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This primary and this election are not about "the heart and soul of the Democratic Party".  It is about the heart and soul of America, and the future of the progressive movement.

If you like torture, keep fighting against your fellow Democrats.  

If you like incompetent government, keep fighting against the candidates that you haven't embraced.

If you want to fuck over your fellow Americans as much as possible, keep fighting against our best chance at actually turning the wheel on this ship.

***

Some of us would like to think that the progressive movement, and our little website here, is much bigger than it really is, but I have no illusions.  I live in the middle of one of the reddest cities in one of the reddest states, so I can confidently tell you that we haven't gotten our message out, and getting your message out is the only way to build the tide of public outrage that so many of us crave.  Of the few people in my city who know what Daily Kos is, most probably think it's a joke.  It isn't that there aren't progressives here - I'm willing to bet most of my college professors could be considered Kossack-like progressives - but that they don't know this place exists and aren't connected to a worldwide network of progressives as Kossacks are.  How do you build a movement when you don't have a solid base?  How do you claim that your views should dominate a national party (one of only two options, I might add) when huge sections of the country barely even know you exist?  

Don't get me wrong, Daily Kos is a valuable tool for progressives (or it was, before the fucking primary wars).  Here, we have information, a shared vision, and a place to relax and heal from the wounds of daily battle.  Or had, I should say.  But I guess some people think we are a lot more than we really are.  You know what we call those people in real life?  Prima donnas.  But no one likes a person who thinks they're more important than they really are, and uses that delusion to justify throwing fits or commandeering a group that is much bigger than they are.

When we claim that we're doing this because we somehow deserve to be the ones who decide what the Democratic Party looks like even though the Democratic Party consists of a lot more people than just Kossacks, we're being prima donnas.  It's not that I don't want the party to look like us; it's that a couple thousand people does not a movement make, and that we all need to do a hell of a lot more work before we can truly say that we should have such a huge stake in a national party.  Until that time comes - until there are enough of us to truly make a difference - let's stop pretending that we're anything more than some people on a website who talk about politics, laugh and cry together a little, and are effecting change mostly on a very small scale.  

If we really want to make a difference, if we really want change, the first thing we have to do is simply elect a Democrat this year.  Yes, any Democrat, because Clinton, Obama, and Edwards would all be better than a Republican; because any one of them would stop the torture, stop the incompetence, and do their best to move us in a better direction.  None of them will make things perfect and utopian, but they'll at least get us headed in the right direction.  Do you really think that a Republican can be trusted to do the same?

And after the election, we can't sit on our laurels and depend on the sainted candidate to fix everything, as so many here seem ready to do.  We have to take it upon ourselves to talk to our fellow countrymen, rather than sneering at them, and convince them that the progressive movement is in their favor and interested in embracing them.  We have to make each person feel important and empowered; we have to talk to them on their level, hear their concerns, and inspire them.  We have to really build a movement, not just sit here typing nasty words at each other and the rest of the world because we didn't get what we want.  We have to grow up and start building institutions and networks that will help people, that will show them that we care about them more than we care about power or our own egos.  We have to remind ourselves why we are progressives and show that to the world, unswervingly and without foot-stamping.  We have to practice what we preach, and follow in the footsteps of amazing leaders like Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than mope and lash out.

But we haven't done that yet.  Right now, the best we can do is make sure that we actually have a candidate who will be on our side.  Maybe (probably) s/he won't be able to check everything off our lists, but they'll certainly do more than a Republican would.  Even a Democrat will have a lot of major battles to wage, but at least a Democrat will attempt to.  Seeing another Republican elected - no matter which Republican - will only add more to those lists, and you're lying to yourself if you don't think that's true.  

But electing another Democrat at least gives us the possibility of accomplishing something, and of providing ourselves with the much-needed sustenance of hope.  I don't know about you, but I don't know how much longer I can go on without any light at the end of this goddamned tunnel, let alone if I can manage to actually try to build a movement in the wake of another defeat like 2004.  If America is still torturing people, if we're still bombarded everyday with news about our incompetent government being run by predatory appointed officials, still watching the little people be crushed and/or being crushed ourselves by comfy, laughing aristocrats - who give away rights and contracts like they're peanut brittle and think we deserve it simply because we aren't one of them - for the next 4 years, I don't think I'll be able to tell myself anymore that I should even care.  And I certainly won't think that the progressive movement is a viable alternative if it can't pull its head out of its ass and support the party that will actually try to make this country better again.

