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Community Spotlight: We’re back to normal, whatever that is. How could things still be so alarming?

In last week’s edition, DrLori grouped the nearly two dozen rescued stories into categories, including Messaging, Governance, and Social Justice. All but one (Insurrection) could suit any time in the past century. It doesn’t take a fortune teller to see this as a sign we are settling back into Daily Kos’ normal patterns. Our focus on longstanding issues and current events persists, as does our comfort and delight in simple pleasures. The patterns I see in the rescued stories since Jan. 20 reveal a resilient Community.

In the Rescue roundup edition two weeks ago, I asked about your recovery from our four-year-long resistance. Of the 718 poll responses, over half (443) claimed to have recovered, while 205 people were still burning off stress biochemicals before springing into action again. Only 51 people remained wrapped in warm blankets watching Bridgerton (Lupin, WandaVision). Does this recovery mean we’ve returned to normal?

The dictionary definition of normal is “the usual state,” however what “usual” do we mean? We’re not going back to that Obama-era, idealized normal, when it seemed we could enact crucial changes, or to the GOP’s idealized normal, when white men were in charge and all women served the patriarchy. Reading the patterns formed by this week’s rescued stories, I saw a normal range of topics—politics, economics, science, arts, and human experience—and dreamed up my own category labels. Big problems haven’t vanished, newer alarms like QAnon are deeper than initially suspected, but normal doesn’t mean problem-free. We Rescue Rangers appreciate the shift from a spurt of heated outrage stories triggered by 2 a.m. tweets to our Daily Kos-normal. How do you define YOUR personal normal? Check out the poll below and let us know whose expression most aligns with yours.

16 Rescued Stories from 4 p.m. EST Friday Jan. 29 to 4 p.m. EST Friday Feb. 5, 2021

Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome 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.

CLIMATE CHAOS

First-time writer MattJ570 is a dairy farmer in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. In Farmers stare down the barrel of climate change, MattJ570 recounts the challenging local weather conditions over the last two years: The wettest year on record was followed by an exceptionally dry year, in which everyone’s corn died before harvest. The author points out that the drastic swing and the amplitude of changes are the real problems. Wet years are wetter and dry years are drier, creating a roller coaster of weather changes from year to year. Big Ag companies and trade groups have joined the climate change bandwagon because they see the impact on food production. “It’s time y’all. The National Corn Growers Association has a climate task force. The USDA set up climate hubs throughout the U.S. to help farmers make their operations more sustainable. The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action released a report in September stating climate goals.” MattJ570 has been a Kossack for four months.

CARLYLE’S DISMAL SCIENCE

Stock market as computer game by Thutmose V taps into the drama swirling around Gamestop and Reddit. Thutmose V addresses risks and dangers of the financial markets and how manipulation can lead to crises. “The people in r/WallStreetBets seem to be at least partly motivated by a desire to punish the financial industry for its bloated influence on our country … These hedge funds and the people who own them are arrogant and believe their own hype about how their riches gained from parasitic finance are deserved.” Thutmose V joined in 2008 and has published 136 stories with 13 rescued.

How a basic income begins to heal social division by Wpmiller takes a thoughtful approach to exploring economic roots of the resentment fueling our current political divide. The author identifies the root as a fundamental fear, not for survival, but for survival advantage: Others not like me are coming to usurp my position and take my resources.” Resentment and the vanishing middle class are key drivers, and the fundamental question about using basic income as a general remediation isn’t “Can we afford it?” but rather, “Can we afford not to do it?” Wpmiller joined in 2014 and has written 41 stories, with five rescued.

BISMARK’S ART OF THE POSSIBLE

New member ejbSFO asks the 10 GOP Senators who offered up a “compromise” relief plan “Why on earth should anyone compromise with you?” and then answers in Compromise? With you? No thanks. The author lists recent choices these senators made; for example, they stood idly by while their party was taken over by fringe elements, their party leader made shady deals with foreign dictators, and then failed to respond adequately to a threat that has killed over 400,000 people. “You offer the new administration the same thing you offer America: nothing. The 10 of you are morally bankrupt. You have nothing left to say. Your credibility was destroyed by the company you keep.” This is the second story and first rescue for ejbSFO, who joined in October 2020.

