This is a fairly emotional diary for me to write, so I'm going to (try) to keep it pretty short and try not to piss off too many people in the process. But after participating in this site since its earliest days, I've decided that the time has come for me to end my involvement on DailyKos. I've seen many GBCW diaries over the years, and so many of them have very clear reasons - often having to do with the personal lives of the diarists - for the departure. While I have some too, the truth is it just feels like "it's time."
Without getting into too many specifics, I just don't feel the connection with this community that I once did. A great deal has to do with the election ending and a lack of a cohesive, common purpose that holds this place together. That's an understandable thing, as I've written before, it's pretty clear that there is an identity struggle going on, with so very few of us who knew what it is like to blog and have a Democrat in power. And in time, once Obama is inaugurated, I would not be surprised to see some tighter organization occur once again - this time around policy. I hope it does, and will be rooting for this place and for that to happen.
But as the weeks have gone on since the election, my participation on the site has left me feeling frustrating and antagonistic, getting into it with other diarists and commenters on matters of very little consequence. At a certain point I realized it was just spinning wheels without any progress being made. And it was giving me "shpilkis" without any real feeling of accomplishment that used to come from my participation.
Here's the part where I piss people off, so forgive me in advance (or don't, up to you):
I also can't shake the feeling that the site has seen its best days come and go already. This feeling for me began in the fall during the discussion of the bailout for Wall Street. I know this is a passionate and emotional subject with a million factors. I happen to believe that, although miserably implemented with a comical lack of oversight, the essential notion of the rescue plan was the correct one and that things would be far, far, worse without it. Debatable point? Absolutely. On its substance. But one's conclusion on this subject had to be separated from the politics of it, and focus on the real financial and economic implications.
But what distressed me back then was the fact that almost all discussion occurring on this site about that subject was ONLY about the politics of it. To have Markos, in particular, post entry after entry opposing the bailout, but not to post one single entry discussing what might actually happen to our economy and financial system, was, in my view, highly irresponsible. I won't go on about this subject, I posted a diary on it back then, but it really stuck with me.
Now, obviously, if you haven't been pissed off by a Markos post then you're not really a member of DailyKos, so don't feel that I'm leaving for that one reason. Rather, that was a symptom of something else going on: the notion that I didn't belong here and that it was increasingly difficult for someone of my beliefs to participate in discussions without being painted as some sort of self-hating liberal. What are these beliefs?
Well, I find posts that tarnish any one group of people - including wealthy people - with the same brush to be juvenile and irresponsible. I disagree with a great number of people here on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and, given a deep, personal, and direct involvement in the region, am distressed by the kind of things I've seen. I believe that you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs and find purity tests highly disheartening and counterproductive. I believe that I was wrong when I got emotional and focused on the day-to-day tactics of the Obama campaign earlier this year, rather than stepping back and looking at the overall strategy, and for some of my work back then, I apologize and feel very chastened.
And I believe that endless discussion as to whether one classifies a cabinet appointment as "progressive," "movement progressive," "center-right," etc. amounts to a blogospheric circle-jerk (pardon the imagery) that serves no purpose except one's own self-righteousness. Moreover I believe that for some bloggers, much of that discussion is a last-gasp of an attempt to find relevancy where there increasingly isn't any. In fact, for some (many who originate from another site out there), I believe that their "outrage" is about as genuine as outrage over a "war on Christmas" - in other words, I believe it is the time-worn MSM technique of using conflict as a means of drawing attention to oneself. So, what many see as "holding Obama's feet to the fire," I see as a humorous attempt to try to stave off marginalization (note: what I'm talking about is very different from genuine principled attempts to prevent a CIA appointment who legitimized torture).
The list goes on, and I'm sure I've pissed people off enough by now. And I know the inevitable question: why not stay and try to represent your own point of views? The answer is because I don't have it in me to invest the energy. It's a long process, and here's where the personal comes into view: I lost my job in September and haven't found full-time work since. I work in a field that is generally in great demand and was certain that I would something quickly as has happened in the past.
But not this time, and that fact has helped crystallize just how deep and serious this economic funk is. I feel it first-hand. And I have been able to put together a couple freelance projects to keep me (and my wife) going through this time, but now there's nothing and the future doesn't look brighter. I need to focus much of my energy in 2009 on making a living, and for many of you out there experiencing something similar, you know how tough this is.
And yet, I love blogging, and will continue to do so. I'm going to start something soon with a few friends so I can get my own feelings out there - not just about politics either. If you're interested in keeping in touch and hearing more about it, send me a note please.
A final few words: I will continue to swing by DailyKos and check out what people are writing about. There are some individual diarists whose work is fantastic and who raise awareness about very important, and often, niche issues that get ignored elsewhere, and while I won't participate in this community anymore, as a consumer of news and information I will seek out the good stuff wherever it is.
Also a huge thank you to so many of you whose work has been absolutely outstanding. The list is too long, but I hope to send you individual thanks soon. I'd love to stay in touch, and will try to send out notes when I can, and again, please email me and I'd love to keep the communication going.
Finally, a big thanks to everyone who has read, commented, or generally supported some of the stuff I did on here. I really appreciate it more than you'll know. From the "I Voted - Open Threads" on election days to the news analysis to some of my more contemplative stuff, it meant so much to know you were reading it, thinking about it, agreeing or disagreeing with it, and taking the time to discuss it.
I have loved DailyKos for a long time, and being a member of this community has meant a lot to me. It just feels like it's time.
Everyone, Happy New Year, and have a great 2009.
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for the kind words. This diary was intended to get my feelings off my chest, but not to attack or sound offensive, although I realize how some of this can come off.
Let me just say this also: in no way am I writing to influence anyone else. This is a deeply personal decision and it feels right for me. That's all.