Reading the Daily Kos’ Community's stories through the whipsaw events of the past few months has been enlightening. As Besame has noted before, when a crisis hits, we tend to come together to share and reflect on the events that are shaping history even as we live them. When a crisis resolves, especially when the resolution benefits people, our attention moves quickly to new challenges. After all, we're a community of activists, and it's the role of the activist to push change.
The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris signaled a deep sigh of relief, like a breath held so long that the lungs burn. We gave ourselves permission to feel good, and to enjoy that feeling while knowing that there's a lot more work to be done before democracy is secure. Violent fascism continues to threaten us, and we have the chance to turn our country—finally—toward the path of fulfilling the promise of America for all our citizens, redressing past sins, and extending equality to all.
That's how this week started. But if you want to know how it's going, I have three words for you: Senate impeachment trial.
When the Senate gaveled into session and the trial began, you could sense the mood shift and the tension ratchet up on Daily Kos. I doubt that last week most of us were really aware of the level of violence, the intimate involvement of the former president in both planning and execution, or the terrible trauma inflicted on all the people who found themselves under attack. But we know now. And we're watching—still watching.
This week's rescued stories are presented chronologically. See if you can spot when the trial started.
10 RESCUED STORIES FROM 4PM EST FRIDAY Feb. 5 TO 4PM FRIDAY FEB. 12, 2021
Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover great 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.
"Alone with his thoughts, he felt a rising sense of rage and fear, combined with a feeling of helplessness. He tried to suppress it, but it kept coming back." In “Changes,” Bankshot writes of Mr. Finley, an elderly widower who is grieving, worn down by time, habitually angry, and casually racist, yet clueless about the socialism that brought him the Social Security and Medicare that his life depends on. Bankshot has authored 17 stories, this being their first rescue.
In “Occult & Psychical Sciences: The Tragicall Hifstory of Dr. John Dee, Part 1 of 2,” Clio2 weaves the story of John Dee, whom history remembers mostly as a counselor of Elizabeth I. Dee was a magician and alchemist around the history of his time. "No solid career path existed for learned men in Elizabeth’s England, outside of the clergy. Dee’s activities earned only fees for particular projects, inherently unreliable. He was continually petitioning the Queen for a pension, or for some ecclesiastical position, to provide a solid, steady income." In her carefully researched biography, Clio2 explains the practices of alchemy and divination as precursors to the scientific method as well as the tools of the charlatan and fraud. The story of Dee's precarious career as court magician and queen's counselor concludes next week. “Occult and Psychical Sciences on DK” explores all phenomena spooky and occult. Clio2 has authored 190 stories for Daily Kos.
Through text and illustration, skralyx explains the natural science behind why “The Big Dipper rises, heralding the approach of Spring.” The Big Dipper has been important throughout history because it points the way to Polaris, the North Star, pointing the enslaved toward freedom as surely as it gave mariners a steady reference point in the early nights of navigation. "The North Star can tell us a lot more than simply which way north is. It’s directly above the Earth’s spin axis, so if you’re at the North Pole, it’s directly overhead, and if you’re at the Equator, it's right on the horizon. But if you’re in between those two, you can measure the angle from the horizon to the North Star, and voilà! That is your latitude." Skralyx, who writes often about science, joined the Daily Kos Community in 2005 and has published 408 stories, with 39 rescued.
Bisleybum celebrates “Tiny things” that grow in the shadow of bigger things. A trip to the University of Tennessee Forest Resources Research and Education Center is an opportunity to meander down trails that feature their "own ecological niche, whether an oak-hickory population or a rhododendron cove. These weren’t your everyday suburban trees. In just over the span of a year I learned to identify almost four dozen trees by bark or leaf. Bit by bit though, my eye would be caught, as the seasons changed, by other patches of green." These patches of green led the author to look for "the tiniest of plants, the ones you would easily overlook unless you are specifically looking for them." Bisleybum has been a member of the Community for 10 years. Of their 102 stories, 12 have been rescued.
