I am supposed to be resting from a surgery I had on Friday. That means rest - no stress, no drama, no nuttin'. Yet I like far too many of us are addicted to this strange orange place we call DailyKOS.
The unfortunate downside of this addiction is that I get the "privilege" to see what is coming across the recent diaries list, same as everyone else.
Most notably, I just logged in to find dueling diaries: One called "Dear White Progressives"; the other called "To the Neoliberals on this Site."
My reaction upon seeing them, and reading them, is one I am now going to express to EVERYONE at this site:
At what point is the bullshit, childish, absolutely WORTHLESS bickering between what I will call "Obama critics" and "Obama supporters" that has polluted this site IMO for the past 2.5 years going to STOP?????
Yes, for the record, I consider both of the diaries I named as contributing to that pollution. But I would not be the fair person I am to pretend that these two contributors are alone in their contribution or unique in their level of contribution. They aren't. I wish they were. Indeed, similar "duelin' diaries" -- in which folks completely unable to talk TO each other instead talk AT each other in separate spaces at 20 paces -- are a now-routine occurrence. Sometimes they are within an hour of each other. Sometimes a day. I've even seen them come several days after, a particularly craven method of dueling in my personal opinion.
And almost never do they just state a point of view without using at least one adjective they already KNOW is going to piss off people. I believe it is on purpose simply because it never ends, at this point.
Far too many people I respect (as well as people I've never respected) for their political viewpoints seem hell-bent on engaging in this titting-for-tatting every chance they get. And the behavior is the same, even though each representative on a given day will go to hell and back denying their own personal contribution to the cesspool of arguing. It isn't "their" fault. "He/she STARTED it." He/she is racist. He/she is unfairly accusing people of racism. He/she is a reactionary. Conservative. Tea bagger. Naive. Bitter. A crab in a barrel. Pretty much, if there is a name one can call one's political enemy it has been used (and then some) over the past 2.5 years here at DailyKOS when it comes to people writing diaries about their opinion about the President's policies/strategies/approach. And when it comes to people writing diaries about their opinion about someone else's opinion about the President's policies/strategies/approach.
All of this tearing each other apart over a politician named The Honorable Barack Hussein Obama.
And for what? What do people get out of it? Does it make them less angry? Less scared about the future? More willing to go out and support the President? More willing to go out and oppose the President?
I don't see any evidence of it.
What I see is a shitload of people vested in declaring the other "enemy" and never letting up, sort of like a great white shark that gets hold of a swimmer and just shakes and shakes and pulls the swimmer underwater until he gets a meal. Mindless fighting. I've been on the internet a long time, and while I have certainly seen lots of outright babble, knee-jerk overstatements, baseless accusations, and hyperbole through the roof about people's motives and feelings, this is the first time I've actually been disgusted by it.
Because in theory we're all supposed to be fighting on the same side. And because right now folks that don't have the luxury to piss and moan on the internet all day are HURTING and there are far too few diaries acknowledging their plight and acknowledging that whether you consider yourself an "Obama critic" or an "Obama supporter" something is fundamentally broken in our country and NO fighting over a politician should be taking up this much of our passion.
Not if we call ourselves Democrats. Progressives. Pragmatists. Liberals.
Yet it does. I could spend hours, days, speculating about why. And I have done that. But in truth it is too ennervating to even come in here and try and write anything serious, right now. Because people are being downright childish. And I don't have time for children all day every day.
People can tell me to kiss their ass for this diary. I'm OK with that. But I'm sick of this behavior, sick of this place, and YES I BLAME BOTH SIDES for what DailyKOS has become.
So if you really care about social change, and all but a handful here say they do, and can't bring yourself to just make an affirmative case for your views in a diary without taking a potshot at someone else's opinion each and every time you open your virtual mouth, why don't you just go find something else to do and leave the serious policy discussions, pro and con, to those who can?
