Maryscott O’Connor is a blogging angel. In my battle against the Cult of Kos I never expected anyone to come to my aid. I never expected anyone to blog about my battle there. Which made me all the more amazed to discover yesterday that she’d written a powerful post, Something is Rotten in Blogmark at My Left Wing not only defending me and my Kos diary, but formulating my ideas much more persuasively and cogently than I had. She, of course, has been an intimate member of the Kos community and I haven’t. She knows much more about Kos than I. That’s why I was so pleased and amazed to read how well she framed and echoed my own thoughts:
The diary in question is civil, respectful and well-thought out. There is nothing offensive about it. There are no accusations, no undocumented claims. It is a sensible approach to the issue, which WILL NOT GO AWAY simply because some people don’t think Markos should be held to the standards that he WILL, ultimately, BE held to.
I’m sorry, but if you run a political website and if you have clout that results in lots of people following your lead and sending donations, if your endorsement translates to positive cash flow and footwork for candidates or causes by a large contingent of your website’s membership, then you MUST be transparent. You MUST, or you begin to lose credibility — or, put another way, there begins to be the “appearance of impropriety,” no matter how benign and blameless you may actually BE…
It’s not going to go away. The questions will continue to be asked. And, in my view, the worst possible approach is to respond to the questions with the kind of ludicrous defensiveness and childish displays in the aforementioned diary (at one point people were adding scatological and absurdly offensive tags to the diary itself).
This is what happens when you crash the gates. All of a sudden, you’re not just a pajama-clad kid in his parents’ basement; once you’ve demonstrated your power and influence, people start demanding accountability and transparency. They want to know, for instance, that you aren’t pushing a candidate MERELY because you (or your friends) have been paid by that candidate to do so. It LOOKS bad if you haven’t made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that this isn’t the case…
Which brings me back to the diary that inspired this: do people actually think that loudly and viciously attacking the questioners will make the questions go away? Is DKos supposed to remain a Doubt Free Bubble, where the big bad world and its realities are to be ignored when they do not fit a certain Fairy Tale outlook we wish to maintain about our “home?”
…I want to be able to open up someone’s well-written diary that brings up issues which make me uncomfortable, makes others uncomfortable — and read a levelheaded discussion thereof; perhaps passionate but still rational. I want to be able to declare myself a full-fledged member of the community of Daily Kos without having to QUALIFY that declaration.
I want to stop cringing in embarrassment — for DKos, for myself –every time I read a discussion of a hot button topic where the diarist falls into the minority opinion.
I blog about Israeli-Palestinian peace and I’ve become accustomed to far worse levels of vitriol than the DKos gnats hurled at me in my diary. Nevertheless, I would’ve thought that the progressive community wouldn’t feel the need to eat its young as some at DKos apparently feel the need to do. Why can’t progressives openly discuss tough issues about how we function in the world? Why can’t we question our behavior and try to do better? Why do people like me have to take shit because we’re trying to prevent problems from happening down the line to political bloggers who aren’t transparent enough about their political liaisons?
I only feel badly about one thing. Maryscott did a brave thing in taking on Kos’ acolytes. But she took some horrible shit for it. The insults flung at her where apparently as bad or worse than what they tossed my way. While I know she didn’t do this for me (but rather for the ideas I was trying to raise) I still feel badly that she went through the ringer in a far worse way than I.
I have received some really hateful bilge at this blog for my views. But I can’t remember anyone rising to my defense in as stirring a way before. I am deeply grateful to her both for her defense and for setting my (and her) ideas before a much wider audience than I could’ve done through this blog and my diary at DKos.
Among other choice things, Armando wrote at DKos that I am a “troll.” Undoubtedly he and his fellow thought police think I’m a Republican or at least Democratic fellow-traveler out to do their dirty work for them. They resent what I wrote as an attack on Kos and the left in general (neither of which it is or was meant to be). In fact, one commenter here thought I’d be proud that Mickey Kaus linked to my Cult of Kos post. All I can say is if the cretins who vandalized my tags, troll rated my diary comment and told me to blow my diary out my ass had thought better of their asinine behavior then I wouldn’t have written my post complaining of it, Maryscott wouldn’t have read it and written her own post, and Mickey Kaus would’ve found something else to pick on Kos about. They have only themselves to blame. Sometimes in life if you treat someone like shit you’ll be made to pay for it. This is one of those times. Not that Armando and his merry band of Kosites will see it that way. No doubt they feel infinitely comfortable in their smug self-righteousness. As Kos’ enforcers, they must feel they’re doing the greater good for the cause when in fact they’re injuring it.