Because of deeply personal issues I am taking a leave of absence from Daily Kos. Other than to say my reasons are not related to my health, I am not willing to discuss the matter in public. My return is doubtful.
After eight years here, I have met many, many activists who I am proud to call my friends. And many others whose organizing efforts and writing and thinking skills I highly respect. I wish I could say thanks individually to all of you — my colleagues on the Front Page, diarists, commenters and silent lurkers who have sent me emails over the years. But that long list would inevitably leave some out, and I don't want to do that. So I will make my thanks to one person only, Markos.
He has done more to create the left political blogosphere than anyone. Starting with a single computer and a handful of commenters, he created a platform unlike any other. Soon there were many imitators. Unlike so many of the thin-skinned operators elsewhere, he gave free rein to discussions, governing the conversation with only a few rules, even when that conversation included ferocious insults to him and his efforts. Scores, then hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands of people showed up, all of them with their own motives, their own political viewpoints, their own agendas, but most of them with a fierce desire to turn American politics around.
That platform continues to offer an outstanding opportunity for activists to organize against the overseers who have imposed a class war on the majority of Americans and back it up by exacerbating racism, sexism and heterosexism. It is all the more important now that this war has been ratcheted up and strengthened by the Supreme Court, and the curtain has been pulled back on the true nature of the overseers and those whose strings they pull in both political parties.
Daily Kos also provides a place to support each other's individual struggles of a non-political nature: dealing with job loss, with disability, with grief and even with our own mortality.
It offers a place to raise money for causes like the famine-struck Horn of Africa or the earthquake victims of Haiti. It allows a means to keep tabs on on-going world events — Fukushima, Katrina, the Gulf Oil spill, the Middle East political awakening, climate change, the criminal justice system. A place to present big ideas to shape our future.
Often, the place can just be fun.
Of course, Daily Kos is not a platform that has eliminated human nature. Pettiness, personal grudges, jockeying for power and attention, preening and pretending that only the other guy's shit stinks make daily appearances here. All too frequently, respected individuals are viciously attacked because their attackers can't read or simply to score points with their pals. Labels are attached on the flimsiest of excuses or none at all. Some say that the in-fighting is worse than it's ever been. If only they were running things here, if only this group or that group were banned en masse, the site could get much more accomplished, they imply or say directly.
In fact, much more would be accomplished if just half the energy that goes into this internal battling went into the real activism that we see recounted or proposed in diaries every day. Some of the viciousness would probably be undermined if the "Preview" comment button were replaced by one saying "THINK!"
Markos has provided the platform and he deserves everyone's deepest thanks for it. He certainly has mine. It's up to the participants here to make the best use of it in carrying out the fight against those who see the working classes of America as nothing more than fodder to make themselves ever richer.
My life has taken a turn that means I can no longer be one of those participants, here, or in the greater world.
Farewell to you all.