In case you haven’t noticed, Daily Kos is about to turn 20, and we can’t stop talking about it or coming up with cool ways to celebrate. There’s the Koscars, and the party I’m hosting, This is My Best, and so much more to come!
Some years ago, I’m told, there was a wonderful series called This Is My Best (TIMB), which encouraged Community members to share their own writing that they were most proud of, rather than the writing of others. One part self-promotion, one part self-confidence, all parts awesome, TIMB encourages writers to press pause on their role as their own worst critics and take some time to toot their own horns.
So now, as Daily Kos completes its second decade and rockets into its third, I’m so excited to report that we’re bringing TIMB back.
In case you missed the first installment of TIMB featuring the Community Contributors Team’s personal bests, here’s a quick recap of how it works:
This is the second of several TIMB collections we’ll be rolling out over the weeks leading up to our big 20th anniversary on May 26, featuring self-selected favorites written by Daily Kos Staff, Community Contributors, and even Kos himself. In the comments, sound off with your own TIMB submissions. We’ll be watching and taking note—and using your favorites to create new collections.
Be sure to include a link to your chosen best story and a sentence or two about why you think it’s great. Keep in mind that your “best” story doesn't need to be your most recommended or the one that got the most comments.
This week, we’ve got our first roundup of TIMB submissions from your tireless Daily Kos Staff—and not just people who write all day. I hope you’ll give these stories another visit. You’ll notice a common theme—personal connection—fuels many of this week’s choices.
MONIQUE TEAL, Activism
I was arrested protesting Brett Kavanaugh (2018)
I chose this one because it talks about my motivations for activism, how the political is always personal. Brett Kavanaugh was the hardest Supreme Court campaign of my career. Every day women and femmes bled openly in hopes that our elected officials would see our humanity. Over and over again, they chose to look away, or chose to vilify survivors. But we kept coming and built community.
As awful as it was, there were so many beautiful moments that also built resilience. I didn't do those moments justice in the post, but there's a glimpse of it.
CHRISTOPHER REEVES, Community
Today I'm heartbroken: A letter for my son (2016)
This is a story about my oldest son's attempted suicide, his crisis stay, and why, frankly, I and so many others fight for Democratic causes. Still, reading this one back is a gut punch because it reminds me of such a terrible time … but also it motivates me as to why I keep at it.
TRUE BLUE REPORT: The criminalization of being Black has always had a profit motive (2019)
I was originally planning a top 10 of my best diaries for the 20th anniversary. When I tried to pick just one, it had to be this one: it's evergreen because the topic comes up every election cycle; I like the way my passion for the issue comes off the page; and it's a handy primer on a key aspect of systemic racism for people who think "all that stuff ended 150 years ago."
JESSICA SUTHERLAND, Community Content
Lifelong smoker pens own obituary before dying of lung cancer: 'I was an idiot' (2019)
This was the first story in which I revealed a piece of myself to the Community, and while I was nervous to do so, it ultimately sparked truly compassionate and thoughtful comments that have stuck with me to this day as I continue to struggle with nicotine addiction.
Arguably, it’s the story that made me really understand how much of a community our Community truly is.
DAVE NEIWERT, Editorial
The Hokoana trial: Inside the 'Antifa' shooting incident the media doesn't want to talk about (2019)
It’s probably my most personal post, since I wound up being part of the story—something I usually try hard to avoid. But in this case, I think I was able to shed more light on the nature of the far-right protests and confrontations between far-right extremists and antifascists that ensued over the next five years than most journalists have—and this was where it all started.
GABE ORTIZ, Editorial
Dozens arrested in D.C. action calling on Congress to pass Dreamer protections now (2018)
I traveled to Washington, D.C., in early March 2018 to cover demonstrations urging Congress to pass permanent protections for young undocumented immigrants following the previous administration's shameful rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program six months prior. I witnessed brave acts of civil disobedience amid chants of "undocumented and unafraid," heard emotional speeches from affected individuals, and spoke with people I'd long admired.
Congress failed to pass anything.
But DACA has continued on because of the relentless activism and fight of this community. They inspire me and keep me going every day.
KERRY ELEVELD, Editorial
Celebrating the life my mom lived rather than the one we had hoped for her (2018)
I just love this dedication to my mom and the life she lived. Despite the fact that it wasn't what we had hoped for her, I think her generosity of spirit and the intention with which she parented my brother and me really comes through. That's the way she impacted my life first and foremost, and it's how I will always remember her.
Traveling Amtrak (2008)
This was our journey back from Yearly Kos in Chicago in 2007, and I distilled the experience into images and text that I still enjoy reading to remind myself of it.
Daily Kos Changelog, June 17th, 2016 (2016)
Kind of an oddball thing; this is a tech update, but maybe entertaining? It might not technically be my best but the other ones are kind of dated, and one thing I wrote that, if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't write.
BRANDI BUCHMAN, Trending
Who's who: A rolling guide to the targets of the Jan. 6 committee (2022)
I think this is my best piece. And not because it is artfully written, necessarily—and I do love some artful prose—but because it is the product of many, many months spent tracking what is arguably the most consequential congressional investigation to occur since Watergate.
I am proud of this piece because while it may not answer every question a reader has about Jan. 6, 2021, it will answer a lot questions and hopefully help people connect the dots. So often in stories, reporters have to cut information for space or time and I didn't have to do that here. This information could empower a person to make a decision that will help protect or preserve our democracy, and there are few things that would make me prouder than to learn I contributed to that end.
AYSHA QAMAR, Trending
I don’t eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Here’s why (2020)
I would say this is my best because it is my most raw and heartfelt piece. I gave an insight into not only my faith but views regarding it, something I did for the first time not only on Daily Kos, but publicly.
MARISSA HIGGINS, Trending
This holiday season, I'm grateful for antidepressants (2021)
I’m really proud of this personal essay, which ran as an “evergreen" over the holidays, as I think it’s valuable to talk openly about mental health and medication options. I also received many messages privately from folks who found it helpful or related to it in some way, so while the numbers on the site aren't too impressive, I’m glad I put it out there and that the content reached people.
Now it’s your turn!
I was floored by the response to last week’s launch post. We got scores of submissions. (Do you know how rarely I get to use “score” as a unit of measurement? If you knew how much I love “score” as a unit of measurement, you’d know how thrilled I am that you’ve all given me the opportunity to use it three times in one paragraph.)
So keep those submissions coming, and know that we’ll be back with more TIMBs and another opportunity to submit next week if you don’t get to it!
Note: I will be traveling when this publishes and won’t be able to collect your submissions until Monday, but don’t you dare let that hold you back.