Enoch Ro0t, a retired engineer who restores antique tools and often writes about their craftsmanship, explains the working and operation of an unusual brand of block plane in “Forgotten tools: Chaplin's patented planes, 1872-1914.” While sharing the beauty and utility of the tools, the author points to the diversity of tools available from many companies in the past, now narrowed due to corporate buyouts and mechanization. "I’ve been intrigued by the ingenious ways some of the smaller 19th-century plane manufacturers worked around the patents held by the major players of the day." Enoch Ro0t takes these unusual planes apart to display their utility as tools and their beauty as works of art, and compares their relative strengths as essential to a woodworker. The author has published 37 diaries. This is his 10th rescue.
Laurel in CA explains how Davis, California, is marshaling community resources and town/gown cooperation to combat the pandemic in “Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic: a campus-community partnership in Davis, CA.” She writes that thanks to the Healthy Davis Together project, "Our efforts have worked so far to keep Davis’ case count low relative to other nearby communities. Even our nursing homes and retirement communities have escaped major outbreaks, with only a handful of cases reported. The university is adding vaccine capability to its testing sites and mobile vans as fast as vaccines become available." Davis offers a model for other blended communities to pool resources and achieve better coverage for everyone. A retired medical school professor, Laurel in CA has authored 52 stories, with nine of them rescued.
“Faster than a public bus, more persistent than a carpooler, able to leap long traffic lines in a single light. Look! Out in the street—it’s a dog, it’s a lawn chair; no, it’s the Iron Tortoise! Yes, (a) strange cyclist from another consciousness, with powers of perseverance far beyond those of ordinary bikers; and who, disguised as a mild-mannered seismic analyst astride his trusty steed, fights a never-ending battle for road space, justice, and a less motorized way of life.” In this the first installment of an adventure, solo-biking 480 miles around the Nevada Test Site to raise support for the ban of nuclear testing, Iron Tortoise recounts the “Iron Tortoise origin story --- 1989 Nevada Peace Ride, Part 1.” A prolific writer since joining the Community in March 2020, Iron Tortoise has authored 301 stories.
Psychusa identifies an overlooked source of inspiration for Donald Trump's peculiar brand of fascist showmanship in “Trump, Republican lies, and wrestling bad guys.” A fan of professional wrestling in childhood, "as I grew up, like most of us, I realized that it was all a put on fantasy and violence in real life was no joke." Still, the author observes that many adults fall into the easy good/evil soap opera drama in which professional wrestling traffics, and further, that Trump is a master of the negative face of that soap opera. "Make no mistake about it, Trump and his Republican enablers hold a monopoly on organizing around the dark side of human emotions, and would make even (Vince) McMahon jealous. In that respect, it still compares in many ways to the appeal of wrestling." Psychusa has authored 43 stories for the community, this being the first rescue.
In a Spanish-language book club of Latinx readers, plus one Spaniard and a Kiwi, Senorjoel relates how two members brought into the discussion Black writers who changed their lives. Weaving together Amanda Gorman and Langston Hughes, "Song of Spain," and the impeachment trial, the author meditates on how some can be “Waving a flag and mouthing rot,” and asks us to remember "our compatriots who have stood for the greater good. People like policeman Eugene Goodman. Like John Lewis and Cori Bush. And our artists, writers, and poets." Senorjoel writes on a wide variety of topics and has published 52 stories since joining in 2016.
Manny Payne takes us down a personal Valentine’s Day path with humor and pathos in “A smile, a laugh, a chuckle on me as I go SEARCHING FOR VALENTINE'S DAY.” The vignettes range from cajoling a boyfriend who thought the event was politically incorrect into “getting swept away by capitalism just this once,” to delivering a card to another boyfriend only to stick it under the door of the wrong house and get irked with him for not responding. The days, over the years, have been bittersweet, but the accumulation of them and lessons learned along the way remind us that even secret attempts at thoughtfulness can have long-lasting impacts. Manny Payne has been a Kossack for just over a year, and this is their first story and first rescue.
In “45 words,” outsidethelines closely parses Donald Trump's tweet on Jan. 6 telling his supporters to go home. The analysis reveals Trump's mastery of rhetoric and consistent use of religious language to incite outrage and justify violence, ultimately explaining why these 45 words are a "message which straddles that day, Jan. 6, from the four to five years of Trump and right-wing messaging before, and for many years to come." Outsidethelines has published seven stories, with this being their first rescue.
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) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 6:30PM ET (3:30PM PT).