I’m Boycotting My Local Democratic Party Monthly Meeting
I have decided to boycott tonight’s monthly meeting of Democratic Party leadership in my county, in order to write and publish this Op. Ed. instead.
You see, I am done with the infighting.
I really am.
Since taking the helm as Captain of this publication, County Democrat Reader, I have been witness to travails and deeds which would mar the uninitiated.
I am the uninitiated.
I’m a baby, in Party terms, having only joined officially last year. Sure, I have worked for the West Wing’s Communication Office, via Organizing For America, for one sitting President, to help pass what is now known as Obamacare. Sure, I worked my first campaign cycle as a prepubescent for Senator Mark Hatfield. Sure, I was Co-Campaign Manager for a successful Portland Public School tax base increase measure that flooded our district with much needed funds — as a junior in high school. And so on.
However, I am still the uninitiated.
People in our leadership group have been on such vicious attacks, and counterattacks, and counter-counterattacks, that to list details here would not only potentially make me a perpetrator of libel and slander (at least until actually occuring litigation would clear me), to do so would also make me a hyprocrite in that I would be committing the crime to which I am attempting herein to call out.
Trust me, though, if I were to list events here, there is no soap opera or reality show that could compare in terms of ongoing dramatic, and horrifically damaging, effect.
This is unfortunate, because we have the fight of our collective lifetimes on our hands in 2020, and there is So Much Work to be done if we, the rationals (not GOP, *Democrats or devotees of a particular issue or candidate, but the vanguards of rational thinking for our day) are to save our democracy, and from there, save the world.
Haughty words, distant concepts, perhaps. Or are they?
I work in a concrete yard, outside, rain or shine, dealing with 395 pound cement setting forms, periphery equipment and heavy machinery. I really love the crew I work with, as we labor to exhaustion every single day. Just this week, an 800 pound iron brace fell on my foot (my right big toe is still numb, and blackened), a wooden form support fell on my thigh causing a bruise the size of a cantaloupe, I nearly broke my wrist hefting a bundle of corner plates into one customer’s truck bed, and pinched my fingers so many times I cannot count and find it tough to even type this piece.
But I love it. I do work which makes grown people cry. I know, because I’ve seen it, several times, right before the various folks have left the jobsite early, and never come back.
I love to work, I’m lucky, and I feel honored and fortunate to work with a crew that includes a convict, or two, a war hero from the Army, and a mechanically-minded savant who can diagnose malfunctions and issue repair instructions by asking just a few questions, never seeing the particular object needing to be fixed, and never charging a cent for doing so. We speak a different language, out in the yard, but at the end of the day, despite our differences, we get an enormous amount or work done that is chartably successful.
Our lives depend upon it.
We cannot survive without jobs. Our company cannot survive without the work we do for our customers. The city architects and contractors cannot build without the services our customers provide.
I am so exhausted at the end of each day, especially at my no-longer-young age, that my domicile is a complete wreck — I have no energy left to take care of these basic things, especially after an additional few hours daily wrangling with the County Democrat Reader responsibilities. (Sorry, Mom.)
Today, however, I was consumed with sorrow about, of all things, a mating pair of swallows that usually hang out with me all day. Yesterday, it became apparent they had been building their nest, and had laid eggs, in a stack of forms the crew were reconditioning for a customer order coming up. I had to leave early for an appointment, so I wondered, privately, how the situation would play out in my absence; my inability to defend their nest from my co-workers, without telling them. You see, I feed these swallows, some finches, crows, rabbits and rats, each day part of my lunch. Well, mostly half. They struggle so hard to survive through the clanking din of metal forms, our hammerings, use of Round-Up pesticide on the grounds, and an ever diminishing habitat that finds them begging for help from an animal-wise animal lover sucker who probably needed to diet, anyway.
I have grown to love my animal friends at work, and after a professional career that has kept me mostly confined to a cubicle, I am gratefully engaged with these little, kind, intelligent creatures who are so delicate and nice to me. They are so nice to me, and are completely unable to comprehend the consistent flow of evil acts, consciously and unconsciously, brought against them by humans, disregard being chief among them.
They are so innocent.
My friends, the swallows, left the yard, for good. Their nest was discovered, and their hatchlings were killed. A coworker kindly let me know, apparently he’d been paying more attention to me than I’d presumed.
How is this germane to an article written by the Editor-in-chief of a political magazine, you wonder?
Because they remind me, profoundly, of the UN study that was released this week warning that one million species of life now face extinction because of irresponsible and preventable human impact on the environment.
This, my reader, is what we are up against. It’s far beyond the Trump White House, which surely is in its waning days. Far beyond the Kremlin, which, because of the weak choice of teaming with Trump, has been internationally exposed.
We are quite literally fighting for the survival of this planet.
And my local Dems, God love them all, their passions intact, are damaging each other as if pawns manipulated directly as planned by the GOP Playbook on how to win the election in 2020.
It is so frigging sad.
Since being named to this role, which I have fulfilled, and will continue to fulfill, to my best ability, I have been asked to bury stories, impinge the free speech and open forum I feel is the core of our charter, take sides on various issues, or with the good people for which they are championed. I have resisted all such calls, unapologetically. Even the Chair of the State Democratic Party slipped me a text commending my diplomacy, which I appreciated very much.
As I see it, however, I have no choice. I serve not only the county leadership group of the Democratic Party, arguably the most influential in my state, but all Democrats beyond our group, and thusly am obligated to maintain only the channel through which their voices can be heard, fiercely and diligently. I must be like Switzerland if my integrity, more importantly that of County Democrat Reader, is to remain intact. I am married to no other thing than keeping this channel open, and free of my personal bias.
Other than this issue of infighting, because it so entirely defeats the purpose for which we gather and fight.
So please let my absence from tonight’s contentious meeting (and from what I gather from peers across the country, your tonight’s contentious meeting, wherever that may be) send this message: We cannot continue to fight, and debilitatingly damage, each other this way and expect to win in 2020.
And we must win.
Our lives depend upon it.