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Fri Jun 27, 2014, 01:09 PM


“I had money, and I had none
But I never been so broke
That I couldn’t leave town
I’m a Changeling
See me change”
-- Jim Morrison

There are some discussions on DU:GD regarding change: some people think DU has changed, while others think it has not. I think that both positions are correct.

As a long-retired social worker, I still tend to view everything from a “systems” approach. Families are systems. Schools are systems. The work place, group homes, social clubs, jails, and neighborhoods are all systems. In my mind’s eye, I find it useful to view each system as being engaged in an attempt to find balance, much like a mobile that hangs over an infant’s crib.

DU is a mobile. It has a curious balance. When it was formed about 13 years ago, it hung over the crib of the Bush-Cheney theft of the White House. In 2008, the election of Senator Obama to the presidency promised change in the crib. Since the presidency is the most visible source of political power, it would be impossible for DU to remain exactly the same.

No living organism can remain exactly the same. Those which come the closest are, by definition, stagnant. Organic systems that stagnate soon decay, as evidenced by the republican party.

All organic life on Earth -- and, indeed, the Earth, herself -- either grows, or wilts. That is the cycle that even the smallest of organisms share with the sum total of the entire organism. Cycles within cycles within cycles. And while the life-force within living organisms is “energy,” the material of life always follows that mechanical cycle.

The only thing that can “change” in a non-mechanical way is people. And that type of change is distinct from the reality of the evolution of life forms on Earth. It’s the inner-evolution that all of the enlightened “leaders” from various eras, around the globe, have spoken of. It’s not limited to religious or spiritual theories. Rather, it is what it means to be fully human, to reach one’s potential.

If anything can “save” our society, it can only be people. It won’t be a supernatural remedy. It won’t be Santa God or Stained-Glass Jesus. It will be human beings harnessing that growth potential within themselves.

Now back to DU.

The membership of the forum has obviously changed. Some of the good people from way back when have died, or moved on to other places. Other people have joined. One of the biggest changes, in my opinion, is that more of the people from the organized Democratic Party have attempted to use DU as a resource to promote the party line. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. It suggests that people in the party take internet discussion sites somewhat seriously. Still, in the long run, they seek to make change by way of elections -- by getting people to the voting booth. And that is a good thing; if one needs proof, just consider the republican party’s on-going effort to keep people from voting.

There are, of course, some tensions that are bound to arise when people who always and only vote for democrats attempt to convince those who recognize that not everyone who is registered as a democrat makes a good politician. Those who are inhabiting Washington, DC’s halls of power tend to have far less in common with the grass roots, than they do with many of the republicans that they work with. For the corruption of things political also follows a mechanical route.

Thus, the highest potential for DU is not found in producing cogs who will limit their political activity to voting every few years. It’s how we spend the time between election contests. That includes our political and social activism -- and arguing on the internet should not be mistaken for activism.

If a person has been on DU for 10-plus years, and they think just the same as they did on the day they joined, it suggests that they have wasted a lot of time. If their other efforts have remained identical to what they were 10-plus years ago, they have become stagnate. It means that they have used DU as a sedative.

DU should be a stimulant. It should be used to increase the scope of our thinking. That doesn’t mean it should change our values. Rather, it should assist us in learning how to communicate our values to others, and to increase our willingness to engage in grass roots activism. That’s how real change can be made -- not mechanically. And that’s the real value of this forum.

H2O Man

19 replies, 2248 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Change (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2014 OP
bluesbassman Jun 2014 #1
H2O Man Jun 2014 #13
Lochloosa Jun 2014 #2
H2O Man Jun 2014 #16
Skittles Jun 2014 #3
FourScore Jun 2014 #4
Skittles Jun 2014 #9
H2O Man Jun 2014 #17
Skittles Jun 2014 #19
bigtree Jun 2014 #5
passiveporcupine Jun 2014 #14
bigtree Jun 2014 #15
H2O Man Jun 2014 #18
Bluenorthwest Jun 2014 #6
JDPriestly Jun 2014 #7
obxhead Jun 2014 #8
Johonny Jun 2014 #10
byronius Jun 2014 #11
zeemike Jun 2014 #12

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 01:14 PM

1. Very thoughtful post. Thanks. n/t

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Response to bluesbassman (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 04:37 PM

13. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 01:35 PM

2. There is one thing about me that has changed as a direct result of my years on DU.

Not the only thing mind you.

