This Will Always Be Home: A Tribute to the TPV Community
Wow, this guy is such a good writer!
Those were my exact thoughts roughly twenty months ago when I read the work of an author named Spandan from a little known blog called The People's View. At the time, I was a weekly contributor to PoliticusUSA and as much as I enjoyed contributing, I felt pigeonholed by the site's format and audience. While I was focusing on largely ignored stories from the week and seeing little traffic on my articles, other articles along the lines of "Sarah Palin Said Something Stupid Today" were generating much more site traffic and comments. Sure, it was important to point out Palin's idiocy, but it wasn't twenty times as important as a Republican governor intervening in shutting down an attempt to unionize an automobile plant in Tennessee. At least, that's how I saw the world. I began to wonder if maybe my worldview was off and if I should simply fall in line to compose articles that meant less to me personally and more toward a rabid pro-Democratic audience.
Then, I found The People's View.
And I had a chance to read not only Spandan but also Nancy, Liberal Librarian, and Allan Brauer. These weren't simply "Republican X Did Something Stupid" kind of articles, but these were thorough, insightful, and detailed articles that successfully synthesized a number of sources into one cohesive, powerful essay. I found myself reading the articles from TPV and thinking to myself, now those are the kind of articles I want to write. As I thought more and more about it, I began to realize that with enough practice I, too, could write those kinds of articles. On a whim, I emailed Spandan on a random February afternoon, introduced myself, and asked if I could contribute periodically. He agreed and was even kind enough to introduce me as a "prolific" writer when I wrote my first piece for TPV. I knew he was exaggerating that claim, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
Over the past 20 months, I've composed over 80 articles here at TPV. The writing started off as a hobby while I was teaching in southern California. A few months later when I transitioned into work at a progressive nonprofit doing fundraising, I was told I would have the opportunity to use my writing to help craft certain campaign messaging memos. However, this promise never came to fruition and my writing at TPV became an outlet as a way for me to express my views in a way that my job simply would not allow. After leaving my job at the nonprofit, I was between jobs and careers and needed something to do during the day to take my mind off my unemployment status. I gravitated toward writing, and despite dabbling with a couple other sites, I found that I was most passionate about both the content and the community found at TPV. As the calendar turned from 2015 to 2016, I began not only focusing on writing articles but also in distributing them through social media. The reasons for doing this were twofold: first, to help TPV make a name for itself in becoming one of the few progressive sites to vet Bernie Sanders and defend Hillary Clinton. And second, to see if there was any chance to potentially turn my political writing hobby into a full-time career.
As of today, both of those missions have been accomplished. Thanks to Spandan's eye for talent in bringing in additionally gifted writers such as Kris, Randy, JoPat, and Pru, the site has doubled in popularity and has earned the ire of many a simple-minded troll who has nothing better to do than try and disrupt our community. Our work has been picked up by other progressive blogs like Peter Daou's Blue Nation Review, we've been retweeted by TV personalities like MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid, we've become staples of the pro-Hillary wings of sites like Daily Kos, and we've even been censored by alleged "progressive" sites like Democratic Underground. We've become a refuge for Hillary supporters who have been demeaned and denigrated by Bernie Bros. And we've slowly and gradually helped to change the narrative of this Democratic primary and have shown what is possible when a community not only peacefully co-exists, but also when that community is smart, engaged, active, and willing to challenge misconceptions and misinformation both online and in-person.
For myself, it was inspiring to be part of a community that was able to create this kind of a difference. And so, for the past couple months, I've been applying to various campaign jobs in an attempt to put my passion to work and helping to ensure that Hillary Clinton become our next president and carry on President Barack Obama's legacy. As I interviewed, I not only shared TPV writing samples but I also described, in detail, various campaign issues, issues that I knew well not only from my own research but also from comments and links shared by the TPV community. Folks were impressed that I, as an unpaid blogger, would give up time and effort on something that didn't simply pay the bills. Yet for me, doing something that I enjoyed while simultaneously seeing if it could lead to a career, was a chance well worth taking. Even as my savings dried up, I had a feeling that I was on the right path for success.
That faith was rewarded earlier today as I was offered and accepted a field organizer position with the Florida Democratic Party. It will be long days and hard nights for the next five months, but I am fully on board to do everything in my power to make sure Donald J. Trump never sets foot inside The White House, not even for the visitors' tour. I am also proud and humbled to be given an opportunity to organize as my personal heroes like Gandhi, Mandela, Cesar Chavez, MLK, and Barack Obama all come from organizing backgrounds. I cannot imagine a more powerful profession than helping people realize they have a voice and that voice, if properly used, can help improve not only their lives but the lives of those in their communities as well. Doing that while simultaneously helping to ensure that Hillary Clinton is elected as our next president will be both the most challenging and rewarding work that I will ever do.
And so, I write to the TPV community today with a heavy heart. As excited as I am for this new opportunity, it also means that my contributions to the site will be greatly diminished over the next five months. I will bop in occasionally to comment, but unfortunately I simply won't be able to muster up the energy to compose an article after consistent fourteen-hour workdays. You all deserve top-quality essays and I have no doubt Spandan and his team will provide those for you. If there's any internal polling numbers for the Sunshine State that I'm allowed to share, I will certainly do so as I'll be on the ground with access to both polling and new voter registration data. At the very least, I hope to help keep Florida blue and to do it in a manner where it doesn't take a week or more to tabulate the state's final vote totals. The state also has an open Senate seat up for grabs which would look a whole lot better with a Democratic senator rather than a senator groomed by Marco Rubio. Needless to say, the eyes of the political world will be on my temporary home and I promise to do everything I can to make sure that those eyes end up witnessing a Democratic victory at the presidential and senatorial level on November 8th.
Lastly, I wanted to personally thank the TPV community for simply being the amazing people that you are. To Spandan, you're an even better person than you are a writer and that's saying something. Thank you for taking me into this community and entrusting it to me in your brief absence. Your vision and commitment to TPV is extraordinary and I know you will continue to maximize the site's impact moving forward. To Liberal Librarian, thank you for filling in for Spandan and being a dedicated and committed point man in his absence. To Nancy, Allan, Kris, JoPat, Randy, and Pru, thank you all for your contributions and know that I am in awe of all of you and the talents you possess. To the rest of you, thank you for inspiring me with your kind words as well as your knowledge of and commitment to the progressive movement in this country. I've said it before but I'll say it again: I know I learn more from you all than you learn from me and I'm not ashamed to admit that. You all bring a wealth of experience and expertise and I know that I am a better person from simply scrolling through the comments section each and every day. At PoliticusUSA, I wrote in spite of my audience. At TPV, I write because of my audience and I write because you all both seek out and deserve top-notch writing. I only hope I've met those expectations over these past 20 months.
As a good friend of mine said, "I don't believe in good-byes. I only believe in see you laters." This is not my goodbye, but is my see you later to my friends here at TPV. Keep fighting the good fight over the next five months no matter what shade of blue, red, or purple your state might be. Although I will be completely and utterly exhausted on November 8th, I promise to stop by and say hello, especially around 11 P.M. Eastern Time. I have a feeling that we'll be enjoying a special celebration at that hour.
And I can think of nobody else I'd rather celebrate with than all of you.
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