Community Spotlight: The Daily Kos Community reacts to history in real time

We haven't gotten the chance to celebrate the victories of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff elections that, against the expectations of most pundits, delivered the Senate into Democratic hands and demoted Mitch McConnell to head of the minority. That great good news was immediately swallowed by the attempted violent overthrow of Congress.

In the earliest aftermath of any emergency, it's almost impossible to make sense of exactly what happened. This attack is no exception—what appeared at first to be a disorganized mob has, in the space of one short week, been revealed to be a coordinated attack, with elements reaching inside law enforcement, the military, and possibly the Congress itself. All of those threads will have to be traced and the perpetrators held accountable, starting with the President and Inciter-in-Chief himself.

Like the world's worst Polaroid, the full picture will take time to appear.

Fortunately, we have that time. The coup failed, but the price was high. We are only now learning that our government came within a hair's breadth of murderous collapse. The aftermath has left a revanchist Republican party in near-collapse and its malevolent leader howling as, first Twitter, then party support, then business and grifting opportunities and finally—and most woundingly—his treasured golfing creds were stripped from his grasp.

As Besame noted last week, the Daily Kos Community is acutely responsive to the news cycle, and when a crisis shakes the country, the Community pivots to analysis and reflection. Of the 14 rescued stories published this week, 12 focus in some way on the attack or its fallout.

There will be time to take account of it all. And time for the other paradigm shift to sink in: Senators Warnock and Ossoff will change the Senate, not only because their presence gives the Democrats the majority, but because of who they are—the legislation they will shape, the leadership they will assume, the moral force they will bring to bear. A better day is coming for the nation because of their victories. We'll have the chance to celebrate, even in the midst of crisis, exactly how monumental their victories were. Because they will likely be sworn in about the same time as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Biden administration will have the power to hold the planners and perpetrators of this attempted coup to full account, no matter where they are, or how powerful they think themselves to be.

And there'll be time to savor their victories. Let's not let that get lost.

Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover outstanding work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: ”Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years.” You also can find a link in Meteor Blades’ “Night Owls” series, which publishes daily between 10-11PM EST.


Why Impeach Again Now by dratler observes that President Trump’s first impeachment didn’t catch the public’s interest because Ukraine is a distant country and obstruction of justice requires some knowledge of the law. The attack on Congress, on the other hand, is a visceral and visible attack that can’t be explained away. “As time goes on, we are attending places of worship less and less often. The seat of our government—especially the Capitol—is our common secular temple. You can see the awe and reverence in the faces of tourists who visit our capital every day.” The attack on the Capitol was an attack on all Americans, and it demands a commensurate response. Dratler joined the Daily Kos community nearly five years ago and has authored 85 stories, five of which have been rescued.

In The Coming Crisis, Treats writes, “I’ve never wanted to be wrong about anything more than now.” Treats examines rise of American authoritarianism and warns that its power won’t wane when Trump is gone from public life. “We face in this country right now a long-term, vicious, and ruthless insurgency that will inflict all the terror they can on this nation in order to destabilize it to the point where in the chaos they can take permanent power.” Although its success is not assured, the author warns that we cannot ignore or minimize the dangers this faction poses. A nine-year Kossack “(s)till searching for that tidbit of truth and knowledge to be found here and there,” Treats has authored 31 stories, eight of which have been rescued.

In If you want the wound to heal, take the knife out of it first, LimeyExpatDave likens the United States to a wounded patient in a trauma ward. The assault on the Capitol, he argues, is not the knife-in-the-back moment for democracy, but is instead a deepening of the wound the country sustained the first time we did not demand accountability for a lawless government. “If these actors, the politicians and their followers, who lied, cheated and violated the law  to stab American democracy in the back, are allowed to escape consequences then the wound cannot heal. America has swept these people under the rug so many times that the rug is now within three feet of the ceiling and you’re crawling around on it on your hands and knees, dodging the light fixture!” A prolific commenter, LimeyExpatDave is the author of 43 stories. This is the first time the nearly 13-year Kossack has been rescued. 