Because we have an election to get ready for, at a time that our country is at what may be its last defining moment. IMO, if we have any hope of mobilizing behind our Democratic Party standard bearer (who almost certainly will be President Obama, and I'm 100% OK with that even as I disagree with much of his approach and policy and have said so, because I also feel he has done some good, too) we need to put the rhetorical shotguns and death rays pointed at each other away no matter WHAT is said unless it is clearly either (a) false or (b) obviously racist/sexist/homophobic. (And yes, I do know what each looks like; the charge has been 1,000% legitimate in some cases, 1,000% illegitimate in others from what I have seen in terms of the sparring here.)
Argue policy and strategy all you want. But if if you want to use labels and adjectives you know are going to get people's dander up, expect their dander. For those whose dander gets up, make your case too, then seriously consider shutting up; your point doesn't get stronger from repetition. But either way, make your case affirmatively, if you can - and then be mature enough to hear the case for the other side respectfully. Forget how dissed you feel, just for a bloody moment - what on earth does it cost you? Your cred? None of us have any, frankly - we're bloggers. We like to hear ourselves talk (yes, that includes me.) Nobody needs to repeat themselves 50 times in a diary or in 50 diaries as if there is just some magic word, or phrase, or day or moment, where suddenly people will go with open arms "Oh I was so WRONG!!! I love you for showing me the way" that justifies ad infinitum repetition. There isn't one. We are all people with different opinions for different reasons and our right to both have them and express them is inarguable. If you find yourself insisting upon the last word, you've gotten too vested in arguing for the sake of "being right" and not vested enough in actually being persuasive.
So, just walk away. Seriously, it ain't that hard.
Not to mention that it's better for everyone's blood pressure, mine included. Which we should be saving up for the Republicans, remember?
(BTW, the cute little technique I've seen lately where folks on both sides essentially say "If I wasn't talking about you you don't have anything to worry about" in response to someone reacting to their diary doesn't fly with me. Both sides do it, and IMO it's trying to be cute by half - and neither is fooling this woman over here or anyone else who is busy trying to understand instead of typing up the next attempt at a TKO. Knock it OFF for the love of God - this type of thing should be beneath all of us.)
Damn, I miss Meteor Blades something awful and he's not even been gone a week. He was someone I could always look forward to seeing on the front page with SUBSTANCE not drama. He understood that it is perfectly possible to be someone like me when it comes to President Obama - someone who sees both the very very good, and very very bad, and thus continues to remind myself what Malcolm told us, long ago:
Remember what politics is supposed to PRODUCE.
Respectfully, all that is being produced at this point from too many diaries is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Which is fine, I guess, if that's what the authors are trying to accomplish in writing these types of diaries. My mother always said that some folks are into arguing just for the sake of arguing, and Lord knows way too many people appear to have proven her right here at DailyKOS particularly in the last 2.5 years when it comes to the subject of President Obama. They are not interested in persuading anyone - just being right. Or at least, if I go by their choice of words and approach to making their cases (pro or con) it sure seems that way.
If persuasion is truly what the diarists who engage in this want (and I have to believe despite a lot of evidence to the contrary that this is in fact what the folks I am now calling out on both sides want) then perhaps it's time for them ALL to take a step back and do some thinking. As for me, I'm doing some thinking, too. My life doesn't allow me to write much anymore, and frankly the childish bickering saps much of my creative energy lately to boot. But occasionally I get sick and tired, too.
Thus, this diary.
11:11 PM PT: Thanks for everyone who commented. Please forgive what is basically me going MIA in the end. I am still a bit tired and I woke up to all the power being out for a while (downed tree in the 'hood.). Thanks especially for (a) the well-wishes (my surgery was not major, and I'm fine, just in rest and heal mode for this week; and (b) those who even with strong feelings on one "side" of the rhetorical divide or the other, really tried to hear what I was saying about the discourse. It's not about the substantive disagreements, it's about the methods - and what they are, in being so combative and personal, are ultimately risking: the ability to unify in coalition (not necessarily agreement) we are going to need to try and ensure that we are not staring at an absolute catastrophe in the 2012 elections.
BTW I've given everyone a tip, in part because I had to disappear. Just because even when I don't agree with some things that were said, everyone at least tried to make their point with a bit of care as to HOW they were making their point. Peace.