That is my attitude toward marriage equality. To be honest, before coming here in 2005, I had really not given it much thought.

Now I'm very vocal about my support for marriage equality for everyone.

DU opened my eyes to the struggle.


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Response to Lochloosa (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 28, 2014, 05:40 AM

16. Very good.

That's an important example of how this forum can help people expand their understanding of what is required to bring about social justice.

Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 01:38 PM

3. I want the old DU when not just republicans were held accountable

I want DU back to where bullshit is called out as bullshit whether or not it is promoted by a republican OR a Democrat

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Response to Skittles (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 01:51 PM

4. Bullshit!

Just kidding. It was just too irresistible.

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Response to FourScore (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 03:30 PM

9. heh heh

I love being called JUVENILE by that crowd - OMG, the irony

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Response to Skittles (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 28, 2014, 05:49 AM

17. Sounds reasonable to me.

There are those who, if we mention a problem with, say, President Obama, ask, "Would you rather have John McCain or Mitt Romney as president?" Such shortcuts to logic imply that our choices are severely limited. Heck, even President Obama has said several times that he wants people to hold his feet to the fire -- and I assume he didn't mean just the tea party.

I think it's extremely important that individuals of good conscience -- like you -- continue to confront this type of sterile thinking. I believe that there are still plenty of DU members who -- while certainly not McCain/Romney advocates -- understand that it is essential to "call out bullshit."

Thank you for all of your contributions to DU.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 28, 2014, 11:46 AM

19. thank you H2O Man

you get it

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 02:14 PM

5. I'm going to admit to bias toward the Democratic party

. . . and I tend to resist appeals outside of the party by individuals and groups who don't share my belief in the primacy of the party.

I confess confusion over the definition of 'grassroots' some have used when differentiating between support for establishment Democrats and support offered to candidates who identify their politics outside of the Democratic party.

Sen. Bernie Sanders offered a view of his own interpretation of 'grassroots' support that I thought was interesting:

“I think what we need is a new politics -- a different type of politics than Hillary’s," he said. "A politics that is much more grassroots-oriented, much more having to do with strong coalition-building and grassroots activism than I think Hillary has demonstrated over the years, or supported.”

I'm not certain what the difference is in 'grassroots' expressions of support for whatever Sen. Sanders is advocating, and the 'grassroots' support Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton are receiving. Is there a more defining measure of grassroots support than the people willing to come forward and identify with your cause, and ultimately vote for it?

Is there a more measurable degree of support for ANY potential candidate for office than folks organizing in waves even before that candidate has even declared; years before an election?

I don't know why people who have chosen the Democratic party to coalesce with would be viewed as any less connected with the agenda of the pols they support than those who might support an independent candidacy. There wouldn't seem to be any more purity of motivation behind one base of support, than the other. Yet, some still associate 'grassroots' with maverick candidacies or political bids by outsiders.

Did Obama's grassroots cease to be authentic when he achieved office? I remember when his candidacy was seen as insurgent and outside of the party establishment; at least in comparisons made to other more established Democrats.

The reason I think many here gravitate around a board called 'Democratic' Underground in recognition of the kinship that we find with our progressive ideals within the Democratic party. Indeed, a good majority of votes for any progressive outsider will need to draw from the ranks of our Democratic coalition; from the party's 'grassroots'.

I agree that it's a mistake to dismiss the ideals expressed by those who identify their progressive politics outside of the party; outside of this Democratic-oriented forum. That progressive advocacy is essential to the character and direction of our coalition.

I also think, though, it's a mistake (as some do) to characterize support for our Democratic coalition or candidacies as an anathema to change. I see that support as a recognition of the traditional weakness of independent movements in attracting enough of a coalition of voters to win elections.

Outright rejection of a political establishment that is successful in attracting the necessary support to actually advance initiatives and ideals into action or law is self-defeating and isolating.

On the other hand, progressive politics that intends to inform, more than it's obsessed with 'winning' something or the other, can be a vital and essential exercise of the democratic process. Nothing changes in government without pressure, and politics that's always obsessed with what's popular or winning isn't going to project essential values or principles necessary to effect any insistent, progressive change.

