In many ways, it was a big fucking deal for me, but maybe it should be a BFD for the rest of you Kossacks, too. Or for the next lurker, like me.
I live deep in the red clay heart of west Texas, far from the metropolitan centers that went for President Obama in 2008/2012. Like most everyone around here, I was raised on religion, racism and guns (not necessarily in that order), but early on, I strayed from the 'compassionate conservative' path of my parents. At 20, my first vote was for Mondale/Ferraro. I wasn't always a regular, nor a well-informed voter in the years that followed, but eventually, that changed. I suppose I can thank George W. Bush for that.
And Dkos. I lurked a couple years before I registered. Even as I lurked, both before and after I signed up, I was impressed, yet intimidated by the vast swath of knowledge and activism surrounding me. (And not a little disgusted at the pie.) Still, I learned to be more socially and politically aware. Beyond that, though, I was also inspired to become more involved in the process. There are a number of Texas Kossacks along the way that have led by example. For example, hanging with my GUS (Giving Up Smoking) group one day, my friend Wordsinthewind was chatting about the upcoming local convention. I wasn't sure if I was ready to take another step and become a delegate, but it did sound interesting. She encouraged me to go to the local convention (held a few weeks ago), and, whaddya know!? I'm a delegate.
The local convention, held a few weeks ago, was, um, interesting...
I was the only woman. There were no people of color. The other local Democrats in (sparse) attendance were a generation older than I. There were so few people that when I go to the state convention in Dallas tomorrow, I will be alone, representing the allotted votes of six delegates for our district.
As I filled out the forms, I was faced with a box to check (LGBT). With my friends and my son, I am openly bisexual. I have always been an advocate for LGBT(Q) rights, and would happily caucus for our community. But was I ready to out myself to people in my hometown, strangers though they were? Yes, I was, and that's a bfd to me.
The next box-my race/ethnicity. I found out a few years ago from my birthmother that I had Native American heritage from both her and my birthfather, When I was adopted (1960s), the home listed only my European heritage. Not a mere oversight, as you can guess. Still, I checked the box for white/caucasian all my life. I look white, so, why not, right? But, increasingly, I've struggled with the purposeful erasing of my heritage; the white privilege that I have been 'afforded' is scratchy and uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable, like an irregular wool sweater. So, when I checked the boxes for Native American and Other, it was such a big deal for me. I was claiming another part of me.
Taking this next step, both in political involvement and in claiming my identity, has been overwhelming at times (and I haven't even gotten to Dallas!) But it has occurred to me that in order to elect more and better Democrats, we have to BE better Democrats. That takes some introspection.
And, apparently, being a delegate takes not a little money. I had no idea how it would all add up, and unfortunately, I have had to borrow money from my parents in order to go. Still, they're proud of me-even though I'm a Democrat. And it's a good thing I like going to thrift shops. I have a whole new blue wardrobe for the convention.
Why do I choose to tell you all this? Because I KNOW there is someone else lurking, someone like me, whose unique journey has led her or him here. That lurker may be intimidated, as I was. Or, turned off by the veritable buffet of pie
Here in Texas, we're trying to turn things blue. And we've got a great shot with Wendy and Leticia. But for a Texas Lurker (or Florida or 'choose your red state), living here can be debilitating to the morale. We come to DKos to learn and to be built up, to get our equilibrium. Please, dear Kossacks, remember that, and abstain from state insults (but please, insult Ted Cruz till the cows come home.)
I just don't want the lurkers to be discouraged, because the Community here is far greater than a few slices of pie. I know that Words and I disagree on a few things, and many is the time that I have had a 180 view from some here that I admire, including Kos himself. In the end, it just doesn't matter. We are all Democrats, trying to elect more and better Democrats.
So, I just wanted to thank Dkos, Words and my fellow Texkossacks for being there. I'll finally get to meet a Kossack in real life-hugs forthcoming, Words. And a special thank-you to my anonymous benefactor of that lifetime subscription. I appreciate it so every day.
A note: If you are going to any conventions this summer, including Netroots Nation, please be sure to tip all service employees well.