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Gather 'round ye gentle readers. Yes. Come. Come along now. Don't be shy.

Come and warm yourself by my hearth, and get out of this..I guess...drizzly, rainy December Michigan "winter" "storm". Weary traveler, come and warm yourself and please partake of this tangerine Jel-O Shooter.

Let me tell you a tale of Daily Kos long past, back in the days of 190,000 user IDs. Not the early times. No. But before DailyKos 3.0 or is it 4.0 Or maybe 2.0. I don't know. But the point is...it was kind of a while back but not so long back. It was...it was a simpler time...late December 2008...

...Barack Obama had recently been elected, and Kossacks were hashing out the now cherished tradition of long Meta streams of Obama is Selling Us Out and Shut Up About Obama Selling Us Out diaries, and the No You Shut Up, and the Don't Tell Me to Shut Up, YOU Shut Up diaries, and so on.

That is when a Michigander with an infant and a young child in West Michigan started posting on Daily Kos. The economy had collapsed and did he know about Daily Kos? Did he know the significance of blog he had stumbled on? The community?

No.

No. He was just some guy who had never been politically minded who had seen work dry up in coastal West Michigan going through hard financial times.  He suddenly found himself a stay at home father with two young children while his wife, also recently unemployed, started a store on a shoestring because finding a job was extremely unlikely with hundreds of people applying to each.

We'll call this man, Kuskegon Kritic. Things felt like they were unraveling, and times were tough as all around him people lost their jobs and homes.

He posted angry, frustrated blogs here about how hard the economy had been. How much harder it was becoming. As the domestic auto industry hung in the balance and unemployment climbed into the 20% range, he tapped at his keyboard at night, venting into the Daily Kos day after day, assuming that nobody was really listening. Assuming, like everything else, it was an act of futility.

He had no idea. No idea that in fact, people were reading. People were listening.

How bizarre that a voice in the middle of a small industrial town, talking about local issues would get any notice at all? Or...that the people reading would give the fellow strength in a difficult time. That they'd become friends. From across the country. A supportive community.

Through the health care debates, he saw members of the Daily Kos work to push meaningful reform and legislation and he realized not only was there community here.....but empowerment.

Holy crap.

We can DO things. We can influence the world around us! Day after day, week after week, in an endless parade of words and diaries posted here on the Daily Kos. They weren't just empty gestures screamed into a can.....they're people DOING things. GUIDING the conversation. And POLICY. Activating voices around the country, around the state to get things done.

The blogger became inspired to join others in his city to start a non-profit organization in his town that works to bring renewable energy jobs and promote independent business in West Michigan.  He works at that every day. Working to help drag new industries and green energy into his state. Building support and public awareness that has helped lure 150 MW wind farm proposal to his community.

And largely because I realized...er...I mean HE realized from this community that it was possible. That we're not helpless. And we're not alone.

Because that's important. We aren't alone. We can compare notes and see a national pattern to the injustices in our lives, to the environmental changes going on in our communities.

There are many folks in the Daily Kos community working hard to improve our nation, our states, and our cities. And they come here because the Daily Kos community helps bind them together, give them strength, a voice, and support.

Now......put another log on that fire. Would you like another Jel-O shooter, gentle reader? Here.

This community is a special place. If you don't already have one, invest in a subscription to keep this community going.

Or, in the spirit of the holidays, give somebody a gift subscription...somebody who may be a good friend, or needs a friendly smile, or is in a rough patch.

Or if you'd like, you can just make a donation to keep the site moving along, making real and positive change in this country of ours.

And while you're at it...remember the local food bank and Toys for Tots this holiday season.

And hey...Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. and so on. I sincerely wish you the best.

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