I think we need to advantage our politics of every instigation of democracy to succeed. Understanding that need might help bring understanding and celebration of the myriad of motivations folks bring to this board; rather than catering to the derisiveness and suspicion which often threatens to divide us; even on issues which we mostly agree with each other.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 05:36 PM

14. I think the difference is where they are each coming from

Hillary is a globalist and corporatist and has no problem in the existing system of money running politics. Bernie wants to end all that so it is really "grass roots" (meaning people driven, not money driven).

I don't believe the people supporting Hillary have a real sense of who she is and what she stands for. Bernie has been absolutely consistent in his time in office. He does not sway his message depending on who he is talking to, or who is paying to promote him. He is a staunch supporter of the middle and lower classes. Hillary is a supporter of corporate and global policy. Although I think she tries to not expose that side of her as much as Bill did. Bill really hurt this country with some of his policies. I don't see her as being different from him.

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Response to passiveporcupine (Reply #14)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 06:11 PM

15. opinions about Hillary's politics aside

. . . I think it's an amazing statement that, after that huge presidential run of hers and all the time in the public eye that people who support Hillary don't 'have a real sense of who she is and what she stands for' . . . or that Sanders supporters are somehow better informed because of 'consistency' or whatever.

In keeping with the subject of the op, I think this is one perspective that may explain how one candidate's army of small donors and declared supporters can be regarded as nothing more than a tool of the establishment, and another less known, less popular candidate's support can be portrayed as sincere and unassailable.

I think it's a glaring fallacy to view or portray one supporter as 'grassroot' and the other as naive or uninformed. That attitude, expressed in conversations and debates here can lead to unnecessary divisiveness between folks who mostly agree on issues, if not on the policies of their respective candidates.

I prefer leaving characterizations of candidate supporters out of our debates, altogether, if not to just keep from perpetuating generalized views of folks here like the one you expressed. Posters here aren't one-dimensional.

Here at DU, many of us tend to see and respond to differences of opinion among us in stark terms of right and left; progressive and conservative; Democrat and republican. Yet, we'd be hard-pressed to conduct our lives that way and still function. I know that some do try and make those distinctions in the real world.

It's been the ambition of the right-wing, for decades, to divide Americans among the ideological lines they draw between their own culture and the rest of the emerging populations based on exploiting social fears and promoting jingoistic nationalism.

The republicans have recently taken to appealing to their mostly white base of voters' fear of that emerging minority-class which is slated to dominate the workplace in this century. We saw that political resistance bubble-up during the nomination and election of the first black president. We saw republicans work to exploit fears of black domination of the political landscape by denigrating the registrars who were signing up black voters in record numbers.

The danger in all of that is the likelihood of regarding everyone we work with, live with, and relate with outside of here with the same, divisive, ideological perspective. I daresay, that's the ultimate aim of political manipulators and operators.

The fact is, most Americans have a myriad of issues and concerns which motivate them politically and otherwise. That shouldn't have to be vocalized, but there's been so much blurring of interests and ambitions surrounding elections that it bears saying.

Blacks aren't one-dimensional. Whites aren't one-dimensional. Liberals aren't one-dimensional. Conservatives aren't either. Certainly, in this political bubble that we enjoy here on this progressive message board, there are stark lines being drawn between viewpoints. I suppose all of that may need to be sorted out into these little ideological boxes we sometimes create to help us keep track of where we're coming from in our little discussions.

I'd wager, however, that the majority of the sorting out is just flat-out incorrect. It just stands to reason. We can't possibly be all that much less complex and thoughtful than the rest of the electorate. We think deeply and look for answers to confirm what we feel, experience, relate. We aren't one-dimensional, at least on this board, we're actually pretty well informed about our choices.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 28, 2014, 06:12 AM

18. One of the differences

among the larger groups that participate on this forum is between members of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Left. The Democratic Party consists of registered democrats, the majority of whom will always vote for a democrat. They view the political struggle in the context of the two-party system. There is, of course, a lot of truth in their position.

The Democratic Left includes some registered democrats, as well as a collection of people who identify themselves as being a Green, a socialist, a democratic socialist, as not belonging to any party, etc. They tend to view the two-party system as keeping the public trapped, by making most elections more about the lesser of two evils. And there is, of course, a lot of truth in their position.