Politics is for grown-ups by grobertson examines why the U.S. needs a “measure of performance standard before (politicians) are allowed to enter into and remain in the political arena,” and suggests suitable criteria to use. “There is one thing for sure we should have learned since 2015: Politics is for grown-ups. Not a children’s game; not for those immature individuals who prefer to push and shove and bully their way, maintaining the advantage either by size or cunning or deceit, living as though they are superior, entitled, always able to keep the toy they deserve, never to share it with anyone else.” Grobertson joined in 2019 and has written 44 stories, with three rescued.

In 9/11, Iraq, 2008, Covid-19, Capitol riots (Oh my!) Or, The Republicans are not stupid, Cole The Philosopher identifies crucial events of this century that gave Americans an opportunity to learn the reality behind each event, but Republicans chose instead to create an alternate reality. “I remember the early days of the pandemic, when conspiracy theorists and virus denialists were fully exposed and fell flat on their face. I remember thinking that now, finally, people will move away from the blinders of conspiracy theories and find a new appreciation for scientific journals and peer-reviewed research.” This is the first rescue for Cole The Philosopher who joined in 2017 and has written 23 stories.

MOB VIOLENCE

We have met the enemy and they are us by elsaf examines the demographics of participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection and points out more of them were everyday middle-class white Americans than hardcore right-winger Proud Boys. “I look at these people and wonder how a group of people who, previous to being manipulated into participating in an insurrection based on a pack of obvious lies, were pretty successful at negotiating American life.” The author observes how bad information flows online and notes that the Daily Kos Community is not immune. “Even here on Daily Kos, how can I be certain that the latest GOP outrage that I’m reading about hasn’t been distorted to appeal to my emotions and cement me to this ‘clan’ so I’ll be ready to man the barricades against the ‘evil’ Republicans?” A longtime member, Elsaf joined in 2005 and has written 214 stories, with 22 rescued.

HUMAN RELATIONS

Words by Andrea D is a fictional account of the thoughts and feelings of a married couple after one of them comes out as transgender. Interspersed in the story are lyrics to Leon Russell’s  This Masquerade, which describes the tension, but doesn’t cover the causation of this situation. “It was the sixth or seventh time he had said (‘I’m sorry’) in the past two days; he’d lost count and she lost any real sympathy for him in the midst of her own pain. It almost felt as if in trying to downplay what he told her he amplified it to the blare of a klaxon horn. He looked down at himself in survey; hardly any change but for a simple turquoise bracelet on his left wrist and newly polished nails; clear but shiny.” Andrea D joined in 2012 and has written 78 stories, with 14 rescued.

‘And that made all the difference’ how the encouragement of a mentor or teacher can change history by ARodinFan explores “mentorship, and how the recognition and encouragement we get from a coach or teacher, or a friend, or lover or parent can make all the difference.” Using an example from their Ohio hometown, the author focuses on Jesse Owens and discovers “surprising personal family connections to history.” Through source texts and photos, ARodinFan traces the Owens family from Alabama to Cleveland, where Owens’ athletic skills were identified and nurtured, all the way to the athlete’s return from the 1936 Olympic Games historic win … and his action that inspired another future athlete, Harrison “Bones” Dillard. ARodinFan joined in 2016 and has written 224 stories, with 12 rescued.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Aviator Doc describes how his drive-through clinic is providing more than immunizations in Giving COVID-19 vaccinations is a spiritual experience. Despite being utterly exhausted after months of managing patients through the pandemic, the author and his critical care RN wife jumped at the chance to vaccinate people. He recounts the logistics of getting trained and organized, then turns reflective, describing how injecting the vaccine has been, as the title indicates, an almost spiritual experience. “We have all reached beyond the limits of endurance and are running on fumes. We all, as a community, as a people, as human beings, now need recharging, spiritually … We were literally washed in tears of happiness. Adult children who brought their elderly parents to be vaccinated began crying when we jabbed their arms.” Aviator Doc joined in 2013 and this is his first rescue.

