I'm tired of all of the bickering. I'm tired of the egos being puffed out for display. I'm tired of our collective energy tearing us apart. Like many others, I've been disappointed in what's been happening here at MyDD. But I think they're all symptoms of a larger problem.
I'll start off by giving my biases. I'm for Obama. I was for Dean last time. I didn't like Kerry too much. And in the same way, I'm not a huge Hillary fan. For me, it's a matter of politics as usual and doing something that changes the game. Edwards, by the way, leaves me a bit cold. But whomever is the nominee will get my support.
On to the substance. I just read Mizner's critique of Chris Bowers. All I have to say is "Wow!" I simply can't believe the audacity that Bowers is displaying. But then again, I can. I saw the same thing with Matt Stoller here. And I just read several accounts of users being banned by him, as well. But, to me, this is all just a symptom. It's a symptom of needing to be heard.
We get that over here at MyDD all of the time. People attack each other quite a bit. The level of discourse as gotten a bit tattered. I agree with Jerome Armstrong that people should be with their candidates 100%. But that shouldn't mean that it should be at the expense of civility and reason. And that seems to be what has happened.
What is happening, I think, is that what could have been a truly revolutionary movement is falling prey to itself and becoming the Loony Left. We are victims of a need to be heard and a desire for power within the system. We have believed our own hype. And when the facts don't support us, we shout even more loudly.
What do I mean? Let's start with the war because that's the main thing. It shouldn't have happened. And we adequately voiced our opinion about that. In fact, much of what we have here today is a direct result. And this time we could shake our image as peaceniks and argue that we've been waging the wrong war. We had so much on our side.
And eventually, after much tragedy, the public came along with us. That was due to our endeavors. And politicians have come along, as well. It's amazing that every single Democratic presidential candidate has an anti-war position.
We won. But that wasn't enough for us. We then pushed for getting our troops out now. And that was good. And we've seen a huge amount of movement on that issue. The fact that Bush even talked about his proposal to end the surge using Withdrawal as the frame means that we are winning that debate. Once we have them using our language and frame, it's a matter of continuing to execute.
But we weren't satisfied. No, all troops have to be out. And while that's a legitimate claim, we get into arcana like whether the Embassy is US soil or if that still constitutes an occupation. Oh, come ON! Yes, let's push. But where does it all end? Does anyone seriously think anything worthwhile is going to change while we have Bush in office? He's the stubbornest man in the world, I think. And he's infinitely smarter about picking fights and using the power of his office and the media than the Left typically gives him credit for.
So, come on! There are other issues. The war is a supremely important one. But the other issues are just as important. Let's peal away our day-to-day issues and talk about why we think we should be doing X, Y or Z. Let's stop attacking each other and try to understand each other. We all want a better US of A. I trust that. I trust that you all are good people who only want what's best.
Let's trust that Hillary supporters want the best for our country. Let's trust that those who want every single troop out of Iraq want what's best just as thos who support residual troops. Let's trust each other and argue from there. Let's not let the weeds keep us from seeing that we all want the country to move left. We may each have different tactics or theories for how that should happen. But we each want it to happen.
I want dialog. But we've sometimes moved on from that to pure fighting. And I don't think that's a good thing. And I think a lot of that is that we forget our original goals. When we succeed with that goal, we keep on fighting and do it with each other.
As for me, here's where I'm coming from: I'm interested in Transformational Politics. I look at Europe and see that the pendulum is far further left there than here. I want that to happen. And I think it will happen over time. I keep coming back to the fact that relatively speaking, America is fairly young. It's going to take time for it to age into what I'd like to see it as. But I believe we can help it along. And I have long believed that we can do that by listening to the other side a bit. i don't mean that we shouldn't fight for what we believe in. But we should not demonize them as they often do us. Perhaps that comes from the fact that I'm a black, gay man who grew up as a Christian Fundamentalist. So, I understand a bit about both sides. Perhaps it also comes from having studied Social Anthropology and see how groups form and shape beliefs and habits. I don't know. But I know that listening and respect can do a lot. And I believe that we have to choose our fights carefully. Women's rights, Black rights, gay rights. Those are things that I think were worth fighting for. We're not done with those, yet. But the pendulum has swung to the left in all of those. Environmentalism and global warming is a place where the pendulum must swing. The pendulum has swung on the war in Iraq.
Let's not leave any of these issues. But when we get too het up about the details and make the details the fight, we're damaging ourselves and our collective strength.
(Maybe next time I'll critique the whole idea of the Netroots not having an elite and simply being a collective. But that's for another time.)