who is being complained about (or even who's doing the complaining.

        I loved OWS because it was pro-active, adding new elements to the national discourse, instead of what I see us mostly doing here, which is almost completely reactionary.  In Hegelian terms OWS made the 1% and their "right" to hoard the thesis of what america was talking about.  Instead of another lame reaction to repug litanies about the deficit (which was what america was talking about until OWS changed the conversation), we (the left) proposed something for a change, put a new idea into the discourse.  I think we need to be doing a lot more of that.

        And, yeah, (maybe it's just personal, but most of the people I know feel the same way) I find constant negativity really boring (funny sometimes, like the goth kids on South Park).  The more predictable it becomes the less interesting it is to anybody.  During the Bush years, a lot of negativity was probably healthy.  All these years later, does it have the same power?  I just don't think so.  And I think the results speak for themselves.

        Do you like the results we've been getting?  I don't.  Maybe we should be doing something different.  I know it takes time to build a movement, but I don't believe movements are built on complaining.  In the Civil Rights struggle, Dr King spent a lot more time inspiring people, presenting a positive thesis of integration instead of a negative thesis of segregation ("I have a Dream", "I have been to the Mountain Top", etc.).  In Marriage Equality, those who supported equal rights got control of the discourse and changed the american mindset (the thesis) from "why do they need to get married?" to "why can't we get married just like anybody else does?".

        I dunno.  To me it's about setting the terms instead of reacting to the terms imposed by the status quo.

        And I don't see that happening over here these days.

        •  I always thought the civil rights movement was (5+ / 0-)

          yes, was, built on complaints. I lived through it. It was Hell NO, we don't accept sitting at the back of the bus. Hell, NO, it's not right to make us go to substandard schools, etc. It was all complaints and rightly so. Those complaints waked up the rest of the nation who did not realize the things that were going on and how wrong they were. That's why politicians had the support to make great changes happen.

          But I do think your point about negativity is correct. It cannot be the main topic because, yes it does get boring and one can feel trapped in that mindset of oh, noes, here we go again. We have to do much more than that and we do.

          But I see DK differently, in general, than you do, I guess. As inclusiveheart said, we have had influence, and you can see how the discourse has changed as people become enlightened, from 2005 when I joined to today, the difference in attitudes towards economic issues and our plutocracy have changed and our understandings deepened as to the way the system works.

          Over the years I have learned SO MUCH from the diaries on a wide range of topics, especially economic, government, politics, the military and the environment. It has been a huge free educational foundation for lots of us I expect, as well as a grand support system at the same time.

          I might say also that inclusiveheart is a great example here of the kind of comment-maker who always adds substance to a discussion.

          "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

          by Gorette on Sat May 18, 2013 at 03:25:11 PM PDT

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          •  I would say the same about you, friend. (1+ / 0-)
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            Gorette

            Thanks for contributing ;)

          •  not sure I agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            samddobermann, 3goldens

            If the Civil Rights Movement had been all about the complaints  
            (which had been true forever) I doubt it ever would have developed traction with people all over the country who didn't live in the racist south and weren't directly exposed to / affected by it.  But, particularly through the eloquence  of Malcolm and MLK (and a generation of folksingers), it developed a strong positive voice that everyone with a heart and a soul wanted to be part of.

            A movement succeeds by growing, by expressing its message so well that more and more people involve themselves in it.  I don't see much of that going on here these days.  All day today Sarah Palin has been at the top of the list.  Really, does anybody here not know by now she's an idiot?  Even republicans have figured that one out.

          •  but with civil rights it wasn't the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Urizen

            complaining that got anything done. It was the actions: the sit ins, the marches — and the insane reactions of the white entrenched power class to them, the bus rides and the bus boycotts, the voter registration drives and going to jail (and staying there) and all sorts of other ACTIONS.

            All the complaining in the world did no good. It didn't change a thing.

            The Occupy movement wasn't sitting around complaining as was evident here on DKos. It was an action, a demonstration and because it was a mobilization for that which most people sat around complaining on blogs and else where it took off and incited groups around the world. It faded out because is eschewed structure though remnants are still active.

            Criticism looses legitimacy when it deteriorates into name calling and ascribing motivation to the person(s) about whom you are complaining.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Sun May 19, 2013 at 06:02:38 AM PDT

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            •  Occupy showed us the way (1+ / 0-)
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              3goldens

              Occupy may now be moribund, but the genie is now out of the bottle.

              It saddened me how many people here at DKos castigated Occupy as "useless" since it wasn't concerned with electoral politics.

              Me, I think elections mean diddley doo when neither party is on your side.

            •  What in hell do you think GOT PEOPLE TO sit in?? (0+ / 0-)

              Got them to march? Their complaints. And being fed up with being told to stuff it. Becoming aware of things that were wrong started things off and then leadership in nonviolence path led to change.

              No one is saying complaining is the answer to social wrongs per se. But neither is it a bugaboo. It's part of the process of change. That's all I'm saying. True what you say about name calling and a focus on complaints. Once people are aware of the problems they need to move to the next step.

              "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

              by Gorette on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:44:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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