The question becomes one of if these two sides (and I mean in the larger society) can find enough common ground for it to be in everyone's best interests to support a given candidate. When (including on DU) the position is taken that the Democratic Left has no other option, that is, of course, taking a group for granted.

When it comes to party loyalty, many on the Democratic Left have long enough memories to recall several presidential elections where a large number of conservative and even moderate democrats voted for republican presidential candidate -- Nixon in 1972, Reagan twice, etc. It would be difficult to convince the Democratic Left that they share common values with these democrats. But I suppose I should give some of our forum members credit for trying -- although I suspect they should be focusing more attention on their own ranks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 02:20 PM

6. The only thing which is permanent is change. DU has changed greatly around the issue that first


brought me here, legal equality for LGBT people. When I arrived many were openly hostile, several actually believed Obama was devoutly opposed to gay people, and the average 'moderate' here would gladly 'Straightsplain' that equality was 'impossible for a generation, don't let the perfect be the enemy of half a loaf, be pragmatic and give up' and they would do so endlessly.
It is good for people to meet those who are unlike themselves. It makes them think. That's why I come here.
It is difficult on some days not to laugh at the posters (and they are plentiful) who were raging against equality until the day Obama 'evolved' who instantly changed their opinion to fit with his. It was too obvious in some posters. I'm happy they now profess support, and that is sign that the liberal side of things always wins after we let the 'center and right' piss and moan and tell us how religious they are for a few weeks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 02:57 PM

7. K&R.

I joined sometime around maybe 2004. Not sure. I'd have to check.

The issues then were a little different. We had not yet left Iraq. Our economy was in trouble but no one was admitting it.

It isn't just DU that has changed. It's times. It's the country. It's the world. It's us. I personally have to admit that I have grown older. Many of us have. That's the way it goes.

Complaining about change is a waste of time but we all do it.

I am sometimes annoyed when someone posts a lot of stuff on DU that is so consistently the Democratic Party line that I think it is almost pure propaganda. I can think of one or two DUers who, in my opinion, do that. But I bet that if I named them, someone else would say that my two were OK, but look over there, those guys are the propagandists.

Tolerance is the key. We have to agree to disagree sometimes.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 03:25 PM

8. The biggest change in my opinion is on policy.


Policies that were raged against through the Bush admin are now defended and championed as wonderful things.

Growing is a part of life. Adopting Republican policies as positives because Obama continues them is insanity.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 03:42 PM

10. "people from the organized Democratic Party have attempted to use DU as a resource"

People on the DU always see things differently. For instance, I like this feature. Often times I read some outraged over something going on in the Democratic party and the media simply doesn't cover the Democratic position. Several posters clearly have access to party information and it is highly informative to know what the party thinks, what their rational is, and why it is doing what it is doing. I don't always agree with it, but honestly many times the DU is the only place you're going to find this information given to you in a clear manner.

The DU is, has been, and likely will be more liberal than the actual Democratic party. Some people long for purity in their politics and politicians others really do tote the party lines. But I really never see much change on the DU.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 03:44 PM

11. Always with the goddamned clear-eyed sharp-thinking wisdom.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 27, 2014, 04:15 PM

12. Groups and organizations evolve too.

And not always in a good way...in fact seldom.
Can you think of any group that has?...most of the ones of the past have disappeared completely or have become so mainstream they are not even recognizable.

And the ones that have been destroyed were destroyed from the inside, as the highly committed (or radical) elements come to power and want everyone to line up and march in lock step to any and all ideas they have for change.
And the results is that most of the rank and file who also want change get pissed at the bullying tactics of the leaders and just leave...and eventually all you have is the most radical ones who turn it into a cartoon organization that will have only a negative effect on the populous at large.

At least that is my opinion by observations going back to the 60s...and it seems to repeat itself...and because of it the GOP still is in charge no matter how crazy they are...because we show them we can be crazy too in the eyes of the voter...who then don't even bother to vote because they think both sides are nuts.
And the low voter turn out favors the GOP because they have the majority of radicals who always vote.

So IMO the key to losing elections is to piss as many people off as you can...divide and conquer always works.

And BTW the civil right movement succeeded because they did not fall for that one...and kept their eyes on the prize.

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