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I am going to be incredibly brief, at least for me.  I am beginning to despair at how we are acting towards one another, and begin to worry about its impact upon the future of the  Democratic party.

Perhaps it is because I teach adolescents, primarly 10th graders, but a few in the two higher grades.  Several of my students are registered users, and more than a few others come by regularly because they know I participate.   And what they are seeing now is turning them off, not only to this site, but to the Democratic candidates on whose behalf the rhetoric has escalated beyond reason.  

We have an opportunity this cycle to draw in and get committed a huge number of young people who have not been active participants in the process.  And if we can get them we can tilt the balance of power in this country away from the extreme right.   But consider what they encounter . . .

people cursing one another. . .

people accusing one candidate or another of everything disreputable under the sun . .

people unwilling to engage in anything approaching civil discourse. . .

Look, I know that some believe that we must engage in vigorous challenges to vet the candidates.   That is fine, although we can be vigorous without being obscene or resorting to pejorative attacks.  

Remember, this is NOT just about who will be our presidential candidate.   If we alienate those young people turning in to the political process in a serious way for the first time, we not only jeopardize what should be a near certain presidential election, the suppression of young people participating will also mean that we do not win down-ballot races that otherwise are ours for the taking.  And that also has real consequences, and for the immediate future, including being able to end the war in Iraq, rebuild our economy, restore proper balance of power between the branches, reestablish the principles of civil liberties and of the Constitution.

If the electorate expands, we win=- all of us.  Each person we discourage or dissuade from participating hurts us - all of us.  

It has been a typical Republican tactic for years to minimize participation - of minorities, of young people, of the poor and working class - because they feared the power of those votes, how many would be against their candidates.  Nothing we do in our zeal to advocate on behalf of candidates we support should resort to that - whatever temporary gain we may think we achieve on behalf of our chosen candidate is more than erased by the bitterness we engender, and the number of people, especially young people like those with whom I deal, who become so turned off to the process that they stop listening to any politician and we lose them, perhaps forever.

Most of my students will not vote this cycle - they are too young.  But some have been very politically active, and you may well meet a couple a Netroots Nation in Austin.  And when their friends start thinking they are silly for participating, that there is no real difference between the parties, it is not just Democrats who are in trouble, it is democracy itself.

Few of my students are willing to defend Bush or any of the Republican candidates, even those who self-identify as Republicans or Conservatives.  The danger is the increasing number who getting turned off by all the ugliness, seeing no difference in the invective hurled by candidates and supporters on either side of the political divide.

So please, as we continue in the primary process, do us all a favor.  Remember, the children are watching.

Peace?

Originally posted to teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:00 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this is one person's perspective (182+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakarta, Susan S, northsylvania, Trix, Subterranean, TrueBlueMajority, sarac, BigOkie, emal, RNinNC, rincewind, Coldblue Steele, kpardue, northsea, autoegocrat, smijer, DemInCville, theran, Matilda, Norwegian Chef, HL Mungo, marge, ralphie, housesella, Boston Boomer, bronte17, nyceve, YatPundit, MD patriot, PBnJ, Dont Just Stand There, DesertCat, javelina, bustacap, bewert, rian90, jdmorg, Ludi, Oke, emmasnacker, TexDem, grannyhelen, roseeriter, Munibond, klayman, JimWilson, texasmom, niteskolar, homo neurotic, ohiolibrarian, Catte Nappe, annetteboardman, raster44, 4jkb4ia, Chun Yang, zerelda, fran1, American in Kathmandu, FormerRep, murrayewv, Fabian, radarlady, escapee, Jeffersonian Democrat, JanetT in MD, Mad Mom, PBen, Jersey Girl, panicbean, clammyc, catleigh, EJP in Maine, Turkana, Sharon in MD, ladybug53, another American, blue jersey mom, newtonsthird, Sharon Jumper, Spunkmeyer, cerulean, wiscmass, loggersbrat, Rogneid, Ekaterin, empathy, tigerdog, Land of Enchantment, orphanpower, noweasels, Sanuk, emeraldmaiden, borkitekt, Hear Our Voices, Mensor, belly, akasha, Marcus Tullius, prodigal, merrinc, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, nilocjin, condoleaser, Dauphin, plf515, CTLiberal, ER Doc, MBNYC, Miles in WesternWA, gentle vixen, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, Friend of the court, mapman, Joelarama, sarasson007, donnamarie, khereva, possum, moodyinsavannah, godislove, slb36cornell, Wide Awake in NJ, Wino, Marcus Graly, Owllwoman, Heyroot, Joffan, tj iowa, willb48, LynneK, Empower Ink, bluesweatergirl, breezeview, gizmo59, rmonroe, VA Breeze, MKinTN, ShaShaMae, kimoconnor, A Handsome Man, Marko the Werelynx, geez53, nadeane, Faheyman, NewDealer, Same As It Ever Was, whirled peas, beltane, LucyMO, CenFlaDem, pamelabrown, ShempLugosi, temptxan, ClapClapSnap, Kathy S, kyril, Shaviv, cottonmouthblog, LCA, luckylizard, MalachiConstant, Doublethink, trs92, MizC, little liberal, Zulia, dont think, Quilldriver, Anjana, Wordsinthewind, JCAinCLE, artmartin, cybrestrike, dashat, rsmpdx, ARS, deMemedeMedia, cantelow, be the change you seek, i know

    but remember - I spend much of my waking time dealing with young people.  Since I teach government I regularly hear what they think about government and politics, officials and politicians, media and the political parties.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I am beginning to see some dangerous trends in their responses as the rhetoric has escalated. So far most of it is directed at specific politicians.  But as I look at what has been happening hear, I can also see how it has a negative effect.

    And as I begin yet another week of working with my students, this was on my mind.

    So flame away if you think I am full of it.   I am going to get dressed then head for school.

    Peace.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:03:17 AM PST

    •  now in transit (37+ / 0-)

      I will eventually read all comments.   But I have a guest speaker the first two periods, the staff director of a U S Senate Committee, and I have to set up the media center for his appearance.  I will catch up with your remarks when I can.   Thanks for reading, and for any sharing of your thoughts with the rest of us.

      Peace.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:21:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I totally understand what you're saying (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belly, Rich in PA, kyril

      and I do look forward to the day when the primaries are over so we can get back to some normalcy, BUT...

      Don't you think attempting to portray politics as free of vigorous debate and even intense vitriol is like trying to discuss war without acknowledging that people die?

      We think we're intense now?  The intensity of the debate was even worse during the formative years of our government.  Just look at Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  Can we even begin to imagine Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama engaging in a gun fight? let alone a physical confrontation of any sort?

      I respect your concern, but instead of trying to hide your students from the realities of politics, maybe its a good opportunity to engage them in a study of the emotionally charged and vitriolic environment that politics can create?

      •  I have no trouble with vigorous debate (36+ / 0-)

        I have no trouble challenging candidates on what they have done or said

        I do have trouble with the obscenities, the constant attempting to tear down anyone who takes a different point of view and excusing anything done on behalf of one's candidate as justified.  I am telling you that it is precisely such things that turn off young people.  

