Daily Kos is one of the biggest political blogs for Democrats. As such, the opinions expressed here are diverse, ranging from pragmatic centrist to democratic socialist. Some people on both ends of that spectrum seem to think this place should be more monolithic, and get frustrated and leave or tell other people to leave when debates get heated. But I think the diversity of viewpoints is part of what makes it worth being here.
I'm here because I'm an idea guy, and I like to find ways to translate good ideas into action. Debating the ideas and approaches to politics is exactly what the left needs. We need to argue with each other -- hopefully in a civil manner -- and really think deeply about each others' views and the reasoning behind them.
It's easy to stop participating in discussions when people disagree with you. It's harder to stick around, keep articulating your ideas and trying to persuade others, listen, learn, and be open to letting them persuade you if their arguments are sound. In the long run, this kind of healthy debate is more rewarding than being in an echo chamber -- at least if the participants share some common values.
I think it's safe to say that just about everyone on the left believes that society should do more to help people who are disadvantaged or struggling. We agree that the government should promote the general welfare and ensure equal opportunity for all, rather than serving powerful special interests. Beyond that, however, there's not much consensus among "liberals" or "progressives" about what are the most important priorities and how best to achieve them. That's exactly why the far left and the center-left should keep talking. Maybe the exchange of ideas can help us figure some things out.
Despite its flaws and frustrations, Daily Kos is one of the best places currently available to do that. The ideas and approaches to political and social change discussed here range from the conventional (activists running for office), to the radical (protests at the White House), to the thoroughly unconventional (eco-friendly alternative currencies). I enjoy reading and having discussions on this site because the many intelligent bloggers and commenters here make me think. Sometimes they make me question some of my assumptions, and even occasionally change my mind about significant issues. Open expression of ideas and dialogue between people with different points of view is how both learning and persuasion happen.
Having said that, I do think the American left is becoming more internally divided -- and the growing animosity expressed on Daily Kos between the pragmatic and idealistic factions is evidence of that. If a social democrat such as Bernie Sanders decides to run for president against a centrist candidate such as Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2016, this site will likely fracture so badly that the damage would be permanent. A large percentage of liberals in America are simply done with the mainstream establishment that controls the Democratic Party, and are ready for a radical economic populist movement that would be viewed with horror and disdain by many of the loyal supporters of Barack Obama and the Clintons. Sides will be taken, will harden, and will probably tear this community apart. The owner of Daily Kos will have to decide whether this place will become more of a home for establishment Democrats or a new liberal insurgency, based on the tone set by himself and his editorial team.
Until that time of reckoning, I hope Daily Kos will continue to be one of the biggest and most interesting places on the internet for Democrats to come together for learning, networking, and healthy debate about issues and strategies for progressive political change -- and for so much more.