Driving through a deep-red farm country on the way to Walmart and Tractor Supply, where Trump support is deep and stalwart, first-time writer and new Kossack YoniL notes a lack of Trump signs and Trump flags, and a proliferation of clean rectangles on vehicles, visible signs “indicating where bumper stickers had been removed. ‘Blue Lives Matter’ stickers were still there, but next to them you could see the tell-tale signs of newly exposed adhesive.” Republicans Denying Trump Faster than Peter Denied Jesus (not equating the two) is a grassroots peek into a new reality in Trump Country. It appears that his ardent supporters are now ready to say “Trump who?”

In The first lies … the ones we tell ourselves, vjr7121 reviews the lies that the media and punditry have told to soften the threat that the Trump regime posed to the country, and argues for a full investigation, accounting, and justice, on behalf of the public and the rule of law. The founding lie, however, is the one we all accepted: American exceptionalism, and the attendant idea that “we owed our ‘home teams’ support for even bad decisions and poor policies … The sickness is not a foreign pathogen and is not based on party affiliation, it is rooted in beliefs (of our nation’s founding).” Vjr7121, a retired educator, sometime writer, and full-time liberal, has written 164 stories for Daily Kos, 23 of which have been rescued.

Whytewolf explores the limits of free speech in the United States in Now More Than Ever: Why We Need the Exercise of Free Expression. Noting that free speech limits are more clearly defined in other Western democracies than they are in the U.S., and that we are unlikely to impose legal restraints on free speech without amending the Constitution, whytewolf considers the ways that absolutists abridge the right to free speech, and how those abuses can be countered. This is whytewolf’s eighth story, and the fourth to be rescued.

In The Road to Hell, A Pagan in Arizona recounts growing up in an evangelical church that always mixed right-wing politics with faith, and how after leaving the church, the author “didn't think about it much. Until 2016, when I started hearing Pastor What's His Name's rhetoric being repeated very often and very loudly. As if someone had exhumed his ideas and repeatedly dosed them with meth.” In a region where Trump flags are still flying, A Pagan in Arizona wonders whether the evangelical neighbors will agree that it was God’s will that Biden was elected. A new Kossack, A Pagan in Arizona is a “Flaming Liberal hedgewitch and artist” who has authored eight stories. This is the first one rescued.

Woodworker brings a change of pace and a somewhat change of subject in The transformative power of the arts. Realizing that “the Republican party has been the sanctuary for some time now for those we excuse as ‘harmless crazed folks’ when they come to the dinner tables of the sane,” Woodworker offers the example of an uncle who found healing in art, and counsels that, “When we craft useful beauty, we are also crafting something within ourselves. The transformation that can take place in wood (or through work in other materials) is also a transformation of self.” A 12-year member of the Daily Kos Community, Woodworker has authored 26 stories, three of which have been rescued.

New member and first-time writer Europeananalyst argues that Trump supporters are not delusional, but are instead determined to hold power at all cost in MAGA Mob does NOT believe in Election Fraud, they’re dishonest traitors.  Drawing from two Italian political mottos to explain what is happening with Trump supporters, the author speaks from the perspective of someone who "learned at an early age, dealing with the communists in my home country, that is pointless to argue with dishonest people." 

In the first true break of subject this week, Brecht captures that lightning-in-a-jar moment in writing in Write your own Bookchat in 2021. While encouraging other Kossacks to write about the books they love in the long-running series Bookchat series, he revisits his first crafted and polished story and its effect on him: “Writing offered me a physical toolkit to test and shape my ideas into more complex stories. A fine novel can be a grand loom, to lay out subtle and interwoven truths, in a rich tapestry of life,” and asks others to do the same. A member of the Daily Kos Community since 2005, Brecht has written 95 stories, 45 of which have been rescued. He resides in Los Angeles with extensive literature and music libraries.

In The House Members Who Voted in 3 Presidential Impeachments, billyleeblack16 takes a dive into impeachment history and finds that “nine House Republicans who voted to both impeach Bill Clinton over a blowjob ... voted against impeaching Donald Trump over inciting an armed insurrection against Congress,” to the astonishment of few indeed. One GOP congressman back in the day—Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan—voted to impeach Clinton, passed on Trump the first time, but voted to impeach the second time, ensuring Upton will be a piece of presidential trivia someday, as the only congressperson to vote to impeach two different presidents. Billyleeblack16, who is neither Billy, nor Lee, nor Black—nor 16 —has written 17 stories, four of which have been rescued.

