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"I disagree, respectfully."

How freaking hard is it to say, and believe, those words?  Why is it necessary for so many so-called progressives on this blog to insult, demean, and ridicule those with whom they disagree, even fervently, over the direction of the Democratic Party, the choice of candidates, or tactics?

Do you want positive change?  Are you outraged by what the Republican machine and the evil right-wing cabal have done to our country and our world?  Are you frightened by the prospect of how much more damage they could do if they retain and regain power?  Are you committed to doing whatever it takes to reverse the suffering they have inflicted?

Good for you.  So why doesn't "whatever it takes" include showing respect for those who share your outrage and your goals, but disagree with you on the best way to reach them in our current political environment?  Do you really believe that vicious attacks directed at your fellow progressives helps move us forward?  Do you really think that disrespectful, insulting infighting, dismissal of legitimate concerns, ripping apart of those who are emotional or even irrational in their feelings about the campaign, is going to help ensure Democratic victory in November?

Note that I don't say, "don't disagree".  I say, "disagree respectfully".  And I realize that there's a kind of chicken-egg problem, in which many otherwise sensible progressives end up impulsively responding to one round of attacks and insults with more of the same.  But "he/she started it" is for children, not for adults who have serious, deep concerns about the future of our country.

Don't think it matters?  Think it's all just healthy exchanges of emotion among passionate political junkies, who will ultimately come together after the nominee is chosen?  That's not the signal we've been getting, from a large and increasingly visible segment of the electorate.  The signal is that the sniping and the pettiness and the invective are truly harmful to our party's and our candidate's chances.  Weren't we giddy at the prospect of a protracted Republican nomination battle, because they would tear each other down and help our side?  Doesn't the same dynamic play out in reverse?

Why do you hang out on a progressive, Democratic blog?  Because you care?  A lot?  Okay, good.  So you want to help elect candidates who will change the direction of the country, and you feel that participating in this forum contributes to those worthy goals.  Can you understand, then, that when you spew negativity and animosity, and yes, even hatred, you are NOT helping your cause?  You are HURTING it!  If you don't believe that, if you think there's no meaningful impact from such actions, then how can you believe that anything else you say on a blog is of any significance? Either this process has meaning and relevance or it doesn't, and if it does, then the negative stuff hurts just as much as the positive stuff helps.  

If you're one of the many, many culprits around here -- representing all candidates and opinions -- who have contributed to poisoning the atmosphere and hurting the chances for progressive change that we desperately seek, and if you intend to continue such actions while ignoring or denying the harm that you, personally, are causing by your words, then, well... I respectfully disagree with you.

Originally posted to dnta on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 07:11 AM PST.

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