We haven't figured out yet how to effectively amplify our message, so that our current claims to greatness are merely echoing back to us in a pathetic display of chest puffing.  But I believe that we can one day lay claim to the heart of the Democratic Party, that we can nourish this movement into an effective tool for the betterment of our country.  We just haven't gotten there yet.  In the meantime, we need to elect a Democrat.  Period.

Oh, I know, so many of you will say that we really are that important right now, that we already work in our communities and inspire people, or that such-and-such candidate is not really going to make things better.  But those of us who are staying out of these ridiculous primary wars know the truth: this election is not about the Democratic Party, it's about our country, and our country is going to be fucked if it has to endure four more years of Republicanism.  

Originally posted to tryptamine on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 01:41 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Don't feel like I need to stick around (20+ / 0-)

    for the inevitable flamewar that's about to ensue...

    "If life has no purpose, if it's been given us for its own sake, we have no reason for living." -Tolstoy

    by tryptamine on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 01:41:59 PM PST

  •  rec'd (6+ / 0-)

    for busting egos and speaking the truth.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society -Mark Twain

    by gooners on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 01:45:37 PM PST

  •  Good reminder. Thank you. (5+ / 0-)

    Tip'd and Rec'd.

    For a brief reminder of what we're fighting against, check out the diary GOP List of Corruption Update: Primary Edition by CaptStumpy. It's not getting enough input.

    There's a comment in there by JackDawkins, and my response, that gives us a new frame for the GOP claims of being the "Family Values" party: they don't mean everyday average American family values. They're not interested in that.

    No, the "family values" that the GOP entails are pretty different, and very recognizable as belonging to the families of Manson and Capone.

    Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
      Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
    Tempest even in reason's seat.

    by GreyHawk on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 01:59:19 PM PST

  •  You raise very good points. (0+ / 0-)

    We need to remember in the midst of all the primary fighting that we are all Democrats, and we have more in common than we have differences.

    The thing to remember with Markos and Daily Kos is that both are in a bit of a quandry right now.  Markos and Daily Kos were integral to Howard Dean's rise in 2004, and the whole netroots movement - with Markos its defacto figurehead - was born of that.  When Dean imploded, it was an unfortunate setback to Markos, Daily Kos, and the netroots.  The 2006 Congressional elections were a chance at redemption, but any lift from Daily Kos/Netroots/Markos involvement in this win was soon overshadowed by how ineffectually the Dems turned out to be.

    2008 is pretty much do or die for Markos, Daily Kos, and the netroots.  We can't throw in with Hillary or Edwards because of all the bad blood between Markos and Terry McAuliffe/the DLC.  Those bridges have been burned.  That leaves us just Obama, and on Obama rests our one hope of keeping some relevance.  Should Hillary/the DLC win the nomination, Howard Dean will be out of power in a flash, and with him, Markos, Kos, and the netroots.

    Sure, we all want to defeat the Republicans in 2008.  We must defeat them - for the soul of our country.  But we also must defeat Hillary in order to keep Markos, Daily Kos, and the netroots relevant.  With Barack Obama, I believe we can do both.

    •  You don't seem to have (8+ / 0-)

      actually read the diary.

      "If life has no purpose, if it's been given us for its own sake, we have no reason for living." -Tolstoy

      by tryptamine on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 03:10:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  lol! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine

        great diary which everyone should read.

        unfortunately, t seems too many here are so locked into the primary wars that they see everything through that lens.

        In honor of the mariachi mama candidate bashing moratorium, ignore all rabid candidate supporters. Let's take back dKos!

        by Runs With Scissors on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 03:18:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  With this... (4+ / 0-)

      We need to remember in the midst of all the primary fighting that we are all Democrats, and we have more in common than we have differences.

      should HRC win the nomination, all the other stuff you bring up will go onto the backburner.

      That's more important than egos.

      And frankly, I'm not sure your doom scenario will play out that way.

      First, the DNC chair is traditionally a one time deal. Dean's term will be up after the 2008 election regardless of who wins.

      Next, don't forget that she's the one who stood up to BillO' re: DKos when we were getting hit with his crap just before YearlyKos.

      I've joined the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium! Our troops need a break. Give Bush back his baseball team!

      by kredwyn on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 03:10:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not a democrat! (4+ / 0-)

      Ok... actually, I did register as a Dem last week so that I could vote in the California primary, but I will re-register as an independent as soon as the election is done, I promise.

