My take: On How {d}emocracy Works

I started this as a comment to SD's new "hearts and halo" photoshop post. My "comment" took on a life of it's own - flowing uncontrollably out my fingers - and soon it was no longer a comment. It was a blog post. Some thoughts here echo what's been touched on by Robert P., momo and others. [AND ... at the end, there's an invitation to join us today at the Johnston County Democratic Party headquarters in Clayton.]

This, the week of the Photoshop flames at bluenc, with the Edwards pics and "Dear John," letters from SD has been amazing to watch - in a GOOD way. Seriously. I've seen more new posters at bluenc in the past week than I have since I started reading here.

More below the fold ... much more. :)

I don't know much, but it seems to me that a little good natured controversy is no bad thing when it motivates long time lurkers and regulars from other sites to jump in and lay down their two cents on a subject. Honest to goodness friends - any politician who can't deal rationally and congenially with the sort of ribbing that happened here over the last week is not gonna be worth much when he/she gets to the Lege, or Congress, or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and runs into ignoramouses like Johnny Hoodwink, Bill O'Lielly, Chrissy Mathews or Rusty Limpnoodle. You and I both know that what our Dem party needs - more than anything - is more THICK SKIN, more SPINE and more ATTITUDE. Folks do not vote for people they do not respect. They do not respect people who can't argue a point with strength, conviction, and attitude where necessary. You need a dose of congeniality and humor mixed in there, too. I reckon what I'm describing here is the definition of a Leader. It's hard to put a finger on what makes a woman or a man a Leader, but you darn sure know one when you see one. (Republicans have had some trouble with a seriously malfunctioning Leader-radar lately. We're still praying for them.)

Great ideas are wonderful. Great plans and agendas are excellent and necessary (and foreign to the GOP, but that's a whole nuther post), but ideas and plans will not make the skinniest little bit of difference without the SPINE, RESOLVE, CONFIDENCE and ATTITUDE necessary to follow through and fight to make those ideas and plans work for the people and the America we love. Democratic leaders, listen up. I'll say it again: Regular workaday people do not vote for people they do not respect. We can handle a politician we don't always agree with. We cannot handle a politician with a floppy spine. A politician with a floppy spine is about as useful as a teat on a boar hog. No offense to boar hogs.

Every progressive who's been reading at bluenc for more than a few weeks knows this: SD rocks; SD has backbone and great ideas; SD takes nothing from nobody just because it's the standard pre-packaged mush we're supposed to accept from the big dogs in the upper echelons; and SD makes a difference.

Some folks who didn't like the first Edwards photoshop, nonetheless know and love and deeply respect SD, whether every post is agreed with or not. They looked past the photoshop, realized SD's argument was solid, and THEY took the responsibility of joining in the call here, and at other blogs and websites, to get Kissell added to that OAC Congressional list. And it worked. :) And all I can say is Amen and Halleluia.

In a system like ours, where politics is the means we use to build and maintain our government, and where our government is "of the people, by the people", this is all a part of the beautiful dance of democracy. It seems to me that this is how grassroots politics works. This is not how it "should" work. This is how grassroots DOES work when it's functioning at all. Period. I would submit that the netroots is just a new branch of the grassroots tree for the brave new modern far-flung suburban world.

To everyone who posted their opinion, and I mean everyone - thank you. I've very much enjoyed reading everyone's opinion - the good, the bad and the ugly. Admittedly, I winced for SD a few times, as a few posts were a bit out of line. But as long as the players bow to one another in respect at the end of the match, all is well, and we move on. I was honestly mostly jazzed by the sheer volume of new commenters who were motivated to jump up, jump in and have a say - for better or worse. I honestly think this is true democracy, boys and girls, and it is a BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL thing to see.

You see, I'm new to this - relatively. I'm just one of the little people - one of the 40+ hours a week workers who gets a rush every time I hear the smart-as-heck, REAL progressive named John Edwards, speak. I am one of the many many quiet, headnodding Edwards fans. Me and my tiny little fiscal footprint were donating monthly to his Pres campaign long ago. I've read his book and I saved his bumper sticker. Just one Presidential election prior to that, I was just about totally apolitical. I liked Clinton and I like Gore (more now than ever) and voted for both of them. But mostly I thought the jokers running for office under the Democratic or GOP flag gave me and my kind not much more than a second thought. We can only assume that none of them have the first clue what our lives are like out here in middle-America-land - slipping down little bit by little bit under the ignats GOP economic "genius" of every Republican administration since Johnson.

Then, I heard John Edwards speak in the early days of his first Presidential run. I cannot remember where - probably a news clip the first time. I've been a supporter ever since. But I don't want what happened to Clinton to happen to him. I don't want him to go mushy on middle-American economic concerns like Clinton did. I want him to remain who he is now when he becomes President. Strong, firm and clear, but gracious. For that to happen, he has to know that the folks who like him are more than willing stand beside him and tell him that he too is mortal - just another American, no better, no worse. A good man, a good woman, appreciates a friend who is willing to hold their friend to their word and to their honor. That's what happened here this week. And John Edwards came through. He proved his word good and his honor intact. He also proved that he is just another American, no better, no worse. That is a refreshing thing to see.

So, for everyone out there on the progressive Internets reading all this stuff, here's an invitation: Come on down and visit the Democratic Reunion event here in Johnston County today and meet our Democratic candidates. We're ten minutes from Garner and twenty minutes from West Raleigh. If you want to talk with the good folks in the party who do the canvassing and phone calling and GOTV work in Johnston, come to downtown Clayton anytime today, July 29th, from 9am-6pm. You can stay and have dinner at one of our great little downtown restaurants afterwards, too. Go to to find the address for the Democratic party office on Main Street. Or pass the website on to your friends in Johnston County. The biggest part of grassroots politics is face to face. :) There will be precinct training in Smithfield August 26th. Get details at the website: See y'all soon!!



Thanks for the insightful roundup. You're absolutely right about SD, and right about John Edwards. If we can't take this kind of friendly jabbing, then our skins are definitely too thin. Thanks!


Wow...just, wow!

You are inspired and inspiring. Thank you for the kind words.

Edwards supporters all seem to have a tremendous amount of passion about his prospective candidacy. Some of the OAC commenters hadn't seen that just days ago I had given my heart to Edwards (so to speak). Had I linked to that I think they would have been able to put the post a little more into perspective. I have really, really thick skin and I expect some people to push back. I would be disappointed if they didn't.

Personally, I think it ended in the best way possible, but I would have supported John Edwards regardless of the outcome. He'd just have to settle for a plain picture - no halos and hearts.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


I better get a move on. There's others wiser (much wiser and more effective) than me at the JCDP office today, but if I don't get my arse in the shower and over there pronto I'll never live it down!! :) See y'all there!!

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


Leslie, I'm gonna swipe this and post it in a diary at OAC. This is really awesome!

Please come join the conversation at OAC blog