The old lessons are still the best ones. 

Christy kicked off an invitation to lurkers to introduce themselves this morning.  It turned into a party, sharing many recipes perfect for large family gatherings.  It also prompted this comment from Organic George:

I thought I would be the only lurker at [Yearly]Kos. Much to my surprise about 1/4 of the attendees were like me.

One of the impressions I came away with was that Kos was a close knit community and FDL was a close knit family.

DailyKos is a larger community than ours, and so it includes many extended "families" together.  But it’s undeniable that the FDL community comes together like a family.  Everyone who attended the FDL Caucus in Las Vegas at YearlyKos felt it.

Today, Jane is on her way to Oklahoma because her mother is very sick.  Keep her mother and the whole family in your prayers.  What will happen among the rest of us while Jane is taking care of first priorities?  We’ll do what families do:  come together to take care of each other, and take care of her in the best way we can.  Many guest writers will dazzle us, pitching in to provide a platform for community discussion and action while Jane is gone.  They will come from within our FDL community and from elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere.  Because across many progressive sites, that’s what we do.  We come together.  Progressives have real family values.

Family values are not about dividing people.  They are not about obsessing over what Mom and Dad do when the door is closed.  Or Mom and Mom.  Or Dad and Dad.  Family values are about protecting actual families, taking care of each member and recognizing that we’re all in this together.

That does not mean we won’t fight.  Sometimes we fight here on the site.  Then we move on and get over it.  That’s what healthy families do, and the progressive movement is truly shaping up to become a vibrant, healthy, sometimes colorful, always fun extended family.  

It’s incredibly significant that progressives are actually building a progressive culture all across the country.  It’s not just about politics.  It’s about people coming together to form personal ties based on common values, a belief in the common good.  Drinking Liberally and Laughing Liberally are part of this.  We’re developing a nascent progressive pop culture. 

More and more on this site, you see we’re talking about entertainment and music and movies and recipes:  that’s not a waste of time.  Families don’t just talk about politics.  Familes have fun together, too. I’ve even noticed some of our Roots Project groups coming together just to socialize, even making July 4th plans together.  What could possibly be more natural than that? (To join the Roots Project, send an email to stateproject at gmail dot com with the name of your home state in the subject line).

I chose a Depression era family picture for a reason.  The politics that brought us out of the Depression involved Americans coming together with real family values:  finding ways to unleash human talent through work, providing security for the old and infirm, creating the minimum wage and enhacing protections for working families. What was the result?  Decades of unprecedented social and economic prosperity. 

On the other hand, the Reagan era ushered in an "everybody’s on their own" ethic.  Reaganomics appealed not to the common good but to base, individualistic greed ("Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. . . especially for the uber-rich.  Your kids can pay the bill!").  Since then, with the exception of the fiscally responsible Clinton era, international competition has been kicking our collective ass.  When our vast store of human talent is supressed through bad economics, family insecurity and unaffordable health care, all of us suffer.

Conservatives don’t value families.  They fail to recognize that human capital (human talent) creates other forms of capital, which then fuels economic growth for all.  By gutting our foundations in public education and basic economic security, too many talented people have to fight just to survive, rather than grow, thrive, innovate and create the prosperous new industries of the future.  Letting big corporations write special interest laws to guard their turf is quintessentially anti-family.  That’s one of the countless reasons net neutrality really matters.

Americans need real family values, values that bring us all together, rather than divide us.  There is perhaps nothing more important for each of us to do than to continue to build our progressive extended family through getting to know each other, reaching out to each other socially.  Then we can step in to help each other when any one of us needs an extra hand, as Jane and her family do this week.

After all, that’s what families do. They love each other, defend each other, take care of each other, fight with each other, and most of all, fight for each other. And as Christy pointed out in her post entitled, "Pull Up A Chair," ours is not a closed family system.  You can surely join us. 

We’d really like you to.