      I suspect I have lots in common with many of those who comment here... not as zealous as some, but the reason that I recommended this diary is the eloquence of the finish:

      ...this election is not about the Democratic Party, it's about our country, and our country is going to be fucked if it has to endure four more years of Republicanism.  

      I don't care about the Dems... I care about the country.  

      The Reps on the national stage have shown themselves to be mostly gutless, opportunistic, hypocritical fascists - and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  I enjoy chatting with you all, and I share your goals of getting the country back on the rails again... but it isn't because I love the Dems... it's because I hate the Reps.

      I am one of your local representatives of the fluid center.  Damn straight I'm in your camp right now, we gotta hang together 'cause we are in the shit.  Soon, I expect you will forget that this was a marriage of convenience... you will begin to take me for granted and try to assert that the Dems "have a mandate" for doing all manner of screwy things (like the Reps did since 1994)... and I'll be gone as quick as I came, jumping toward any candidate of either team who comes near the center.

      I favor the rule of law, not the dominance of any party or ideology.  The longer whoever we elect remembers that, the longer I will be among you trying to collaborate and explore solutions to our common problems.

  •  Here here! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, Runs With Scissors

    There is a country beyond these Orange Padded Walls (copyright, some other Kossack -- can't remember who). That's the country that will elect the next President.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 08:37:22 PM PST

  •  hear hear for a little perspective (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, Ericwmr

    There's a lot of work to do

    after the election, we can't sit on our laurels and depend on the sainted candidate to fix everything

    Getting a workable president is only one step on a long walk. There is no silver bullet.

  •  Will the wounds heal? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keymom

    Some will.  Some won't.  

    For those like me who suffered deeply during the last two presidential cycles working hard for limited candidates (Gore is a better person now than he was then and Kerry and his wife make me angry thinking about them), it is going to be very difficult.  We can talk all we want about how weak their field is but it could hardly be weaker than it was in the last two cycles. Nor can we ignore how badly our Congressional leadership has dealt with the idiot/crook now in power.

    So, as we think about having to rally round someone who is going to win our nomination who we don't like very much, just because we're Democrats, it is deeply depressing.

    For decades I have contributed to Democrats and raised a fair amount of money for Democrats.  This cycle I stopped giving to the DSCC and the DCCC because the money those committees raised, further empowered the leadership that has disappointed me so badly in the last two years (in addition to Iraq, as if that was not enough, Chuck Schumer's unwillingness to deal with the hedge fund manager's tax breaks put me over the edge). I have stopped giving to my state party because it is also shilling for views that are not mine.

    For awhile I was encouraged that Edwards had a slim chance but that, if he faltered, Obama would be someone I could support. That's still true, but the Clinton machine, having barely avoided disastor in NH will run the table if it can squeeze Edwards out of the race -- which, with the help of the media and the Obama people, may happen in reality if not in fact.

    So now I face the prospect of Hillary as "our" candidate. Sorry, but I can't stand it.

    The path to power in the United States of American cannot be through birth or marriage. But for her "experience" as First Lady, she would not be considered for the job. Her leg up is, in my view, a disqualifying limitation.

    And that is before we consider the other factors like the amount of money she has raised from the worst interest groups in America, her cozy relationships with lobbiests and other influence peddlers, her history in Arkansas trading on her relationship with her husband who was governor by the clients she undertook to represent, her service on WalMart's Board of Directors and her support for Kyl/Leiberman.

    And finally, I believe that the common threads of our most serious problems are oil and the power of international conglomerates who have no allegiance to any of the social progress achieved in our Nation in the last 100 years. It entangles us in wars and unforgivable shifting alliances in the Middle East, enriches potentates who wish us dead,  is killing our planet and destroying our economy. Bill Clinton allowed the mergers of Exxon and Mobil and BP and Amoco.  Doing so, he quietly put back together that which Teddy Roosevelt spent much of his career breaking up. His support for "free" trade which allows the conglomerates to slip away from 100 years of social and environmental progress shifted the balance in favor of corporate power.

    Lets face it. When Clinton and the Republicans joined together to end welfare for the poor, a bipartisan alliance allowed it to happen. Welfare for the rich achieved no such bipartisan end as it flourishes stronger today than it did then.

    So, if Hillary is our nominee, and I now think she will be, the wounds of the primary wars will not heal for me. You can tell me all you want about how she will be better than the Republicans da de da de da, but I thought I was in the Democratic Party rather than the Clinton Party. Sorry to add spoilation to the warm fuzzies.