Thai COVID-19 fail: A cautionary tale by Saevans60 relates the situations leading to Thailand falling into the “Corona sinkhole” when “previously undetected pockets of infection were discovered” in migrant labor communities associated with seafood processing. “Those workers, then, despised and undocumented, though supporting one of the main sectors of the Thai economy, did their best to remain invisible, especially from Thai officialdom, including the ample public health system.” Then, countrywide testing uncovered another, smaller, pocket associated with gambling, an illegal activity in Thailand that takes place in packed, “secretive close venues … Gambling is, if anything, even more popular among Thais than sex and drugs, so you get large numbers of sweaty, heavily-breathing, shouting men (mostly) jostling each other in small, poorly ventilated rooms, super-spreading.” Saevans60, who lives in Thailand, joined in 2007 and has written 11 stories, with four rescued.

COMFORT AND DELIGHT

In At the tone, the time will be 16 Hours, 38 Minutes, coordinated universal time, FlannelGuy celebrates tuning in the old fashioned way, using antique tube radios. Back when television was rare and channel options were limited, everyone had radios to scan the abundant A.M. and shortwave bands. “Finding international broadcasts, WTWW from Nashville, or even the Voice of America, can make for a fun diversion. One of my favorites is tuning into WWV, operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where it is all time, all the time.  Every minute you can hear the words ‘At the tone, xx hours, xx minutes, coordinated universal time.’ WWV celebrated their 100th birthday in 2019.” FlannelGuy joined in 2017 and has written 155 stories. This is their first rescue.

Liberaldad2  shares his list of the 14 songs he enjoyed the most in 2020 in A short respite from the news—a few of my favorite songs from the past harrowing year. This is not merely a list of titles and artists; liberaldad2 describes how the songs called to him. “So what constitutes a ‘best song?’ I have only one criterion—if I listen to a song 10 times and I am still saying, ‘wow, that was fun, let’s do it again,’ it goes on my list.” Using the provided links, we can discover if they also call to us. “Musicians this pandemic year were forced to create new musical forms defined by their isolation. And I was blessed with more time to seek out my favorite songs than in any previous year.” Liberaldad2 joined in 2014 and has written 139 stories, with 24 rescued.

Mrpiano shares “some syncopated musings from 45 years of professional pianistic prestidigitation,” in Pumping ivory. The author recalls what it was like to play some of the greats, with some of the greats, and the joy he brought to all who listened. He closes with words of advice from Liberace: “Love your audience, and they will love you back.” Mrpiano joined in 2007 and has written seven stories, with two rescued.

Nonlinear, a rancher in Alberta, Canada, takes us on a cold winter walk in Metaphysics, meteorology, and ecology. A cold morning, a winter walk. The author touches on domestic and wild animals of the ranch and how their needs are intertwined with the ecosystems and climate. “This land, this soil, these plants, the flowers and trees, insects and (other) animals have all evolved to survive the cold. Many have evolved to thrive in it. Not having the cold here messes with all the interlocking ecological cycles going on all around me.” Nonlinear joined in 2019 and has written 57 stories, with nine rescued.

Ed Tracey writes a fond tribute to an idiosyncratic ballpark, that once existed in New York City during the golden era of baseball, for a group that publishes daily at 7 p.m. Pacific time: Top Comments: the Polo Grounds edition.The first baseball tenant was the New York Metropolitans, an independent team who began play in 1880 and later joined the American Association.” He describes notable events that occurred during the site’s history before it was demolished in 1964 for apartment building construction. Ed joined in 2004 and has written 996 stories. His most recent rescue was Oct. 2020.

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).

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