        Again, I teach my students to be vigorous advocates of positions they hold and to be able to challenge the positions of others.  But I also try to teach them to be able to disagree without being disagreeable, to challenge the position and not the person, not to demonize.

        After all, politics almost always requires the building of coalitions that will differ in composition depending upon the issue or the candidate.  If you demonize someone who is your opponent now, you lessen the chance of gaining their possible support at some point in the future.  If you want to attempt to win always with 51+% you will inevitably divide the country and at some point drop below that magic 50+% necessary to get anything done.

        I dislike what Bob Barr did on the impeachment of Clinton and renaming everything after Reagan, but his support of civil liberties is very important, as are the criticisms of strong Reagan advocate Bruce Fein.

        Peace.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:27:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read what you wrote. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Boston Boomer

          With all due respect, you sound like Grandpa crabbing about the kids wearing baggy pants.

          Do you seriously think that the general election, to take just one example, is going to be "civil" and devoid of nasty and racist/sexist rhetoric?

          I can't say I don't think primary season could be a little less strident. But we're in a historic period here, where female and black and actual progressive candidates are challenging some very deeply embedded problematics in American society. It'll get much, much worse before it gets better.

          Like the guy upthread said, have your students look at early 19th century elections and have them do a compare and contrast. They'll be more excited about politics.

        •  Again I get that and I think (0+ / 0-)

          its great to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  That's an excellent quality that many people do not have.

          I'm not advocating negativity in politics, but I do think its a little unrealistic to believe that they won't frequently devolve into nastiness.  There's a reason that politics is right up there with religion on the list of taboo topics at social events.  It isn't prone to positive discussion.

          If you lead your students to believe that nastiness isn't a frequent part of politics, then I think you're giving them an unrealistically rosy picture.  When they enter the real world and see how it really works, they'll be even more disappointed and turned off to it then than if they were exposed to the realities of it now.

      •  Substance is falling between cracks (6+ / 0-)

        With the overwrought (in my opinion) accusations of racism, fairy tales, voter suppression etc. flying back and forth, the top tier Democratic candidates, with ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION, are forgetting that they will ultimately win or lose this election on the differences between Democratic policies and failed Republican policies.

      •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raster44

        If you want to give your students something to toughen them up, so they're not under the presentist illusion that things have never been more contentious, give 'em something from the presidential campaign of 1800.  

        "What you're saying is so understandable. And really, your only crime was violating U.S. law." Marge Simpson.

        by Rich in PA on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:49:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh they are quite aware of precedents (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexDem, raster44, ladybug53, empathy, kyril

          but that kind of logic would rationalize sub-minimum wages and horrid working conditions because compared to pre-13th Amendment slavery it is so much of an improvement.

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:23:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

            We rightly believe we've come a long way in labor rights, and in abolishing slavery.  But we're always hearing that our political discourse is less elevated than it was when our country was founded.  Show 'em that it's not true.

            "What you're saying is so understandable. And really, your only crime was violating U.S. law." Marge Simpson.

            by Rich in PA on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:25:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you are positing a straw man (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TexDem, ladybug53, empathy, tigerdog, kyril, Zulia

              I am not saying that there was any golden age per se in our political discourse.  I am saying that what we are seeing here, and far too often in the general political arena, has continued to debase the discussion and turn people off.  

              Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

              by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:40:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You're getting a lot of flack (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, tigerdog, ZhenRen

        but I basically agree with you. In addition to complaining, as teacherken did, which I think is also valid, I think it might be beneficial to explain to students that this is exactly what happens when people stop listening once they've decided on a figurehead. It's an opportunity to encourage the kids to participate more in an effort to change that dynamic. Encourage them to check out each of the candidates, do an in-depth study of each one, and show them how most of the people engaging in candidate hits around here are just like those who aren't listening at home because they've decided the parties are the same, when they are actually fundamentally different. It's lazy politicking anyway you look at it, and that is something that certainly needs to be discussed with people of pending voting age.

        •  Some of the people here should be given an (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          denig

          assignment like that-- do an in-depth study of each candidate and then report (factually) on what they find. Can you imagine? Oh the HORROR! LOL

          We find that after years of struggle we do not take a journey, but rather a journey takes us. John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

          by tigerdog on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:30:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  With all due respect, teacherken, there's a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BBelle

      reason kids aren't asked to vote.

      I agree, I wouldn't let my kids within a country mile of this place on a good day.

      It's not for kids, IMHO.

      Our kids practice decision-making in their own lives, not watching grown-ups flail away at each other.

      And given the volume of lies, hate and all-round aggression in the political arena, much of which is profoundly offensive, I suggest we keep the kids safe.

      And off DKOS.

      Course, we could always send them over to LGF to give them both sides of the picture if education is our aim.

      NOT

    •  Thank God, and Amen (9+ / 0-)

      I'm all for a really, really spirited exchange of views.  I mean, hey, this is a political community full of people with passionate views.

      But frankly, the discourse lately has been more of the "nah nah, you're stupid" variety.

      Look, if I wanted to have debates with "morans", I wouldn't be here, I'd be hanging out in the real world.

    •  Good diary, teacherken. (13+ / 0-)

      There is much hate and immaturity here at times, but there also are many, many more good and decent people like you.

      When the good are silent, the others prevail.

      Thank you for breaking the silence.

      "They're going to give their power away when we take their power away." John Edwards

      by TomP on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:57:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, empathy, LynneK, kyril

      Teacher Ken, I totally agree with you, but for a different reason. I never thought about the kids, but about the right wingers who regularly mine this site looking for more weapons to use against us. We need to present the best image possible!

    •  I feel your pain... (14+ / 0-)

      Our 11th grader announced the other day that if he was able to vote, he'd vote for "McCain or Romney." I told him, "Thank you. You just saved us a ton of money." He looked at me quizzically, and said, "Huh?"

      I explained that if he was going to be a Republican, he needed to put his money where his mouth is and enlist in the military when he turns 17...Yay, Army College Fund.

      He explained that his perception was that "The Democrats don't do anything." I agreed, but added, "The Republicans don't do anything good."

      •  I have sort of the opposite problem (9+ / 0-)

        Both of my daughters (ages 20 and 10) are staunch Democrats. I've even caught my 10 year old reading DailyKos a few times. (It's my homepage, and she sees diary titles that pique her interest and reads them.) She told me recently that she likes some of the diaries she reads, but she thinks the comments are "really rude and mean" a lot of the time.

        The 20 year old has been checking out DailyKos to get some insight into the candidates, because she is still undecided. She said that, at first, the candidate diaries were really helpful, but now, they aren't at all. She says that, to her, most of them make her feel like she's back being a counselor at summer camp, watching a bunch of little kids argue. Though she has also said that reading here has helped her tremendously with her psychology classes, because she can see elements of all manner of psychological disorders exhibited in the comments.

        Both of my girls are staunch Democrats; the 10 year old even says "Friends don't let friends vote Republican."

        The thing is that my own experience shows me how appropriate teacherken's statements are. Not only do we have high school aged kids and college students visiting here, we also have younger children who check the site out.

        "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by LynneK on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:04:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Our Saturday night dinner (13+ / 0-)

      was an example to our children of what political and philosophical discourse should be.

      We were lucky enough to have as house guests our friend from Massachusetts who is an Episcopal minister. She was accompanied by her new lesbian wife.  

      Our other guest was an old friend from Nevada (a professor of anthropology) and her teenage daughter.  

      The group was rounded out by me, my wife (a thirty plus year public school art teacher) and my two teenage sons.

      I'm an atheist as are my two sons.  My wife is "spiritual", raised Episcopalian but rarely attends church anymore.  She always brings wonderful insight as to the state of our educational system.  Our friend the anthropologist is Catholic and was raised by a father who was a career military officer.

      At times the conversation turned to religion and none of us felt threatened or bullied by anyone else's personal beliefs even though we're all well-aware of major philosophical differences.  There are simply ways to speak to others you disagree with respectfully.  

      Although there were no Republicans at the table, we all seemed to have our favorite candidate.  I voiced my support for John Edwards and our lesbian friends said they would be behind him except for his stand on gay marriage.  They were pulling for Obama.  Our anthropologist friend was solidly behind Hillary and  felt Obama would be ineffective because of his inexperience and yet didn't scream when I pointed out the huge contributions of health insurance and the military industrial complex to Hillary.  She understood how that could be a concern.  

      My teenage son brought up Ron Paul and said many of his college classmates were rallying for him and we all discussed his pros and cons.  We were able to include him in the conversation without someone feeling threatened by pointing out the things he stands for that are spot on.  We could understand that even people on the fringes have a legitimate voice in debates even though none of us would vote for him.

      It was classic brainstorming and at times people were passionate in discussing various aspects but it never once degenerated into name-calling or disrespect.  We all agreed at the end that it didn't matter who won the Democratic nomination, that we'd all certainly vote in the general election for that nominee.

      This is how political discourse should occur between passionate, intelligent, and progressive individuals.  We were able to point out differences without losing respect.  The mental process that each of us goes through to make our choice is not some simple flip of the coin but a complex series of steps colored by our own personal history and experiences in life.  

      The children at the table went away with a lesson about embracing diversity of life and thought.  

      "I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence" Doug McLeod

      by artmartin on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:59:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amazing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin

        It's amazing to me that your lesbian friends would choose Obama over Edwards in light of the Donnie McClurkin thing.  Are they single issue voters?  And did Ron Paul's anti-gay stance come up in the conversation?  Sounds like you all had a good time.  

        •  Actually, it was news to me (0+ / 0-)

          that Edwards was anti gay marriage.  I think it just shows that no matter how you look into the particular candidates, unless you follow everything everyone says, you tend to have large gaps in certain issues.  My guess is they're probably unaware of the McClurkin thing.  If they started paying attention recently, it really is old news as fast as things are going.

          I really don't see that as a show-stopper anyway because McClurkin's style is so out of phase with Obama's that I see it more as a 'doh' moment than some statement of policy.  Unfortunately voters in the US just haven't evolved enough to allow candidates not to pander to religion and Obama got caught in the minefield of that game.  The telling point to me is that he hasn't made that mistake again.  He's not my first choice but not because of that single event.

          As far as the Ron Paul conversation, we basically all agreed that he was damned good at a couple of issues (Iraq War, the Constitution, fiscal responsibility) but was so loony at everything else that we never really had to get into those details.  By that time and many glasses of wine later, his topic was great for a laugh and not much more.  

          In the end though we all agreed that we all were committed to keeping Republicans out of office above all.  No matter what biases we might have toward particular candidates, these thugs must be slapped down after their terrible abuses and any Democratic candidate that can help accomplish that is alright by us.

          "I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence" Doug McLeod

          by artmartin on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:20:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (18+ / 0-)

    talking about issues is on thing...but the "flame wars" that go one is another.  I have found myself drawn in.  People let's read up on something before we respond.  So much of it can  be avoided with a little homework, then we can ignore a lot of these comments.  There are those that will not research, just parrot what they have been told...ignore?  What do you think??

    •  It still stuns me. (7+ / 0-)

      Years ago when I was a teen, I had been sick, in the hospital for a month, home from school for three months.  It was lonely and I got hooked on the soap opera genre (OK, you can all laugh).  Anyway, like most things that give one comfort, occasionally through the years during the summer, I would "catch up".  And through the Internet in the 90s, I would catch up.  And that is when I first encountered "flame wars."  I actually found them amusing.  And the stereotype of the people posting was off...there were lawyers, teachers, college professors as well as homemakers confirming my belief that most people have guilty pleasures.

      Anyway, I was stunned that political boards are not that much different.  Flame wars happen.  Trolls come in just to stir the pot.  And some arguments are nothing more than nasty, foul mouthed p*ssing contests.  

      I don't know why I expected these boards to be above it. I guess that was an elitist view.  But it does disappoint and I have to go with teacherken....this is a bad example for kids.  And to those mocking our concerns, you forget...it is what teachers do.  We care about how we teach children with our actions.
      It matters.

      •  "Not Guilty" Pleasures (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think anyone should feel "guilty" over watching a soap.  Some of the finest actors and actresses in the business have worked and are working on soaps.  Consider Erika Slezak, daughter of Walter Slezak, who was won the Emmy 6 times for Best Actress and continues to deliver exceptional performances whenever she graces the screen.  With proper material, soaps can transcend their "bad rep".  As for flame wars, I'm not surprised you first encountered them on soap boards, 'cause people are passionate about their soaps.  But the level of antagonism I've seen here at DKos goes way beyond any I've ever seen on a soap board!  

      •  Your last paragraph: Me too. Sigh. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nadeane

        We find that after years of struggle we do not take a journey, but rather a journey takes us. John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

        by tigerdog on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:32:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sondheim, Into the Woods: (24+ / 0-)

    Careful the wish you make
    Wishes are children
    Careful the path they take
    Wishes come true, not free
    Careful the spell you cast
    Not just on children
    Sometimes the spell may last
    Past what you can see
    And turn against you

    "The press, many-tongued, surpassed itself in reproaches upon these women who had so far departed from their sphere as to speak in public." -- Lucy Stone

    by Joelarama on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:17:05 AM PST

  •  Agree (29+ / 0-)

    I keep tilting toward a temporary GBCW until the Primaries are over. However, if I do that, then the guilty parties win. I can't stand seeing people I've come to respect who now spew out the most outrageous and insupportable garbage I've ever seen passed off on dKos. It's sad, and it can't keep going on without causing some permanent damage.

  •  I love a good, fact based positive diary. (28+ / 0-)

    But anymore, I find myself having to play whack a mole with stupid memes like "Your candidate should drop out because....".  If you are going to support your candidate then by golly Support. Your. Candidate.  I think I might actually faint dead away if I could read an entire diary & comments without finding one example of candidate bashing.

