When we work together, we may not move mountains, but we block pipelines—a much more ecologically desirable outcome. In 2011, member Bill McKibben, environmentalist founder of 350.org, wrote “Um, thanks to all,” after Transcanada suspended the Keystone pipeline. “Back in the early days of the Keystone fight, it was hard to get anyone to pay attention. But when we wrote diaries at Kos, people helped spread the word and build the movement … I know that there have always been, and always will be, cynics about citizen movements. But today is not a day for cynicism; it’s a day to understand that we have power too.”
In 2018, Daily Kos members rallied in support of Native American voting rights in North Dakota after the Supreme Court permitted a Republican-backed voter ID law. A Daily Kos story challenged us to raise $100,000 for North Dakota Native Vote’s project to supply tribal citizens with documents meeting the new voter ID requirement. We exploded into action and flew past that initial target to raise over $500,000—enough to help North Dakota Native Vote establish itself as the state’s first dedicated Native get-out-the-vote organization.
While fundraising is an essential component of creating change, we donate because a cause aligns with our interests and having an impact seems doable. Action calls and donation requests choke our email inboxes, and it’s easier to “check all” and delete than it is to sort through the myriad appeals. However, if we understand the problem to be solved, we are more motivated to sign a petition, join a project action, or donate in support. A Community story about native prairie, for example, can strengthen readers’ understanding of threats to that ecosystem. Then, an email subject line screaming about damage to a prairie from a massive pipeline will get through to readers primed to be concerned, rather than shrugged off as one of a hundred such requests.
All of this is to say that your stories fuel our Community power, even when they don’t call for specific actions. Your stories offer perspectives that can make a difference. As McKibben reminds us, “we have power.”
Rescued Stories from Friday Oct. 9 7PM ET, to Friday Oct. 16, 7PM ET
The Community Spotlight group strengthens Community by rescuing your stories to encourage more readers, interactions, and discussions of your ideas. This week’s 14 stories include voting news from three nations, words of hope from members in China and Trump Country, plus a fast food worker’s warning. The 13 writers include two new members who joined Daily Kos and published their first stories the same day and one author with two stories rescued this week. One story that had 30 Recommendations and a handful of comments when posted to Community Spotlight, now has over 600 Recs and 357 comments.
Dawn Chorus: Birds of the National Bison Range by giddy thing guides readers on a hike through northwest Montana’s Bison Range, as the writer documents milkweed, breeding monarch butterflies, and an array of birds. Through photos and texts, she explores a mosaic of habitat types and associated wildlife. This story is part of a regular Sunday series from the Birds and Birdwatching group.
Out of the Fable Endlessly Weeping by DerguteAl is a poem celebrating poet Walt Whitman, and written in Whitman’s style. With lines that reference Whitman’s most famous poems, the author crafts an elegy about the tragic circumstances America finds itself in that parallel “Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,” Whitman’s famous lament for the death of Abraham Lincoln. “You must contain multitudes and dare, yes, dare, To imagine a dream.”
Ancient America: Effigy Mounds by Ojibwa delves into the history of mounds shaped like real and mythical animals that were constructed by ancient Americans between 600 CE to 1200 CE. “The effigy mounds are undoubtedly interesting cultural features on the landscape, but what do we know about the people who built them? Why did they build them? What importance did they have for native culture?”
New Zealand goes to the polls and Jacinda Ardern is surging towards a significant victory by smelly pirate presents a lively but robust analysis of issues playing into the New Zealand elections. This year could be record-setting because “Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party may be about to deliver the first ever majority government in New Zealand’s modern electoral history.”
The Language of the Night: Writing Fantasy by DrLori explores the reasons why people write fantasy. “Writers are half of the conversation; readers the other half. And the conversation takes place in a virtual space, one side supplying the words and the vision, and the other bringing the imagination that breathes life into the vision.” This is a regular Monday series from the Readers and Book Lovers group.
