Sadly, this follow up to my initial reports on working in my local Democratic Central Committee will not be an optimistic or hopeful story because I feel like Floki, one of the main characters in the TV Series Vikings  who is also an historical person and the first Norseman to deliberately sail to Iceland

Floki has a dream of creating a new world but his dream quickly fades as strife among the new settlers’ causes a death- Floki is devastated. He blames himself, that he was not effective as a leader. While I am certainly not equal to Floki in leadership or cultural perspective, I feel that I too have failed. My intentions in joining were to see if I could weave my own brand of open, positive discussion without insulting, type of communication into an older paradigm. It hasn’t worked. The bickering and dysfunction are still there, possibly worse. We now have a civil war within our tiny microcosm of the Democratic Party. I have no way of comparing our committee to other committee’s across the state or country. I do know that what I see in social media indicates that our local group likely represents a snap shot of the bigger picture. Somehow, I could not find the right words and actions to express to my fellow members that we should try to rise above bickering and arguing and attempt rational conversation in determining the path forward, somehow, my message of being open and transparent has turned into a mockery. My fellow members are sending scathing ‘shut up’ messages to me, accusing me of manipulation and fostering Wasserman-Shultz tactics and using ‘my position’ to compel the local public to vote my way. As if I have any sway on anyone- hell, I can’t even get my kids to clean their bedrooms!

Perhaps you are thinking, “That’s just the way it is.” “That’s politics.” “That’s how humans are.” Maybe you are correct but aren’t statements like that really resignation? Aren’t we really saying, “There is no point in attempting.”? If that’s how humans are then why does it feel so uncomfortable? Why did Floki feel like a failure? It’s uncomfortable to me because I put in work and my effort was met with disappointment and no progress. Actually, that’s a lie- it’s not uncomfortable, it’s disheartening and discouraging and depressing. I joined the Central Committee because I wanted to work on changing the outlook for my children and grandchildren. I see them struggle almost daily in one way or another in ways I never had to. I didn’t have crippling student debt, constant lay-off concerns, low job and salary prospects, or out of reach housing prices. The American Dream was relatively easy for my generation to achieve, but not so for millennials. We have so many serious issues facing us, locally (forests dying, drought), statewide (drought, loss of farm land, affordable housing), countrywide (extreme weather, housing, poverty, racism, sexism) and it is daunting. I thought to follow the adage, “think globally, act locally”, but even that does not seem to work.

And what is the serious issue that is causing this rift? Whether or not we should openly discuss candidate qualifications. That’s it. We are fighting about whether or not we should DISCUSS candidates, whether we should keep our evaluation of the candidates’ qualifications to ourselves individually or whether we should share our evaluations among each other. Seriously. We are arguing about whether or not to have an open conversation, that's it, and one member is threatening to sue another member over this battle. Yea, that’s what the Democrats in my community are arguing about while our Bylaws express that our stated purpose is: Identify, recruit, develop, interview, ENDORSE, SUPPORT and elect Democratic candidates for local partisan and non-partisan public office.” We are fighting about having an open conversation.

I do not know what it takes to convince people to work together for the common good and clearly my theory and philosophy of open communication, “let’s just sit down and talk about this in a rational way” is not the answer. So I have failed in my mission and I am contemplating resigning. I guess the need to do battle ingrained in our mind is stronger than the desire to live peacefully. If ever there was a time for us to work together in unity, yea, I said unity, I thought it was now, but I guess we need more damage to our culture and more destruction to our world and more war before we will work together.

Please read my fellow author’s piece on Russian Collusion and ask yourself if you still want to see Democrats fight among themselves, or should we be unified (yes, I used the word unity- it isn’t a 4 letter word).

Another good read that may help you understand the need for civil discussion and compromise is, Collapse by Jared Diamond.

“Collapse arose as an attempt to understand why so many past societies collapsed, leaving behind ruined or abandoned temples, pyramids, and monuments as romantic mysteries to baffle subsequent visitors and modern tourists.  Why did societies that were as powerful as the Khmer Empire, and as brilliantly creative as the Maya, abandon the sites into which they had invested such enormous effort for so many centuries?  Archaeological and paleoclimatic studies of recent decades have documented a role of environmental factors in many of these collapses.”

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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  • "If ever there was a time for us to work together in unity, yea, I said unity, I thought it was now, but I guess we need more damage to our culture and more destruction to our world and more war before we will work together."
    Oh, Deborah, I hear that. And you are right about the disheartening/discouraging/depressing effects of it all, too. I am bewildered by people who only hear what they want to hear, and only talk about what they believe to be true - no debate, no open discussion, just bickering.

    P. S. UNITY is a beautiful thing... a dying beauty, I fear.