    The Audacity of Ambiguity! The Climate of Change! The Search for Substance!

    by Fabian on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:18:39 AM PST

  •  Not sure which is worse (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    escapee, ladybug53, Rogneid, kyril

    Watching their President go to war, lie and steal or watching 'Kids' acting childish.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

    by roseeriter on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:22:50 AM PST

  •  16 is not adolescent (14+ / 0-)

    I was the age of your students when I had my first big exposure to politics.  It was the television coverage of the 1972 Democratic convention.  I was interested and inspired because people I admired, like Marlo Thomas, Shirley MacLaine and Bella Abzug were delegates to that convention.  The presence of Shirley Chisholm and her groundbreaking run for the presidency was also reason to sit up and take notice.  As I recall, it was a pretty rancorous time, not only for the candidates but for the platform planks as well.  But it was all handled with far less animosity among Democrats than I am currently seeing on this website.  

    •  I remember the '72 convention - I watched part (7+ / 0-)

      of it from the hotel room my grandmother and I had at the LaSalle.  Between the windows and the teevee, it was one of the most fascinating few days of my life.  

      I am concerned that the attitude that has permiated the candidates diaries is going to do one thing: make Democrates and progressives look like they are hopelessly divided and incapable of civil discourse.  This really only goes to serve one group: those who would like to see a continuation of the failed policies we have now. The Republicans.

      Eventually a Democratic candidate will be chosen.  One.  Given the angry "my candidate is the only choice and your's is a jerk" tone of so many candidate diaries, will people really be to put aside this bickering and work enthusiatically for our Democratic candidate that will be chosen through the primary process? Will people put their differences aside to support a candidate they once so publically villified?  Will candidates be able to do the same?

      I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things. Dorothy Parker

      by Rogneid on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:07:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember seeing snippets of it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        texasmom, ladybug53, kyril, Zulia

        on TV. I mainly watched it because "That Girl" was one of the delegates. (I was only 6, so the politics didn't hold much of a draw for me.) I remember seeing Shirley Chisholm and her candidacy made me proud to be a girl. That convention made me realize that being female didn't limit your opportunities. I understand what teacherken is trying to say here...you never know what impact your words or actions may have on a child, and you never know when a child may be listening to you or watching you.

        "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by LynneK on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:08:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was in college in 1972 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc, LynneK, kyril

      and went to the convention in Miami Beach with friends just to hang out.  I saw all of those wonderful women in the lobby of the McGovern headquarters hotel, along with Coretta Scott King.  It was a very cool place to be!

      Carrie French, age 19, died in Iraq on June 5, 2005. Why?

      by Susan S on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:09:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It may not have been (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roseeriter, ladybug53, LynneK

      when you and I were 16 but in today's world, people remain adolescents well into their 20s...  I don't know if this is by accident or design but it is true.    (If I had more time, I'd find the links to studies.  Gotta get to school.)

      "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

      by luckylizard on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:15:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  some do, but many do not (17+ / 0-)

        and we need to stop infanticizing our children - half of my students are taking AP government, most of those as high school sophomores.   And in my classes it is not just an academic exercise.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:29:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (8+ / 0-)

          They should not be infanticized but many are.  To compare a 16 year-old from 1972 to one today is not entirely valid.  The demographic at my school is a bit different than yours.  Many of my kids are more privileged than yours and I find that to be a deterrent to growing up.  Their parents do too much for them, assume they are always right and never lie, and allow them to be disrespectful to just about anyone, including the parents.  I think that makes the kids more dependent.  When I taught poor kids, they took charge of their own lives at younger ages.  

          Over simplified but off to school now.  I'll try to get back but we're into tests and semester grading right now.

          Note:  I was 22 in 1972...

          "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

          by luckylizard on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:36:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  mine are a mix with respect to privilege (8+ / 0-)

            I have kids whose parents teach at maryland or work at Goddard or are Congressional staffers, such as my guest speaker today.  I have others whose parents immigrated but as doctors and engineers.  And I have those whose parents are barely literate in their first language, and others who will be the first in the family to graduate from high school.

            Peace.

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

            by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:41:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No matter who we teach (0+ / 0-)

              there are challenges, just different ones.  I really don't like the sense of entitlement, though.  They deserve a good education but they don't want me to bother them with silly things like thinking or homework or paying attention in class.  I am supposed to pop the cork on the top of their heads, pour in the knowledge, re-cork, and let them get on with their very important conversations.  I am not accustomed to this kind of attitude and I don't tolerate it well....

              "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

              by luckylizard on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:40:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  we're not infantilizing, or at least I'm not. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, LynneK

          "Adolescent" doesn't mean infant. It doesn't even mean "child."

          The Latin term from which it comes was used of young men from the ages of 14 to nearly 30.

          "Adolescent" merely recognizes that the person is still in a process of development. Again, that is not indicative of childhood, nor is it a "less than" state. Especially when one considers the current state of discourse on DailyKos!

          "So long as men die, Liberty will never perish." -- Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

          by khereva on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:02:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  As if what happens on DKos matters (7+ / 0-)

    in the Real World . . .

    this is a specialized, hothouse environment that has grown increasingly disconnected from the real-life concerns and issues that are at stake in the elections (economy, jobs, Iraq, health care).  Candidates have become meta-candidates on DKos.

    Find a few authors (nyceve, teacherken, Stranded Wind, rserven) and ignore the rest . . . except in the odd moments when you feel like playing -- and don't take play seriously.

    "Just for the record: you were right, I'm an idiot, and God bless you." -- Xander, BTVS

    by prodigal on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:27:50 AM PST

    •  Just a question: (7+ / 0-)

      I've been meaning to post this question on Open Thread, but this seems as good a place as any: Would people here be interested in, when I finish studiying it, a diary/series of diaries on criminalistics and criminal investigation, possibly using a notorious case, such as the Black Dahlia, as an exercise?

      Just tip this post if you would be interested, please.

      Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

      by Dauphin on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:01:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I, for one, would definately be interested (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raster44, tigerdog, Dauphin, kyril

        My favorite shows are those that involve the work of investigators trying to solve cold cases and real forensic investigators at work (CSI doesn't make the cut.)

        "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by LynneK on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:00:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd be delighted to write one when I'm done, then (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raster44, kyril

          Although a caveat is in order: European criminalistics is rather different because it's conceived as an integral science of criminal investigation, which includes technical criminalistics (forensics), criminalist tactics (operative acts, crime scene processing, interrogation, versions, and so on), methodics (special chaacterists of certain types of criminal acts), and theoretical criminalistics (theory and the process of gnosis).

          So it's not just CSI and forensics.

          Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

          by Dauphin on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:35:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  but it does matter (15+ / 0-)

      because (a) we are highly visible here (b) you never when someone either stumbles upon us or comes here because they have heard about the site, and what they encounter has the potential to have a real impact upon their outlook

      if you don't think what happens here matters to some degree, why waste time coming here?

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:07:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (16+ / 0-)

        we've gotten increasingly "disconnected."  I know that's a big generalization. I'm not sure I can make myself clear, but I'll try.

        I came here originally to elect democrats (2006) and stayed to get informed about issues (health care, education, Iraq) because it was "easier" to pick up the information here than it was to go off and do research all on my own.  Those are good things and that's why I stay.

        Now, I think that over the last two months or so, the candidate diaries have (1) sucked increasing energy out of the site and into themselves and (2) become increasingly disconnected from the "real world" stuff that's happening on the ground and affecting people's lives.

        I can't quite imagine what the uninitiated might think stumbling into a candidate diary or twelve (because one is never enough).  If we let a minority set the tone of the site, though, we might as well not bother.

        My comment, indeed, is a bit facile.  But it really expresses frustration with "progressives."  It seems so easy for us to get caught in meta and to lose sight of what's really happening in people's lives.  These candidate diaries, I know they are well intentioned, I know it matters deeply to some people, but I just can't take them seriously because they are off in their own realm.  I've got to pay the rent next week . . . and blaming Hillary for racist statements or Obama for sexist statements does nothing productive (so I call it play).

        Not a good explanation and hardly a justification.  Maybe it does matter.

        "Just for the record: you were right, I'm an idiot, and God bless you." -- Xander, BTVS

        by prodigal on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:25:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The front page of Yahoo News... (7+ / 0-)

      has the story which began here last week.

      We fuel the fire here, and the fire gets going.

      If we had dropped it here last week, it never would have gotten going.

      The innuendo about Obama's drug use is appalling, as is the deliberate misreading of Clinton's MLK remarks to somehow paint her as a racist.

      If this continues, the Democrats will SURELY lose in November, and we'll have these early primaries to blame it on.

      Why?

      Young Democrats and liberals are now considering Hillary may be racist. Not good for voter turnout. she'll be damaged on the left the same way Kerry was long before the general election began. Her own campaign is turning us off bigtime by referring to Obama's drug use, and by raising the fear specter of terrorism. Not good. Not good for voter turnout at all.

      Meanwhile, much of what's coming out of Obama's camp is patent distortion of Hillary's comments to make her seem like a racist. This may draw people against Hillary in the primaries, but it sure is not going to work to bring independent voters over to Obama's side in the election.

      Look at these people! They suck each other! They eat each other's saliva and dirt! -- Tsonga people of southern Africa on Europeans kissing.

      by upstate NY on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:13:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes absolutely, upstate ny (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raster44, kyril, little liberal

        The series of stories and counterstories which have the approval of the campaigns and are being flung back and forth have to be stopped BY THEM now.

        WE need to see "We are not approving of these messages". We are getting the candidates themselves delivering the injurious and misleading statements to each other. All 3 of them,regrettably. And the trad media is gleefully, happily playing it up for maximum hurtfulness. From Chris Matthews on down the whole sordid miserable list of whiners and slimers at the networks.

         Those of us at Kos who don't want this have our hands full combatting all those junior pundits and wannabees with no sense of proportion or who have no real care how their invective or insults will be perceived and used.

        You looking for some respect from me? What have you done to make life around here for others a little better and earn your privileges?

        by Pete Rock on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:20:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're right, but somehow it does matter to me. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know why I should feel such disappointment, or why at my age and life experience I expected any different.

      I'll take a cue from Hillary, though, and say "But I'll try to go on". (rueful smile)

      We find that after years of struggle we do not take a journey, but rather a journey takes us. John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

      by tigerdog on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:49:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could hope that this message would (11+ / 0-)

    change people. But we need to clean up our act. We want our Congress people to listen to us.  Why would they? They see what is going on here. We want to be respected in blogland. Why would anyone look at us with that respect, anymore. I belong to a progressive group. Many of them are older. Two of them told me they don't blog here because of the primary wars. But most of all, lets not turn away the Dems. of the future. Dispite what you may think,we need them. Someday we all will be older than dirt and will want someone fighting for our children and grandkids.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:34:23 AM PST

  •  This, of course, is one of the big problems... (9+ / 0-)

    ...of American democracy: no matter what ends up happening, children end up getting overlooked at best and cheated more commonly.

  •  You're pissing in the wind here, ken (9+ / 0-)

    They're not going to stop.  It doesn't matter to them that they make all of us look bad.

    If there are any young lurkers out there (or even older lurkers) paying attention to the diaries, I think the last few months will have pushed many of them away from becoming involved in the progressive movement (if an actual movement there be, I'm not sure anymore).

  •  I agree, there needs to be some standard (8+ / 0-)

    who in the hell has time to read through subjective stuff? I want to know who to vote for and why without listening to 'candidate x kissed my baby, therefore...'

    This is the reason why I am here in the first place- its to make sense of all this junk that the MSM doesn't want to.

    Besides, there is a moratorium on this anyway if you remember, read my tagline.

    Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

    by borkitekt on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:49:31 AM PST

    •  I also agree (0+ / 0-)

      People should only get to post what the Post Police authorize.

      All posts should be filtered and censored for poor material (to be defined later, by someone else)

      Then finally, this website will have Appropriate Material only.

      Good idea, borkitekt!

      •  thanks:) (0+ / 0-)

        It's nice to know you understand that though many of us have a job, and while struggling to make ends meet, we don't have 8 hrs a day to follow every little thing.

        Some of us need some sort of clarity to get the info we need to make the best choices we can. At present, quite a bit of it is meaningless and manipulative.

        So yes, at least a better form of organizing diaries would be nice.

        Besides,we do have some semblance of rules and conduct, if you in your 2ish years here haven't yet read what are called "The Rules" in the "FAQ" maybe you should check them out, 26 of them.

        Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

        by borkitekt on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:02:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I gotta get outta this place (4+ / 0-)

    The site has been overrun by Obamaphiles and Edwardsists.  Any message that doesn't automatically praise either one of these two is piled on and drowned out.  
    Now, I understand that the primary season is like this but I'm not learning anything new and to be honest, I just don't feel like fighting the popular clique.  I stopped doing that in High School.
    This has been a great disappointment to me.  The Kossacks that I thought were such smart, critical thinkers turned out not to be.  
    What a waste.

    -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 03:56:52 AM PST

  •  There is one way to stop it. (6+ / 0-)

    Boycott those diarys. If people don't get the attention they seek, they will find other things to post on.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:07:59 AM PST

    •  We are easily goaded into the angry diaries (7+ / 0-)

      Or it's like the rubber-necking affect.  Though people don't need to rec them.  But I think there's a knee-jerk reaction, when one sees an inflammatory diary title aginst one's preferred candidate, it's hard not to look.  I HAVE finally stopped doing this because I realized nothing new is really being said and it just gets my blood pressure up.

      I guess there are enough people who can't get perspective, tear themselves away for awhile, and stop this crap.

      It's very frustrating to me and I worry what the affect will be on our chances for taking the WH.

      Ignore the candidate flame diaries!!!!!

      •  So, consider it a character-building exercise (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chockfull, LynneK, kyril, little liberal

        The reality is that bickering on a blog doesn't do a thing for our candidates (other than possibly drive off undecideds, as the diary suggests!) all it does is raise our individual blood pressure, arguing with people who would probably be a lot more civil and likeable in person.

        "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

        by sarac on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:33:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynneK, kyril

      we need to be much more proactive. i.e. rec non candidate diaries a lot more and call authors and commenters on quality control issues:

      Lack of content
      unsupported statements
      stating scenarios as actual when they are just wishful thinking etc., etc.

      By using the QC angle we can avoid getting sucked into the pseudo deabates.

      This is not going to go away and the candidate wars are now not only driving everything else off the rec but are infecting non candidate diary.

