I am a lousy salesperson. I'll leave that part to others better suited to the task. Let me note only that while Markos and the staff set out on this subscription drive to have each of us discuss the benefits of subscriptions, I've observed in the past few days that the gifting of subscriptions here within the community has quickly taken on a life and a meaning of its own, beyond that original intent.
That's not surprising to me, given how "community" has always been a kind of DIY project in and across the daily kos boards. It is one of our community's most endearing qualities, I find.
It's funny, when I think about the Daily Kos Community -- that phenomenon of amorphous boundaries and ever-changing shape -- two very different movie tag lines usually pop into my head. Either I hear the whispered, If you build it [t]he[y] will come... from Field of Dreams or the young Mickey Rooney exclaiming to Judy Garland and friends, Hey, kids, let's put on a show!
There have been a series of eloquent and heartfelt diaries illustrating and recounting how this community has stepped into action, made itself real in so many different ways for different people. I'm not going to follow that path. As I read them it strikes me that an anthology of those would also make an excellent e-book, perhaps for the next fund-raising circuit (??). Since I'd rather read those than write a poor imitation, let me instead speak to a dimension of the Daily Kos Community experience that I've not yet seen highlighted. It is an aspect that has played a very important part in my own experiences here: the dynamic between those on the margins and the community at large.
I'll grant it is an unusual pairing, community building and life on the margins, but that's yet another dimension that makes this place and its product worth being a part of. We love those ironic juxtapositions, they become part of the furnishings here. Stick around after the fancy filigree of orange fellowship for a slightly different angle of vision on our current communal love fest.
Folks who pay attention to such things might notice that I have a pretty low UID.
I've never really known what to do with that strange product of timing and unemployment, so I've mostly just ignored it. But I find, today, that Markos has created a context for which the meaning packed into those digits actually has some relevance.
I'm someone who has come and gone and come back again and gone and come back again and gone and come back yet one more time. Rinse, repeat ad infinitem, the universe willing. Each time I return the community has changed, evolved in many ways, regressed sometimes in others, a testament, I believe to the very lived dimensions of it. That is also, it seems to me, one of its more powerful collective muscles.
This electronic swinging door effect is due primarily to the trials and tribulations of uncertain brain chemistry and the various difficulties that travel alongside that physiological reality. That and the fact that I tend to check out whenever primary season heats up, since I am one of the minority of folks at daily kos who never has come here for the electoral politics. The beauty of this stepping-aside-for-the-main-attraction-ing is the way that the site and the community allow for it.
There is a place for those of us who are politically and conceptually on the margins from the larger community here. It isn't always easy but it is possible. Someone I respect very much once commented to me how difficult it is to be the house radical around here. But here that radical is, and for the most part, remains.
Being the one on the outside of the commonly accepted way of understanding things is rarely an easy position. I've dealt with it most of my life, in several different venues: work, family, profession, home decor choices, you name it. My experience at Daily Kos has been similar to other aspects of my life, in that I don't tend to think about things the same way those around me do, I'm a radical in a room full of liberals. The difference here was, if I could find a way to talk about things, even those differences, there would almost always be some group of people willing to listen and talk about it further. The conversation might hover around the margins, but the quality of that conversation was generally exceptional. Yes, those of us on the margins had to scrape out our conversational spaces, and we could never hope for prime conversational real estate or orange celebrity, but we could find conversation. For we "outside-the-boxers" that is an incredible gift. On occasion that conversation might gel and become a force toward expansion for the larger community. The latter, I submit, is a gift to the rest of the community.
Certainly not every margin is embraced, and there have been enormous problems around both defining those margins and expanding them. But there is life at the margins and it hasn't been killed off. The dynamic between the critical mass of the community's center and those pushing at it from the margins is itself a classroom for the dynamics of change. Both despite and because of the failures here this push me-pull you aspect of the play between the center and the margins is, surprisingly the dimension about the Daily Kos community that gives me the greatest hope. Some of the failures are legendary. And heaven knows there remains a great deal of work. But the powerful thing about it is, this community is a place where that work is still possible. The places where it has succeeded versus those where it has failed have taught me a lot about tolerance, the power of both speech and silence, and some insight into thinking about tactics. You can't buy that anywhere, really (except perhaps here, of course).
That alone, I've always felt, is worth more than any of us can figure.
Happy Holidays, and long live the margins!