About once a quarter, a rash of diaries appear that start questioning the purpose of DailyKos and whether we should impose some "purity" test on members to determine if they are "liberal" or "progressive" enough for the site. Of course these diaries turn into lovely pie fights in which no one is happy and nothing gets resolved.
I am fortunate enough to know that DailyKos is not a reflection of the rec list and that it is a place for many diverse opinions and many diverse topics.
This latest rash of diaries has amused me because they come on the heels of the aftermath of the Tea Parties "shutdown the government" stunt. As the Republican party seeks to embrace the center, DailyKos is arguing about shifting away from it.
Let me explain:
I think I'm liberal. I hold a bunch of liberal views. However, as I get older, I realize that my political views evolve. That is as I get older, I'm less interested in being a "perfect" ideological liberal and more interested in what is realistically possible.
I hold certain values that I refuse to compromise on and others that I realize I have wiggle room. I also find that as I have gotten older, things that my friends and I were absolute in line with change. Our life experiences shapes and mold what we think is "right" about certain political views.
I don't want DailyKos to turn into the liberal version of RedState. If you ever peruse RedState, you know that unless you are parroting the standard Tea Party nonsense, you usually get banned. It's basically one big echo chamber.
I don't care if someone is moderate or pragmatic or progressive. I think there are some ideas spouted on this website that are as silly as those spouted on RedState. However, I think it's important that we hear all ideas and points of views. My own request is that they be grounded in fact, minus hyperbole and realistic.
Let me give two personal examples. One where I probably represent the extreme and one where I represent the moderate.
My first example is abortion. I am one of those people who truly thinks that abortion is a decision between a woman and no one else. I don't care WHY women get abortions. I don't care WHEN women get abortions. I think the choice to have a child is a personal one that can only be made by the person having the child.
I believe in safe abortions that are easily obtained. I don't think you should have to get consent from anyone or see an ultrasound or have a waiting period etc... I think the day you walked into an abortion clinic, you made a decision. I believe in providing a support system that assist a woman in coming to that decision but if she can make it on her own...fine.
I also don't have an issue with a woman in a later trimester obtaining an abortion. I firmly believe that women who seek abortions that late do so with valid reasons and what might not be a valid reason to me may be to her.
I realize that my views are not mainstream. I realize that my views probably represent an extreme. However, it's important that I voice those opinions. I balance out the other side that believes that abortions are wrong 100% of the time. I have to realize however that politically and realistically, my views will never represent what is reflected in law or political opinion. When it comes to abortion laws, I need to be able to see 80% of my ideals reflected and be okay when the 20% are not. I can continually push for the 20% but I can't stand in the path of progress just because I didn't get 100% of what I want.
My other example is Health Care.
I am an expat. I live in London. I have that mythical Single-Payer, government run health care that is constantly advocated for on this website.
I don't think America is ready for NHS, UK/European style health care. I think that ACA is a good bridge to Single Payer and that eventually Americans will be ready but right now NO.
Why do I think this? Because I actually live and use the NHS. I am able to objectively compare an American system to an European one. I realize that this isn't the perfect liberal view. I think some fundamental shifts in American attitudes towards health have to happen before a Single Payer Option is viable. What are some of these attitudes?
1. This whole argument over "You get to keep your doctor"... I don't have a doctor in London. I have a set of GP's that I visit when I go to my local health clinic. These doctors come and go and that is fine because the overall health clinic is excellent. Part of being in a larger system means that certain things need to be flexible.
2. The NHS is a low cost option. I think that if Americans actually ran the numbers on how much tax Europeans pay for health care, they would be shocked. And this is ALL Europeans, except those at a very low income level. The wealthy aren't subsidizing the NHS at the rates that Americans seem to think they are. The idea is that everyone needs healthcare therefore everyone except the very poor should contribute. That contribution starts at 12% of your income and goes up 2% if you earn above a certain threshold (this is a very simple explanation and there are exceptions)
I don't think that the Democrats had the votes for a Single Payer/Public Option. I also think that with the whining going on about the ACA, it shows that Americans may not be quite as ready as they think they are for radical changes to the Health care.
In conclusion, I think we should focus less on worrying about who is liberal and who isn't and instead focus on what we can slowly influence and shape for the future. We need to win over people to our side. Demand absolute adherence to a particular view without any nuances and political realities gets you Ted Cruz. I don't think we want that.
Right now the Democrats look like the adults in the room and we have the ear of alot of Americans. We SHOULD promote liberal ideas but we should be sensitive about our audience.