Taking the aphorism “We are all the hero in the movie of our life” as a starting point, new CCommunity member theghostofjohndewey connects Frodo, Luke Skywalker, and the archetypal QAnon conspiracist under the umbrella of Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces. The "hero’s journey" is a three-part process that repeats in both modern stories and ancient myths. Theghostofjohndewey explains how the structure of Departure, Initiation and Return act in the monomyth of a QAnon conspiracist. It's not about what is real, but what that person believes is real. Q and The Hero’s Journey (A Shared Delusion) is the author’s fourth story and first rescue.

JenMerrill and her 21-year-old son Lucas rented a hotel and a car, and beat the pavement in Georgia for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, door-knocking and contacting voters face to face. What My Son and I Discovered When We Dipped Our Feet into Georgia Politics recounts their adventures talking to voters in Greene County, where they discovered the power of meeting voters where they live. In the end, they “decided we loved the African Americans of Greene County — the white people we encountered, not so much.” On Election Day, Lucas served as a poll watcher—the only Democratic poll watcher in a sea of Republicans who “almost managed to keep him out” but, in a nail-biter, didn’t. This is proud mom JenMerrill’s second story and first rescue.

Joe Biden will not be inaugurated Jan. 20 announces that, thanks to 100,000,000 write-in votes, the author comeaug will be president instead, and expects to hold office for about three weeks. If you hadn’t heard about the real election because the corporate media is in the bag for Biden and Harris. Extolling the benefits of being an outsider, comeaug promises “to use the Trump method to MAGA. First, I will make America really crappy, and then it will be easy to bring it back (I think).” Comeaug has authored 11 stories with this first-rate parody being the first rescue.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by Community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page.
  • You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE or using the link in Meteor Blades’ Night Owls open thread that publishes daily between 7-9PM Pacific time.

An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 6:30PM ET (3:30PM PT).

Community Spotlight: This week’s stories remind us why Daily Kos is more than a political website

Daily Kos publishes about a thousand stories each week, many written by Community members like you and me. It’s easy for stellar stories to get lost in that volume, which is why the Rescue Rangers assembled 14 years ago—to elevate good writing that deserves a bigger audience. The Rangers are a team of volunteers who read every single story that gets published. If you post a story, know that at least two sets of eyes will review it.

With the shift to the new front page, rescued stories are a bit trickier to locate, so we’ve created this roundup. You can also see the list of our stories as they are rescued day by day. Bésame’s introduction to this series was published last Saturday; it contains some history, some description of rescue criteria, and a lot of great conversation in the comments.

This week’s collection covers all rescues from Sept. 18 at 7PM ET through 7PM Sept. 25. These stories offer a broad range of topics, including polling, health care, and citizen action, along with some culture. That breadth is a unique strength of the Daily Kos Community.

Teachers, COVID-19 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 by LeftOfYou, a lawyer with decades of experience with the ADA, who shares insights into the complex issue of "reasonable accommodation.” Teaching in-person classes places people with certain health conditions at higher risk amid the pandemic, but the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides them with significant legal rights. 

La Mesilla by Desert Scientist explores the author's favorite small town in New Mexico. He writes: "My well over 50 years along the border I think qualifies me to be a certified desert rat. Unlike many Southwestern desert towns, which often look like they died somewhere around 1950 and are quietly melting into the ground, Mesilla was a fascinating place to visit." Details of the town's history and people make this a fascinating story to read.

Movie Review: Scream (1996) And Its Antecedents by disinterested spectator is a trip through the nuances of character development in horror movie remakes and sequels, Warning: It is an amazing collection of spoilers that analyzes the interactions of the people who populate movies in this genre. We get snippets from different movies, including Invasions of the Body Snatchers, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, and An American Werewolf in London as we journey through what characters do and know about themselves and the world—and how that impacts some characters’ fates.

Dawn Chorus: One yard, two worlds (worlds apart in 100 feet) by The Lipsticked Pig is a cheerful exploration of the two different worlds on opposite sides of the author’s mountain home. Photos and words illustrate how the wildlife in the backyard is different from the wildlife in the front, and the author asks “why.” Is it the feeders? Is it the plants?