    •  Oh, poor you. (0+ / 0-)

      You suffered because you gave them money and they didn't win.  

      Big deal.

      There are lots of people in this country who are drowning in debt, or just working but still not making it, who are suffering because of the policies of this administration, and I am way more concerned about their lives and basic standard of living than your wounded ego.

      Clinton may not make the perfect president, but neither would Obama or Edwards.  They will all make mistakes and do outright bad things like Bill Clinton (not Hillary, even though you seem to think she did while denying she did anything at the same time) but they will do fewer bad things and less worse ones than a Republican will.  Since we only have two parties in this country, the choice is really goddamn clear.  If you want to fuck over America, keep hating Hillary.

      "If life has no purpose, if it's been given us for its own sake, we have no reason for living." -Tolstoy

      by tryptamine on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 07:04:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am beginning to understand Nader (0+ / 0-)

        The gap between rich and poor in this country is a national disgrace as is the absence of a national health care system. From Reagan onward, the cost of government has steadily shifted to those least able to pay and the benefit to those least in need. Although I have in a narrow sense been the beneficiary of the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush era as my taxes have gone down, in a larger sense the country has gotten worse and that hurts me and my family more than the gain in a marginal tax rate.

        I don't regret giving money to worthy causes, even unsuccessful ones.  I do regret giving to unworthy ones. My ego is not involved here whatsoever.  I supported Bill Clinton each time he ran and have close friends who are quite involved in Hillary's campaign now. Of course, here, like most places, too many of the people who signed up for Hillary first are the ones who expect to feed at the trough of power, our local versions of the Washington influcence peddlers.

        My opposition to Hillary is not driven by hatred of any sort. I don't hate her in the slightest.  I don't have to hate someone to not want that person to be the leader of our country.

        My view that power should not be given based on birth or marriage is one that I am surprised is not shared by pretty much everyone.  It is, for me, a disqualifying item on her resume. So if I am alone on that issue so be it.

        There is an element of truth to your argument, of course.  It is hard to be worse than the Republicans.  Indeed, I could never vote for any of the bozos running for that nomination, the campaign for which looks like a skit on Saturday Nite Live.  What I would do in all likelihood is simply not participate if our Party nominates Hillary Clinton. I never understood Nader before.  I'm beginning to.  

  •  Maybe living in a red state has influenced you. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe you are so desperate, you are willing to compromise, well, anything.  Maybe you are so desperate that you're the one who has lost perspective.   As this party has moved more and more to the right, it has left many of us behind.  

    You can be grateful for "any" D if you want, but please don't lecture others who don't share you view about party loyalty.  Loyalty is a two way street.  In order for me to be loyal to Democrats, Democrats must be loyal to me - not Republicans.

    As far as dkos goes, it never had and still doesn't have any clout.  The candidate wars haven't changed a thing.  

    •  It's not about fucking "party loyalty". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ericwmr

      Apparently you didn't read the diary either.  It's about not having our country fucked over even worse for the next 4 years.  

      Living in a red state has made me desperate?  No, living in this fucking country under Bush has made me desperate.  There are some things that Bill Clinton did wrong, but at least I had a reason to have hope when he was president.  Bush's presidency has been one bootprint on my forehead after another.  

      Meanwhile, people like you who insist on some absurd idea of purity are fucking me over as well.  I'm not interested in a movement that will throw me (and everyone I know) under the bus to get into power.  If I was, I would be a fucking Republican.  

      "If life has no purpose, if it's been given us for its own sake, we have no reason for living." -Tolstoy

      by tryptamine on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 06:56:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wish this could be FP'd for the rest of primaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, Man in the Middle

    Seriously, thank you for reminding many of us (myself included as an offender) of the bigger picture, and of the Democratic party that exists beyond the blogosphere.  

    I've taken the bait of responding to ridiculous arguments and picked a few fights myself, always to eventually realize just how much sound and fury (not to mention time)has been wasted in preaching to the online chior, or simply arguing with those as solidly entrenched as myself.

    As someone not yet 30 years old, I've seriously started noticing a connection between blood-pressure spikes and the trips or battles inside candidate diaries.   As the wiser among us might say: that's probably a clue.

    As much as many of us argue and snipe amongst ourselves right now, most of us will (hopefully) be on the same end of the rope in due time.  Holding out for "all or nothing" is more likely to get nothing - even from our differering first-choice candidates.

    Thanks for the thorough and eloquent reality check.
    Meanwhile, I believe I'll start a 12 step program to combat the lure of candidate diaries.

    (Hi, my name is Eric, and I sometimes don't know when to shut up or let things slide.)

    •  then again, some individuals.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine

      Okay, weaning myself off at least..LOL.  Some individuals make things so particularly nasty and personal that it's more about shutting them up than pimping a candidate or spinning/despinning.

      Meanwhile, I am saving the text of this diary. Very admirable effort here, Tryp.

  •  Well, it's true. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine

    Thanks for bring up the mindset: "We have our Leeeeeader," and they will clean up this mess.

    This mess is bigger than one person. It will take more than that to clean it up.

    We must hang together. Or we will all hang separately.

    WereBear
    Reality always wins.
    the way of cats

    by WereBear on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 04:48:30 AM PST

  •  There are some values........ (0+ / 0-)

    that some of us are not willing to compromize.

    The Globalism/corporate/Friedman opression that reigns today, primarily from the Republican ideology but also inside the Democratic Party cannot be allowed to continue if our Constitutional Republic is to remain.

    That folks are ignorant of the issues, is not a reason for the ones that know the truth to STFU and let pretty speach continue to overwhelm us.

    I also live in a conservative area and probably hear much what you do. But ignorance is no excuse. It may be caused by gross neglect, but that doesn't have to remain, and it will not change untill it is called out and defeated.  

    •  Hey, guess what. (0+ / 0-)

      There are some values that some of us aren't willing to compromise either.  I'm not willing to let my country go to shit for some misguided crusade against the very people who can help us.

      I should also add that you don't seem to have read the entire diary either.  Please read the whole thing before you comment on it.

      "If life has no purpose, if it's been given us for its own sake, we have no reason for living." -Tolstoy

      by tryptamine on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 07:08:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any Democrat is better for Americans, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, Ericwmr

    How do you appeal to the undecided, unaligned, and disinterested voter?

    America is so polarized that there are few people that still have not decided on a political candidate.  These tend to be the least engaged, least informed citizens who often are so disenfranchised that they don't bother to vote or even register.

    How do you (or your political candidate) appeal to the undecided citizens that have the potential to determine the results of an election?

    If you want your comment to be more permanent, put it here on BigThink too:
    http://www.bigthink.com/...

    Please read my series on Labor, the GOP's #1 fear. Organized, we shall overcome!

    by try democracy on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 07:38:24 AM PST

    •  a few of many good questions we need to be asking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, try democracy

      I won't offer any specific ideas or views on the answers here, as I'd probably risk turning this into a candidate diary, but we do have to consider this issue to varying degrees, depending on who emverges as the nominee.

      The first, if obvious, idea would be to paint the GOP nominee as George W. Bush without mercy and with a little less regard for how accurate that might be.  Cynical and nasty perhaps, but they'll be playing similar games.  Given that, just keep grapping big steaming piles of Bush, fling it at the nominee, and see how much we can make stick between now and November.

      To the extent that we appeal to the majority dissatisfied with GWB and cronies, we win.  Whoever the GOP nominee is, we point out the specifics on just how little will change.  Chances are they'll nominate a more gifter orator this time (how could they not) but "same s--t, new wrapper" should be one unspoken guiding principle in approaching the enemy.

      ....Let's also not let our own primary get any nastier to the extent we could influence that.  A democratic party divided along racial, gender, class, and generational lines will result in almost certain failure.  No matter how justified our bleak attitudes on that may be, we need to remember that most of the party won't be as bitter over any eventual result as the community here.  That said, finding ANY angle to "begin the healing" here certainlty won't hurt.

      These are great questions you raise, but we can't stop there.  In all likelyhood, we'll soon be in the uncarted territory or running a black man or a woman as our nominee.  Regardless of the injustices and reasons, these details will present unique problems. Rather than simply railing against racism, sexism and those who recognize its existance in broader society, we need a climate where we can discuss these matters frankly, and ponder how to offset the damages or else turn the matters into advantages.  At the moment, many here are so busy screaming "sexist pig" or "racist bigot" at people for merely mentioning reality. (even though there are certainly numerous legit examples of these biases among our community.

      Still: wishing it away or fixing blame is almost entirely separate from fixing/minimizing the problem. Perhaps we'll eventually reach a climate where these discussions can be held without less fear of backlash, but there's a long way to go at the moment.

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