There has been much discussion about what is wrong with this site and whether or not it is "broken". I can tell you that it is not. The decision Markos made to start a "blog" and the foresight he had to set up the format he did has changed politics, blogging and my life profoundly.
I have never been a politically active person. I've voted in every election that has occurred since I was 18, but until I found this site that was about the extent of it.
This site is a great place to learn about Politics, Politicians, Issues, Elections and News. But it is so much more.
The first person to respond to my very first diary was Plutonium Page. Little did I realize that within a month I would be at a Pub with her and other members of this site. After that, we began getting together at least once a month. Now it is a regular occurrence. It is morphing into a group that will become active in local politics. Thanks in large part to switzerblog who, even though he is an idiot, has helped make it happen. We adopted a local blog called "WashBlog" which will soon become a Scoop site and we will focus on Washington issues.
I've met some truly wonderful people: eugene, mcjoan, N in Seattle, switzerblog, , surprise guests like em dash that showed up from Colorado without her boots, Frank and Plutonium Page come while they are in Seattle. These are people I could develop life long friendships with.
I somehow stumbled upon another poster, cmk, and we realized we only lived a few blocks from each other. Cmk, his wife (who posts here as Em) and I have developed a friendship that has extended beyond this site. They were at my place with their family for the 4th of July and we are starting to meet regularly for other activities such as coffee, kayaking and very, very long walks to the SeattleKos get together (thanks to Em, who likes to climb very steep hills).
I have met people from all over the world. I may not know what they look like, but they have influenced me, exchanged emails and been there when I needed them. Fantastic writers like:
- Meteor Blades - who inspires me and if he was the only one posting here . . . I would read it every day
- The mysterious Soj - who has opened my eyes to issues outside our borders
- DarkSyde - who shares my love of science and who is so prolific it astounds me. Give em' hell DarkSyde.
- Carnacki - whose deep love of his family and his "Happy Story" diaries have gotten me through some dark days. Can anyone really be as kind as he seems? I'm suspicious.
- pastordan - who has given me "Faith" in those more involved in the Spiritual side. His "What's Your Fucking Problem" diaries have ALSO gotten me through some dark days. I am an atheist, but I consider us friends
- georgia10 - who posted some fantastic and informative diaries about the Ohio issue after the election
- bonddad - who has informed me about the world of Finance which, frankly, bores the shit out of me - but I know it is important.
- Newsie8200 - who has read and shared news, pictures and cartoons from all over the Globe
- RubDMC- whose "Iraq War Grief Daily Witness" photos from Iraq have made me cry and experience intense anger about the tragedy of War
- Bill In Portland Maine - whose "Cheers & Jeers" I never post to because by the time I get up there are 407,532,452 comments already with 657,984,456 "4's" given out.
- Armando- the controversial figure that many have called for the head of on a platter. Love him or hate him he has done more than anyone to keep this site functioning as well as it has. Thanks Armando.
I've learned from, shared experiences with and debated with people from all walks of life about all kinds of issues.
I've seen incredible spontaneous outpouring of generosity. The community raised money to buy a computer for a disabled Vet, raised money for the victims of the Tsunami, Katrina and other disasters, raised funds for Politicians and families in need.
We have shared in the Wedding of Plutonium Page and Frank (next time you two are here you better call me so I can give you your Wedding gift . . . or maybe your 3rd Anniversary gift by the time I get around to it). There was vast support for Meteor Blades when his family was in an Auto accident. We shared in the pregnancy of fabooj. . . possibly with more details than we needed ;-) (congratulations to you on the arrival of your new family member by the way! I hope all is well).
I once wrote a comment that mentioned how broke I was and could not afford to go see my Grandmother while she was ill. Within a few minutes I got an email from our Queen of Profanity, Maryscott OConnor offering to send me some money. I didn't take it, but MSOC I can not tell you how much that meant to me - love ya lots for that. This is an example of why a big heart and caring attitude are sometimes more important than language. (Although you had some great points Jeffrey Feldman, really!)
We have Senators, Members of Congress, and Candidates that inform us directly. We got updates from Cindy Sheehan from the Texas front lines on a daily basis.
This past Summer the local group decided to have a picnic. For fun we invited our Congressman, Jim McDermott. Surprisingly, he showed up - twice. I got to talk with him for about 2 hours with a few other members. Congressman McDermott and I exchanged some personal emails and I wrote a diary about what he is going through in a court battle. He showed up in the diary and answered a few questions. This was the only diary I wrote that got play on the conservative blogs and I got my first "Hate Mail" from those Crazy Conservatives (this is when you know you have made it on Kos).
Because of this meeting, I co-hosted a "House Party" fund raiser for Congressman McDermott and helped him raise a few dollars. We had a conference call where he answered questions from the guests. I got to talk momentarily to the elusive RonK Seattle during this event (you better show up to one of our meetings damn it!).
Jim McDermott is a warm and caring politician and when it is time for his re-election I will volunteer for his campaign. I have never even considered doing this before Kos.
Tuesday night I went to the monthly 43rd District Democrats meeting. I have NEVER attended a meeting for my District before. Now I am ready to pay my dues and get active. Of course, I went because N in Seattle was in charge of the Program. He had a discussion about these things called "blogs". At the meeting was a round table with some local bloggers. I didn't learn much about blogs but I met "Goldy" of HorsesAss the blogger that broke the story about the Equine past of our beloved Ex FEMA director, Michael Brown, also in the discussion was Lynn of evergreenpolitics and Andrew of nwprogressive. All of them post here on Kos as well.
Now I write and call my Congress Critters and I am happily involved in the Battle to take back our Country.
I left out many people I should have included. And this is just some of what I remembered. NONE of this would have happened to me if it had not been for this site.
Are there problems here? Oh, yeah.
Battles Royale that I am sure if we were able to get a hold of each other there would be serious injuries . . . possibly fatalities. Each major battle has its own name for posterity: "Shut Your Fucking Pie Hole", "The Genital Wars of 2005", "Pie Fight", and others. Markos himself has said some things that seem quite inflammatory and . . . well . . . stupid. Welcome to being a member of the Human Species.
Some of these battles have meant the loss of valuable members of the community and spin off sites. So yes we have our dysfunctional, fucked up moments. But I would expect nothing less. This site has about as many members as Montana's largest city has people. It is a diverse group. For those of you new to the Battles - get used to it because the '06 election cycle is coming! "Back my Candidate or I'll kick you in the groin!" - "Bring it on beeyotch!" We'll survive.
Recently, I had to take a break from the site but couldn't stay away. I haven't been gone long but I noticed there are hundreds of new names I don't recognize and I'm sure they have no idea who I am. Hell . . . the owner of this site probably doesn't know who I am. Now I have to get to know which of these hundreds will be the next prominent members of this community.
When I returned this last week it was like coming home and having a warm reunion with some great friends and family - hugs all around.
So thank you Markos and everyone here for this community. With all its problems it is still a hell of a place to be a part of.