      An biological analogy would be that of the invading species. The invading species win out because the have no predators in the ecosystem. We have to become predatory if we are to get our old Dkos with the old standards back. A passive approach will not work.

      Noone ever gives up power willingly.

      The end game is the presidency not the nomination

      by stevej on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:38:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't have to be a child (9+ / 0-)

    to be appalled by the ugliness. I hop like a frog from one non candidate diary lilly pad to another but sometimes I fall into the polluted water.

    However, being cursed with a good memory (perhaps unlike those new to the process)I remember the severe ugliness of the 04 season as well. The alternative would seem to be going back to pre 72 methods of choosing candidates where the ugliness is obscured in the "smoke filled rooms" of machine politicians, dynastic families and regional populist champions.

    16 is old enough to see the truth. 16 is a harsh age to learn cynicism or skepticism, but it has to be done someday.

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 04:13:22 AM PST

  •  I know have been participating less (13+ / 0-)

    I haven't time for nastiness.  And when I say something that's merely an opinion, the next thing I know I get attacked.  Fortunately, on several occasions I was able to bring the tone down by responding in a calm tone a making it more a conversation.

    People need to chill out a bit.  And ken, you are right.  Children are watching.  And so is the press.

  •  Respect.. (0+ / 0-)

    To you for being a teacher but you are an Obama supporter and this sounds like your "concern" needs to be heard...

  •  Hey, it's politics. (0+ / 0-)

    And if you think it's "ugly" now, just wait.

  •  For years, it has been tough (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, 4jkb4ia, ladybug53, ER Doc, LynneK, kyril

    for children to find good models of citizenship. So, it's not surprising that many internet authors take an unrestrained approach toward public communications.  But, generation after generation, adults fail to recognize that telling young people to do as we say, not as we do, doesn't work.  Good citizens don't grow on trees.  We shape them ourselves, parents and internet 'neighbors' alike, in our own image.

    Speak the truth, but ride a fast horse.

    by Deep Harm on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 05:40:30 AM PST

  •  Parental Advisory: Political Content (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nanobubble

    Hmmm...

    I've heard this somewhere before...

    Limit your speech, you know, for the kids.

    No, I didn't like it when Tipper Gore did it, or Lieberman, I don't think appeals to save the children by censoring ourselves are especially persuasive.

    It's a rough time for Democratic Party. That's just the way it goes and will go.

  •  thanks for the diary TeacherKen... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, LynneK, ClapClapSnap, kyril

    I am sickened, truly by the crap going on lately.  I have to limit my own viewing and participation.  We are doing all the Repubs homework for them essentially.  By what is going on back & forth between HRC & O, it makes it easier to say, "See everybody let's go with the sure thing, the safe white man vote."

  •  My daughter says students at her high school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, nanobubble

    hate Bush.  She said that the kids that still favor him keep quiet.  What a breath of fresh air in our Northern Virginia that's finally turning blue...  

    But, I concur with teacherken.  My husband and I disagree on politics and have had quite a few tense discussions about the Bush administration tactics -- which my teenager has witnessed.  As a result, my daughter says she hates politics.

    So, although I still read my blogs, email meaningful newsstories to my friends and to the uninformed, and I plan to work at the poll on election days, I did not renew my membership with the local Democratic Committee this year.  And -- I'm keeping my political discussions with husband to a minimum.

  •  Hi Ken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ladybug53

    I've kind of been laying low on the Internets for a bit while I get some work done. But this post took be back to my own time in the classroom.  

    I taught in a trade school during the '88 cycle.  And I remember my kids, who were mostly boys who were poor and not white, supporting Bush in major numbers. "He'll keep us strong."  Jesse had some support, in large part because Black culture set a lot of the tones in the school and he was the only candidate who could really talk about Kool Moe Dee. Nothin' for the Duke. The kids are listening, and they're much better at picking up the dog whistles than we might think.

    Happy New Year, I hope you are well.

  •  Proofreader's nitpick:"defeat" should be "defend" (0+ / 0-)

    Few of my students are willing to defeat defend Bush or any of the Republican candidates, even those who self-identify as Republicans or Conservatives.

    Thanks, teacherken, for a great diary.

    The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “kids for kids”): is a world cultural treasure.

    by lotlizard on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:23:01 AM PST

  •  Middle, high school are kind, gentle places? (4+ / 0-)

    Unless one is home schooled, middle and high school are tough places for kids.  I dare say there isnt one of us on this diary who personally hasn't experienced a Hobbesian time (or two...) while in school.

    My kids -- and others liberals I know -- were taunted for being un-American because they didn't go to church.  My kids experienced our lawns signs for Gore and Kerry be ripped and ripped apart in our front lawns.  They've seen our Anti-Bush bumper stickers ripped from our cars.  And being in KS and loving science, you can only imagine what they endured with the whole Kansas-Creationism curriculum debacle.

    Unfortunately, middle and high school daily life has been more brutal than anything they read on DKos. My kids couldnt help but be impacted about opinions and politics -- they know all too well how rough and tumble it truly is.  

    My wife and I want them involved, and that means letting them know exactly what it is all about and that doesn't mean raising bubble-kids when it comes to politics.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -- Mark Twain.

    by dcrolg on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:26:42 AM PST

    •  Kudos for (0+ / 0-)

      not moving. I sure would've gotten out of that black hole!

      •  Thx -- the job is good, housing very affordable (0+ / 0-)

        and despite the other kids, the schools are quite good.  Besides, the traffic's not half bad -- it takes about a 1/2 hr to get anywhere -- not that there's anywhere to go, to do or see, but if there was, it would only take a 1/2 hour.

        Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -- Mark Twain.

        by dcrolg on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:06:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fine, then tell the Obama supporters here to... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ThirstyGator

    quit playing the race card but accusing Clinton and Clinton supporters of racism.

    Objecting to such salacious conduct is not racist nor does it rise to the level of their obnoxious behavior.

    I'm not a Clinton supporter, but I have little doubt that if John Edwards (whom I do support with my very small contribution) were in Clinton's place, we'd being here more of the same nonsense about racist trial attorneys.

    Ask not upon whom the wheels of the bus go round and round; they go round and round on thee. - Not John Donne

    by Superskepticalman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:31:08 AM PST

    •  I have, and have written several times (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Superskepticalman

      that it is ridiculous to accuse either Clinton of being racist, just as it is ridiculous to accuse either Obama or Edwards of being sexist.

      All the campaigns could use some muzzles on some of their supporters.   My words are NOT directed at the supporters of any one campaign.

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:37:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, but it'll take Marcos to do it here... (0+ / 0-)

        None of the rest of us have the authority except to walk away from DKos.

        Ask not upon whom the wheels of the bus go round and round; they go round and round on thee. - Not John Donne

        by Superskepticalman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 08:21:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that's quite what I meant (0+ / 0-)

          I was thinking more in terms of surrogates, whether jesse Jackson Jr., or Robert Johnson and Billy Shaheen. I wonder also at times about all 3 of the spouses.

          What happens here is up to each of us -  I do know that Kos made it clear they are watching the pavlovian recommending up of candidate diaries by supporters and may limit the recommending ability of some .. that is his choice and that of the administrators.  