"Doubt" and "A Wilderness of Error" by GrafZeppelin127 examines the 1970 story of Jeffrey MacDonald, a brutal murderer, through the ideas presented in the play/film Doubt. Can we ever really know what happened? Or is this story so embedded in our collective consciences that none of us can escape our own preconceived opinions?

Tzadik by guavaboy is a personal story inspired by reading a tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg that called her a tzadik—a Hebrew word for “a righteous person.” The author recalls an Israeli song which takes on new meaning, now that he understands a tzadik as RBG.

Mozilla Foundation takes a look at political ads on streaming platforms by Alonso Del Arte ponders the dilemma of targeted advertising. If you thought cutting the cable cord and paying to stream content would protect you from unwanted political advertising, think again. Your data could be used, according to the Mozilla Foundation, to target you for particular ads, including deceptive political promotions, on streaming platforms … with virtually no transparency.  

Let’s Blow Apart This Right Wing Talking Point Right Now by Bring the Lions is a rant that indeed does blow up whatever shred of logic underpins Sen. Mitch McConnell's position that the Senate had the right to deny a vote on President Obama’s SCOTUS candidate. The author considers how this kind of authority can extend into even more ludicrous positions.

The Beat Goes On by Jacks Grandpa considers the long-term effect of Supreme Court decisions in a historical context, such as the Dred Scott decision. Public opinion later changed legal decisions like that one, and that may happen again, even with a new hardline conservative Court.

A Democratic Party strategic plan for the next half-century by vjr7121 notes that the GOP race to replace RBG is not a surprise. The big task of progressives going forward, the author argues, must be to strengthen government institutions. Taking back the Senate is key, for several specific reasons.

Using the Dornsife Tracker to Demonstrate how Confidence Intervals Work by Denver11 gets into the details of how the USC Dornsife tracking poll for the 2020 election creates a more realistic view of public opinion than any single poll on a single day. The author illustrates this by “creating a real life, real time demonstration of how ‘margin of error’ or ‘confidence interval’ works in real life.” 

Lest we forget, here’s a partial list of Republicans endorsing Biden or who won’t vote for Trump… by O C Patriot delivers a startlingly long list of GOP defectors. Associated info, such as their government role and when they held it, adds weight and context to their disapproval of Trump.

Diary of a Phonebanker by iLuvReading is a personal essay on how phone banking has changed during the pandemic. The author explores their own questions about the effort, including “Why would I call people I’ve never met, knowing that they might say nasty things to me?  Why would I reach out to voters in states that I’ve never visited?  And why would I call for candidates who might not win?”

Return to the Partisan Divide Cafe by Grey Panther offers an uplifting piece of original prose that begins by focusing on the first sip of a good morning coffee, and ends with this pearl: "Living in the moment of a good thing, and not losing it to fret is a great start to any morning."

Isabel Wilkerson Takes a Deeper Look by Toddlerbob gives a personal dive into Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wilkerson’s analysis of how caste impacts our society in her newest book Caste, the Origins of Our Discontents. He makes connections to other books and media, while highlighting how well Wilkerson provided “lots of examples that the thinker can distill into concepts.”

Counting the Cost by ruleoflaw, who is scheduled for a kidney transplant soon, says "I am one of the fortunate ones. I get health insurance through my job and my employers have been very supportive and understanding … I am presently drawing short-term disability (paid) through them. All this is good news, but before I go under the knife, I’d like to show you the dirty underside of our health care system." He then delineates what his treatments cost and likely why his insurer quickly approved his transplant.

SCOTUS, Civ 4, and Spy Spam by Risen Tree considers what congressional Democrats can do to stop the confirmation of a third Trump-appointed Supreme Court justice. Adapting what he has learned from a game he calls "spy spam," the author suggests different stalling tactics. For example, the House can impeach Trump "over and over and over again" and for good measure, impeach others like AG Bill Barr and the postmaster general. The opposite tactic is needed in the Senate, where the transition of the articles of impeachment should be stalled.

Moody’s Analytics: A Democratic election sweep would be best for the economy by voidstuff discusses a new economic analysis showing "Democratic presidents outperform Republican presidents by every economic measure ... the economy always does better under Democrats because Democrats invest, Republicans cut … Obama’s worst year was better than Trump’s best year. “

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by Community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page.
  • You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE.

An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1PM ET (10AM PT).