I might be considered a lurker, I don't comment often, and I realized that the last time I posted a full-blown diary, I was 17 years old. So here I am, a little older, maybe a little smarter, here to report on my political journey and my observations of the political world of the last few years.
It was just the other day, I felt as if I was finally able to articulate my beef with modern American politics, across the spectrum. I have done a lot of philosophical exploration over the last few years, and I have talked to people of many, many, many political persuasions, from crust-punk anarchists to tea-party Republicans. While this has helped me be more able to accurately describe my own political philosophy, it has convinced me thoroughly of a ubiquitous problem in our political atmosphere, left, right and center: despair. Lefties heads exploding at every corner, decrying Democrats as 'sellouts', righties heads exploding over gun rights and taxes, people all along the political lines moping over just about every issue that has come into the public discourse.
As I said, my conversations with people of various political persuasions have helped me ground my own: I am a Democrat, I support President Obama, but most importantly, I am fundamentally optimistic.
To address the pessimism I have seen within our community here, I have decided to create this occasional diary series, which I have titled "Ask A Millenial: 'Dun worry, itz all gon b k", in hoping that I may help sew a few seeds of positivity here. If you're feeling the "orange blues," and want to cheer up, follow me below the orange lozenge.
My political journey began back in 2000 when I was eight years old or so, when George W. Bush "won" the election. Even though I had no grasp of politics, I knew what voting was from school: I understood that the person with the most votes should win. I remember asking my father (rsmpdx) something along the lines of "Daddy, if that guy got more votes, why did the other guy win?"
To this day, I still don't think either of us are capable of answering that question with a great degree of clarity.
That was when I started asking questions, and I was suddenly reading the newspaper for things other than the weather section (I was a weird kid, I hardly ever read the comics).
In the 2004 election, I was around 12 years old. I already knew that Bush's wars and other policies didn't sit well with me, and I wanted to do something about it. So, with a little sleeve-tugging, I convinced rsmpdx to let me help him go register voters. That was my first direct experience with the political process, and even though I was disappointed that team Kerry/Edwards had lost, I was very proud to have participated.
In 2006, I was finishing 8th grade, and it was my first experience following a Senate election cycle. I was deeply encouraged that the Democrats had retaken the Senate, and that it looked as if the country may have been shifting leftward, or at least stepping away from the lunacy of the Bush Administration.
In 2008, I was a sophomore in high school, and by then I was more than a bit 'humphed' that I couldn't vote yet. Nonetheless, I felt tremendous pride when Barack Obama won the election, I cried voluminous tears of joy. I was very, very proud of my fellow Americans.
I had another moment of disappointment during the '10 midterms with the rise of the tea party, and by then I finally began to realize that there was a lot more to our political system than simply the presidency.
This election cycle, I was finally able to mark a ballot, and took with tremendous enthusiasm to marking my vote for Democrats, all the way up and down ticket.
I'm here to advocate some civility within our community. I offer a few ways (feel free to come up with more!) in which I have tried to help addressing the rampant infighting and masochism I have observed here, especially as of late. First: disengage. The pie fights, the name-calling, the despair--just disengage. Don't even read the comments and diaries that contribute to the hostility. Second, be more selective about recommending diaries/uprating comments. Next (and I know I am tempting fate here), disengage from the right-wing bashing. We already know we want to defeat them, we don't need to so tribal about our opposition; rather, I suggest that we focus on supporting our own candidates and causes rather than smearing their's.
I think when we get too wrapped up in our own "dystopian masturbation", which we so often accuse our Republican rivals of, we forget what the purpose of this site is: to elect more and better Democrats. That's what I've been doing, and what I will continue to do.
So, next time you or another community member start feeling the lefty blues, just remember what us "hopey-changey" millenials say "don worry, itz all gon b k."