          In the comment to which you were responding, I was talking mainly about surrogates and supporters other than at dailykos, and am sorry if I did not make that clear.  The diary is about our behavior here, which might account for the confusion

          Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

          by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 08:46:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looking to candidate surrogates is not viable... (0+ / 0-)

            Many of them are either facilitating the problem or are so co-opted by the problem as to be effectively silenced.

            Our DKos leadership/management is probably the most effective option now.

            Just my two-cents worth.

            Ask not upon whom the wheels of the bus go round and round; they go round and round on thee. - Not John Donne

            by Superskepticalman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:55:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Anti-Semite (0+ / 0-)

      If only iCandidate supporters weren't such rabid anti-semites they would realize how racist iCandidate supporters are

  •  It's not just kids (7+ / 0-)

    getting turned off. I'm sixty years old and I'm fatigued by the din. People get so invested in winning they forget about life itself, that huge and mysterious event in which all of us are immersed -- good guys and bad guys alike -- and which has the power to refresh if only we step back from our obsessions and let it in. Life. An amazing and generally overlooked fact. It deserves a headline or two. Political battles rage and subside. Nothing is as it seems, not the contenders, not the conditions they seek to control. Life quietly sustains, endures. It doesn't take sides. It's on everyone's side.

    "Your point. Their village." --Zhivago to Strelnikov

    by ailanthus on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:31:44 AM PST

  •  politics is, and has always been ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnacn4pz

    rough business.

    It has literally always been so - and I'm not sure it shouldn't be.  These people aren't running for hall monitor, they're running for the single most powerful position on earth.  I want them vetted, and I want a national discussion about each and every one of them.

    Yes, it will turn some people off.  It will energize others.

    It's time for a president to to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war -- John Edwards

    by ThirstyGator on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:36:26 AM PST

  •  Out of the Mouths of Babes (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe they see and say what we as adults are unable or unwilling to see or admit?  But we must remember that they are at a different stage of life with different priorities than those with more years.  It seems that peer approval and acceptance is of paramount importance to adolescents, while not necessarily the case for many adults. Cheers to you for helping expose your students to politics, but maybe, we can all now work at helping them understand perseverence, a quality all too lacking in adults, IMO, by explaining to them that life, like politics, will certainly have ugliness - and it is how and/or if we respond to it that really matters - name calling and/or walking away may not accomplish much . . . then again maybe it does, who really knows?  Ah, forget it, I give up.    

  •  That is why I do not visit the candidate threads (0+ / 0-)

    It makes me sick.

    I know we are not going to be all kumbaya or something, but this board has gotten over the top.

    Not to mention that nastiness is not a way to win people over to one's candidate!

    Tell your kids that many, many of us are refusing to participate in such nonsense, and as usual, the noisiest get too much attention.

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 06:47:44 AM PST

  •  Nice diary, but you have to go further (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, LynneK

    I just appealed to the candidates themselves to come back from the brink. They are right now setting a terrible example and making the hijinks around here sound almost normal. How dreadful is that?

    It has long term negative repercussions as you noticed.

    Right now the trad media is milking it and giving a boost indirectly to the flagging  decaying campaigns on the Repub side by contrast to the slime fight on this side.

     What utter nonesense using charges of racism or gender bashing/politics to edge up in the polls...among  otherwise reasonable candidates...They are smarter than that in the campaign messaging structure team...or are they?

    You looking for some respect from me? What have you done to make life around here for others a little better and earn your privileges?

    by Pete Rock on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:04:03 AM PST

    •  who needs Ann Coulter to pump up (0+ / 0-)

      trash dems factor when you can read Kos recommended list this primary season?

      Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU and Amnesty International http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org Your voice is needed!

      by tnichlsn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:41:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  PLEASE REMEMBER THE CHILDREN ARE BLOGGING! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deMemedeMedia

    Grow up, the whole lot of you, who are engaged in these slash and burn primary diaries and campaigning tactics. You are an embarrassment to the progressive cause not to mention democrats in general. It's one thing to act like spoiled children, calling names and throwing mud in the privacy of some backwater blog that no one on the national stage much notices. It's another when on this blog that regularly makes national news broadcasts and websites. GROW UP or SHUT UP!

    Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU and Amnesty International http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org Your voice is needed!

    by tnichlsn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:15:15 AM PST

  •  The children's song "Teaching Peace" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    by Red Grammer made me cry in the car this morning. My four-year-old got the CD for Christmas.

    CHORUS LYRICS: TEACHING PEACE
    Teaching peace all the world around
    You and me, every city, every town.
    One by one in our words and in our play
    We are teaching peace by what we do and what we say.

    The world is a harsh and difficult place and we see an extremely small fraction of that on dailykos, sometimes. In the scheme of things the nastiness of the candidate dairies seems unimportant, however, maybe everything matters. Peace begins with each individual being mindful of their thoughts,words and actions.
    I read Kos' wife's site Mothertalkers, and on it saw a review of this book: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life By Marshall B. Rosenberg, bought and read it. It is a fantastic book on communication.
    We forget that this is not an interactive short essay, but that in fact there are people sitting in front of all of these interconnected computers.
    Anyway, may the best candidate win and make the world a better place.

  •  Small typo (0+ / 0-)

    I think you mean "defend" in the first sentence of your second-to-last paragraph.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding us what's really important!

    During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by kyril on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:48:37 AM PST

  •  yeah I did, and several people pointed it out (0+ / 0-)

    but it is only now that I am on a computer (my own using a wireless card) where i can correct it

    Peace

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:57:01 AM PST

  •  Ahhh (0+ / 0-)

    But I love the smell of Democrats eating their own in the morning.

  •  And the world is watching as well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    So while we hold onto the last remnants of pride we have in our political system, with the hope of getting thing back on the right track. It is important to remember that this is the internet, and the way in which we conduct ourselves, the tactics and methods we use to campaign and conduct policy making, are being put before the world. The more we go for the outlandish hit jobs, the more we violate the laws of reason to help or hurt the people and ideas taht we support, the more likely that our system, in whole, will be diminished, if not rejected, by those outside of our borders.

    Thanks again Ken for the reminder. Words truly do have meaning and consequence.

  •  I wish I could recommend this 100 times (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jakarta, ladybug53

    and every day for the next few weeks...

    I have three kids voting in their first presidential election.  I wish I could feel more comfortable suggesting they come here to read and discuss.  I'm frankly a bit afraid to.  They're so passionately liberal minded, so excited to register to vote, and so sure that whomever wins on our side will be a million times better than what we have now.  Their optimism gives me hope I hate to see dampened by some of the ugliness of these candidate diary comments and so on.

  •  My son (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    autoegocrat, truthvsbush, ladybug53, Sanuk

    He will be 18 this spring and vote for the first time. Until he saw Michael Moore's movie Sicko, he had no motivation to become involved at all. Now he is ready. However, I would NEVER send him to this site. At one time, yes, this would have been a great place for him to learn. But now..its horrible. I am an Obama supporter but I don't want to be lumped in some of the folks on this site.

    Oddly enough, I have friends here in Florida who support Obama and Edwards and while some of them don't care for Hillary only one of the dozens I know wouldn't vote for her..and I imagine in the end he will. We have three candidates, every single one of them better than any of the Republican candidates and we tear them apart. I don't want my son to see this.

