For those who are new to this series, here’s a quick recap:
Some years ago, I’m told, there was a wonderful series called This Is My Best (TIMB), which encouraged Community members to share their own writing that they were most proud of, rather than the writing of others. One part self-promotion, one part self-confidence, all parts awesome, TIMB encourages writers to press pause on their role as their own worst critics and take some time to toot their own horns.
Let’s dive right in. As noted last week, these stories are intimate and reflective, deeply researched, and political. And they mean a lot to the people who wrote them. So give ’em a read!
And remember: If you don’t see your story below, we’ll be keeping the party going right up until our joyful 20th anniversary on May 26!
Why the debt limit fight will be a political face-off with no gimmicks or constitutional crisis (2013)
The title of this article is certainly long-winded. But it was an attempt to quell some of the hyperbolic and somewhat frantic arguments and concerns surrounding the debt limit face-off between President Obama and the Republicans in Congress.
For people who were not here at the time the Republicans were threatening to have our government default on its obligations by refusing to raise the debt limit. This was a major issue at the time. Raising the debt limit had always been done as a matter of course until the Republicans decided they could weaponize the issue, first with Bill Clinton and later with Barack Obama. By 2013 the Republican threats reach their zenith the president Obama stared them down ending not only that crisis but also republican attempts to use at in later dates.
I am highlighting this article because it attracted many informed comments and seems to have been appreciated by a large number of readers. It gave me an opportunity to talk about a subject that I had some familiarity with from my work in government and that enabled me to weave together politics and the law. Sometimes otherwise dry subjects can really be interesting when they are explained with sufficient detail and are made accessible to people with no background in the subject. I thought this article hit that sweet spot pretty well.
Resistance and joy: The story of Jacques Lusseyran (2006)
This is the first story I ever wrote for Daily Kos and I still think despite writing 771 stories over the years, it is my most heartfelt one. We are still here and we are still a vital community who gets things done. I celebrate us!
WYFP: Marry me (2013)
This is from a time when I hosted WYFP nine years ago, almost to the day. Mrs. algebrateacher and I are doing fine. I am retired now. We have been fixing up the house in preparation for the next lots-and-lots of years together because that’s what married people do.
Saving the republic: The Star Wars prequels finally make sense in the 2016 election (2016)
This piece on the looming authoritarian threat in 2016, as seen through the Star Wars prequels [is my best]. Because I was right. And because the Sith always return.
RIP, Dad (2008)
[It’s my best] because I cried while writing it.
[It] may not be the best thing I’ve ever written, but I think it really captured the joy we had with Obama’s re-election in 2012.
The futures of the GOP (2021)
Honestly, I think my first post is my favorite. I like it because 1) it helped me organize my thoughts for the video dialogue on which I was working at the time; and 2) it resulted in some interesting discussion.
My only regret is that I didn’t stick around right after posting so that I could have interacted with the commentariat. I posted it with the expectation that it would sink without trace, and wandered off for the rest of the day, but I woke up the next day to find a good discussion going on, with some thoughtful comments. I had wanted to be more of a participant and less of a lurker, and I’d blown it!
Oh well. Anyway, despite losing that chance for interaction, it remains my favorite. It’s a reminder that I shouldn’t underestimate myself. 🙂
Pow Wow (Commemorative for Matthew Gives Plenty) with my many feathered friends (2021)
Although it did not attract a lot of attention when originally published, I feel Pow Wow is an impactful diary on several counts. There is the obvious significance of the occasion on which it is based. For another, it is a different approach for my cultural activism by encouraging readers to participate in an interactive way and on their own level. It also helps bring focus to the importance of better understanding and protecting Indigenous culture. I defer to Meteor Blades’ comment that it “needs more eyes ..
CAMERON PROF (as BKSKINNER)
A white Jewish male: My perspective on why we all need to pay for slavery reparations (2020)
I have been lucky enough for a pretty dumb guy, to have been blessed with people on here that for some reason enjoy my writing. I have written many thousands of diaries on here first under my old handle of BFSkinner and now under my current one. Some diaries get 500 plus comments, I give myself a pat on the back and go on for another day.
The one diary, though, that I am most “proud” of writing reached far fewer eyeballs: 66 diary recs with 27 TJ recs. The diary was written in a topic I no longer broach on here, for multiple reasons: being Jewish. It talked about how I as a Jewish guy could find no other reason to not favor giving reoperations, it is a situation of a no-brainer. For all the work and the vast majority of that forced and undetpaid and underappreciated made by the black community we owe them.
The Daily Bucket: Friendly Seal is a mom !! (2016)
Everything I write is about nature and the environment. To me, humans are just a minor part of the world but the twisted perception we have of our importance is what’s led to pretty much all the problems that have emerged, from environmental to political to pandemic, you name it. My little diaries describe what I pay attention to in the natural world; I post them in the nature community groups Backyard Science (Daily Buckets) and Birds and Birdwatching (Dawn Choruses). We invite readers to join us daily and weekly — the comment threads are a great way to focus attention on Mother Earth and to honor her.
Here’s one diary dear to my heart, about a friend in my local bay. I call her Friendly Seal.
The Unfathomable Stupidity of Rich White Men (2020)
This was a fun one to write and obviously touched a nerve at the time (in the heat of the BLM protest movement) but I’m afraid my optimism about the BLM protests presaging a genuine revolution against our Pasty Plutocratic Patriarchy has proved unfounded.
Books That Changed My Life: The Brothers Karamazov (2014)
Though published years ago and when I was fairly new at posting on Daily Kos, this is (if not my best) the diary I would single out. And while the writing is rough and I have learned much since, the energy of the piece still moves me. Ostensibly about a book that changed my life, it is more a requiem on the death of my youngest, dearest brother.
The handbook for dissenting voices here on Daily Kos (2021)
I think it is my best because I believe it addresses a question that is at the very heart of why Daily Kos is unique. It asks how can we encourage writers to express ideas and feelings outside the Daily Kos mainstream. It doesn’t do it by asking the question directly but rather by providing an answer.
Calling bullshit on the fear mongers (2006)
I really kinda like this one, because it’s timeless: Republicans are still all and only about fear (which begets hatred), so most of this still applies. (Plus ngl, I loved it when we could drop f-bombs around here and nobody said boo, lol.)
LGBTQ Literature: Nonbinary ways of being (2021)
DK writers and commenters greatly aided my own gender exploration. This diary reviews four volumes of personal accounts by a variety of nonbinary individuals, with some reference to my own life. And with a coda in — how DK! —Cat pix. 😉 Both a thank you and the piece of writing here I’ve been most proud to own.
Mr. Roosevelt’s social insurance (2011)
I stumbled on this exhibit and the visuals were just so evocative of a long gone era, while the story still hits home.
That’s it for this week, so get to reading!
It’s not too late to submit your own TIMB story, of course. To make my job easier (and data entry much faster — give some love to Christopher Reeves for his help on that front), please use this format for your submission:
Linked title of story (year published)
A sentence or two in your own words—not an excerpt from the story — about why it’s your “best.”
See you in the comments!
RELATED: Daily Kos Turns 20: Let’s showcase our best work! Up next: The man who started it all — Kos himself
One more thing: If you’ve already submitted, there’s no need to do it again, and we are only accepting one story per person. And if you simply can’t narrow down your choice before comments close, we’ll be back with another installment (and opportunity to submit) next week, when I’ll have even more Community submissions.