I know that a lot of people here love them some Alan Grayson, but we cannot let that blind us to the truth, wherever it may lead us. In my case, it just took a little digging to come up with information about Rep. Grayson that I'm sure that some of you will find absolutely shocking. But if Rep. Grayson is going to come here and take up valuable real estate on the Rec List, making about 75 comments in an hour -- well, he has to expect some people here to take action.
I can tell you exactly how my investigation started -- it's when I discovered that Alan Grayson's UID was 85382. By now, with us past UID 225000, that's pretty old in DKos time. So what I did was to look into his past. And what I found ... well, it's below the jump.
What I found was Alan Grayson's first-ever comment here on Daily Kos, dated April 21, 2006. (He didn't show up again until Sept. 30 of this year, then for only two comments. That was it until someone let him loose for an hour today.) You want to know what the guy had to say? I'll tell you want the guy had to say!
Thank You from Alan Grayson (6+ / 0-)
My work against the war profiteers in Iraq is the subject of SusanG's post, and all I can say is that I'm 'shocked and awed'. I look at dailykos, well, pretty much daily, and I never dreamed that I would see my name in it. What animates my work is the same thing that seems to animate this site -- Margaret Mead's words: 'A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Thank you all, from my heart, for the encouragement.
Well, what do you think of that! In 2006, he wrote "I look at dailykos ... pretty much daily"! A man like that will never amount to anything! (Or so I've been told. Pointedly.) This struck me hard enough to make me read what had prompted his thanks! Rather than make you click the link, I'm going to repost SusanG's story in its entirety.
Meet Alan Grayson, my new exemplar of passion, as he wages what the Wall Street Journal deems "a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq."
Mr. Grayson has filed dozens of lawsuits against Iraq contractors on behalf of corporate whistle-blowers. He won a huge victory last month when a federal jury in Virginia ordered a security firm called Custer Battles LLC to return $10 million in ill-gotten funds to the government. The ruling marked the first time an American firm was held responsible for financial improprieties in Iraq.
The False Claims Act that Mr. Grayson used in the Custer Battles case is a Civil War-era statute allowing whistle-blowers to sue contractors suspected of defrauding the government and then keep a chunk of any recovered money.
The article (which is excellent and should be read in full) details the stonewalling and setbacks the Bush administration's Justice Department has thrown in his way through technicalities that allow sealing of records. It also describes Grayson's refusal to give up as he continues quietly to work away at an issue that has caught his attention. Monetary awards perhaps will follow, and his personal pockets are deep. But in many ways, his attention to detail and his indefatigable pursuit of justice remind me of much of the work that goes on here at Daily Kos, day in and day out, with very little notice.
I think of it as quiet passion, as opposed to the quite thoroughly discussed and media attention-grabbing abilities to give voice to outrage - a talent that has its place no doubt, but that can overshadow toilers in the background, like ilona with her PTSD series, Street Kid's Medicare diaries, RubDMC's incredible and heart-breaking Iraq War Grief Daily Witness pieces. These too are works of passion - as defined as "boundless enthusiasm" - to pain-staking and time-consuming topics that span months of research. Just because they don't shout doesn't mean they're not important. And just because these writers are doing their thing in relative obscurity doesn't mean they're ineffective.
These are, in many ways, dark times; dark times call on the best in each of us to respond. We need to find our niches, the places where our interests, expertise and creativity combine to create long-lasting and sustainable passion. We need to honor those of who have found their feet in this shifting political landscape and who bring specialized information and activism back to the progressive community. Innovation, humor, artistic abilities, detailed analysis, dedicated investigation, techie expertise, snark, rants ... all of it makes us what we are and can be used to leverage change, however hopeless and infinitesimal that change can feel at times.
The danger of splintering along special interest lines is always there, of course, as we seek out our interests. Markos and Jerome have critiqued how this can work against the progressive movement as a whole, and they recount many a cautionary tale in Crashing the Gate. So I'd like to suggest that each of us, as we coalesce around our own passion, keep an eye on at least one other issue that fellow progressives are pursuing. If you're obsessed with paper-trail voting, take a few minutes a day and get up to speed on global warming. If you're tracking veterans benefits, do some homework on abortion rights as well. Cross-over pollination on issues can help us build a truly interlocking network of coordinated progressivism that will build the kind of future we want to live in.
There is no better place in the world to learn in detail about just about any political issue than Daily Kos, and perusing and honoring the work of the quiet and passionate here holds the promise of taking our informal, citizen think tank ideas out into the real world for a test drive. Read. Participate. Then activate, out in the political world, where we can make a difference.
(Oh, pre-Murdoch WSJ, as we click that top link, how we miss you.)
You should read the comments too. (I've left out some of SusanG's links because I don't think they're especially current, but you can click her diary to find them.)
It so happens that I remember reading this diary at work in my then-law firm, when I couldn't log in to comment, and it piqued my interest in whistleblower law. It took me a while, but it's now a small -- though I hope it will be a growing -- part of my own practice, though neither I nor many others will ever be in Grayson's league.
So let me join with many others in saying: Damn you, Alan Grayson! A lot of people here value their hardened cynicism about politics, and you are making it impossible to maintain. You stinking lurker, you. [UPDATE: Gadzooks! Now the maniac wants our money, too!]
(UPDATE 2: And CornSyrupAwareness wants you to click here! Madness!)
(UPDATE 3: If I may be serious for just one moment, I hope that you will join me in making sure that this wonderful and hopeful diary stays on the Rec List longer than mine does. All of this good news is so confusing!)