    A democracy isn't about always getting your way, exactly what you want. You aren't supposed to start pouting, take your cookies, and go home. You are supposed to understand that in a democracy, the system favors the person who wins, the one who gets the most votes. I want my person to win but I am not going to sob and cry and pout if he doesn't. I am going to get back out there and fight to take back our country.

    I hope my son is a bit more mature than some of you on DKos. Of course, many of you don't care. You are so incensed with anger and hatred that you really don't care what anyone says to you. I would guess that the anonymity is what helps this grow. I also wonder how many supporters of any candidate here are being paid for posting here...

  •  thank you for this post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    Teacherken, you have long been a passionate yet measured contributer on this forum, and your words carry more weight with me than the average poster's words do.

    I haven't felt energized enough to post this cycle.  It has become ugly and sad, and most of all, I don't feel comfortable referring friends and acquaintances here at this point.  I feel embarrassed.

    At the same time, I realize that there are limitations with this type of forum, and that there are corresponding reasons why the 'netroots' will struggle to evolve beyond having a substantial yet still niche role in our political machinery.

    Flame wars were the first thing I encountered when I started navigating the internet in 1990.  The anonymity will always allow people to say things which they would not have the courage to do in a person-to-person forum.  

    I am involved in a couple of widespread non-profit organizations, and from time to time things get churned up in email or discussion boards.  I observe that our organizations rarely solve arguments/disagreements through further electronic correspondence.  Real phone calls and in-person meetings are needed in our circles if we want to get past ugly arguments.  

    So, yes, let's try to have as much civility as possible.  But let's also realize that this type of communication forum does lend itself even more readily to rancor, subterfuge, infiltration, giving an equal voice to the mentally disturbed, letting a small number of people torpedo the desires of the many.  Let's continue to encourage better behavior, but let's not get too upset and believe that this is reflective of dailykos or the netroots as a whole, rather it is symptomatic of this limited communcation medium.

    despair is the worst sin

    by jakarta on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 08:31:14 AM PST

  •  I want to add.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ladybug53, Sanuk

    Nothing wrong with intelligent discourse. Nothing wrong with talking about the issues or why you like or dislike a candidate. Its the name calling, the hatred, the taking the talking points of the pundits and making them a huge issues, the threats of not voting, of tossing the system because it didn't work for YOUR candidate that bugs me.

  •  Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    Thanks TeacherKen

    I admire many of your diaries, but this one hits a nerve. I couldn't agree more... except to say that it's not just the kids, the virulent diatribes turn off many adults too. Well, at least me. Not in the sense of turning me off from voting, but certainly turning me off from spending time here, or reading much of the discourse. Why do people think they have to support their own candidates by making ridiculous charges about the others?

    But some people will get turned off from participating in politics, even voting. Growing up, my parents often didn't vote, claiming "all politicians are crooks." (to be fair, I think this began after Nixon was re-elected, so there was some rational logic at work!). My answer was: some crooks are worse than others.

    As for me, my "ideal candidate" (ie, agreeing with me on all positions) would probably win about 3% of the National vote. So instead, I concentrate on what good I think our candidates will do if elected (10% of what I want? 20%? 50%?). I see potential for huge improvements if any of our candidates get elected - just some more than others.

    Thanks all, peace.

  •  Objectivity, balance, and at Least a Small (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denig, ladybug53

    Dose of skepticism toward all candidates’ campaign rhetoric would be the better part of wisdom, IMHO.  I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past by an elected official's unfilled and/or "forgotten" campaign promises.  I haven’t made up my mind yet on who I’ll vote for.  I’ll do the best I can to compare the Candidates’ Positions; I’ll continue to watch how they behave during the stressful months of campaigning—watching them for "grace under fire", something a President darn well better have.  

    One thing I won’t be influenced by is the people who have prematurely fallen in love with any particular candidate to the point that they won’t admit to any flaws in their beloved, and who won’t acknowledge any redeeming qualities in other candidates. They are simply too besotted to be objective any longer.  Bush's core group of groupies still love him, willfully blinded to the horrors the rest of us can see--IMHO, there should be a lesson somewhere in there for us all.  

    •  rec'd for this bit of brilliance! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious

      Bush's core group of groupies still love him, willfully blinded to the horrors the rest of us can see--IMHO, there should be a lesson somewhere in there for us all.  

      Something reaks about the unhinged attacks on Democratic candidates. Especially the one's that claim, any one of the top 3 candidates, is not light years beyond any Republican candidate.  

      "Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament" elderly Irish female taxi driver

      by denig on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:23:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Polical reality or (0+ / 0-)

    any reality is made as it occurs. It is created by the participants, which in a democracy include the citizens. Vetted is becoming a word that is nothing more then nasty politics, politics which focus solely on personality and the insane concept of electability. Meanwhile we are not taking our party back at a time when the country and the world at large needs desperately to have a real dialog about where and how we are going to restore the most basic rights of our citizens  and the foundations of our systems.

    Why is this debate not about Democratic values and who can best move this damaged ship of state out of this so called reality? Instead of fishing the murky waters of the Republican's faux reality let's offer something that people not only want but need, a reality that is defined by principles of decency and common good. Oddly that is what will win if offered.  

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:00:32 AM PST

  •  Thanks teacherken for this advisory. I want to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    thank you in the spirit of my High School History teacher. She was the first adult in my life to spark my interest in politics.
    After class one day, she told a small group of us that she had to teach us the names, dates and places of History so we could pass the state exams. What she really wanted us to remember from her class however, was the why of history and the lessons of history so that we might not be doomed to repeat the same mistakes and have some idea of what has worked and what hasn't.
    I think you share her spirit, so thanks again on behalf of your current students who won't appreciate what you've given them till much later in their lives.

    I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Democrat. -Will Rogers

    by geez53 on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:03:34 AM PST

  •  Dear Watching Children (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShempLugosi

    You're on your own!

    Nobody is here to help you.

    Democracy demands participation.

    Presume individuality, obtain the things in life you need to survive, and go from there.

    Majoring in psychology or english is a big mistake!

    Grades only matter until you can prove you aren't a douchebag. Corporations call this "experience."

    Politics is a consolidated representation of society, and as you can tell, society is much older than you.

    Isn't it ironic that people want to help others even though if we can't organize into a unified government with a unified mission of getting off the planet, we're all dead anyway, if we even last that long?

    If Faction-A and Faction-B have mutual hatred for each other, chances are, you can find assholes in both camps.

    You're only religious because your parents are. Think for yourself, eh?

    Good luck.

  •  expand the electorate! (0+ / 0-)

    for the sake of the children!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 09:15:27 AM PST

  •  The perils of overinterpretation (0+ / 0-)

    are what I mostly see. Words and phrases, glances and even non-glances being squeezed for meaning and interpreted to death. Anger and harsh words flying on the slightest of pretexts.

    And not just here; there are elements of this counterproductive habit giong on in the media too, so Daily Kos is not an exception in all this.

    But I find it very sad that plain meaning can get lost in the frenzy for partisan point scoring.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 08:39:00 PM PST

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