Don’t forget, much of the world is with you by Bluesoul,* is the first story from a new member who grew up in Europe and now works “for an American company as an ex-pat in China.” The author acknowledges the obstacles and fears we face in the U.S., as well as the uniqueness of American optimism and our place in the world. “I hope to remind you of what it is that truly makes your country great in the eyes of the world and that many of our thoughts are with you in this hardest of times.”
Election Day in Indonesia by Ajipon, an Indonesian member, describes that country’s “largest one day single system election in the world” to underscore the contention that the right to vote should be easy. Election Day is a national holiday that ends with everyone allowed to watch votes being counted. “(I)t is not perfect, with many issues that need solving. However, perhaps it might be an inspiration to improve how (an) election is conducted, even if it means one of the oldest (democracies) in the world is learning from one of the younger ones.”
“Message Sending” Voters? Hopeful Signs from Trump Country by dorothyinamity,* examines the remorse felt by 2016’s protest voters as reflected in yard signs and casual conversations. In their first story, this new member shares local observations. “My evidence is not a scientific poll, I use no survey methodology and I’m not even distantly related to Nate Silver. But if you want a sign, it’s in the signs.”
My Grandfather: “You Gotta Be Vulnerable, But Not Fragile” by john ak describes how his grandfather’s rural roadside tomato sale routine played out this year. The 30-year tradition involves neighbors stopping for good tomatoes and to argue about his grandfather’s liberal political positions. 2020 brought new perspectives that shattered tradition. “It was a sight to see when my grandfather got going … he looked like some sort of mad combination of an auctioneer and a ringmaster.“
Dear News Media: Here’s Where You Make It Up to America by Munchausen dives into the issue that won’t die, even though it never really had independent life because it was on life support from the beginning: Hillary’s emails. The author says, “The goal here, dear Media, as I’m sure you know, is for Pompeo to have Clinton’s e-mails swamp the news cycles for the next three weeks so that all of Trump’s scandals, investigations, COVID-19 failures and bad press are swept away.” They also issue a warning, and suggest an alternative approach.
The Weight of Non-Existence: ‘The Undocumented Americans’ by erunyauve contemplates the desaparecidos—the immigrants in the author’s neighborhood who haven’t been seen. Have they truly disappeared? What kind of lives do they have “those who do not exist, not on paper, not in our conscience … To be undocumented is not only to be without legal papers. It is to be untold.”
You Can’t Take My Job: An Impassioned Rant About the Fast Food Trenches by Ninalyn. A shift manager at Taco Bell details 10 reasons why “fast food is a lot more than flipping burgers” and is not a job anyone can do, as those arguing against raising minimum wage often declare. Long shifts (10 hours a day for the author) in fast-paced, hot work environments are just the beginning of the heavy demands. “There’s no such thing as ‘unskilled labor,’ only undervalued skills.”
Early Voting Will Save Our Republic (With Some Analysis) by James Wells argues for the value of early votes strongly favoring Biden to “create that overwhelming result, beyond the margin of cheating, before Election Day dawns.” The author includes data supporting a high percent of Democratic voter turnout and warns that we need to send a message so strong that Trump voters “decide, before Election Day, that the overwhelming judgment of history is known and cannot be overcome by chicanery or even violence.”
Precipice of a realigning Seventh Party System (warning current events in a historical context) by RWN presents evidence from four historic elections when “America redefined the political landscape and our nation … The purpose of this review is to underscore the value of history as a guidepost to our future. America and its democracy indeed go through fundamental changes in its make-up, from generation to generation.”
A Night For a Cracked Bell by Munchausen is the second story from this author that we rescued this week. It contrasts the dueling televised town halls from the two POTUS candidates and, by extension, the Democratic and Republican parties. Social media “has slyly been cultivating a schism in the collective psyche,” contends the author, and the result “cracked the nation into two realities; not mere political realities of opposing ideology or principle, but two realities like repulsing magnets; so divided, that the concepts of fact and fiction have become meaningless, left to go down like a twilight sun writing its will on the rug.”
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT).