I’ve been writing for FDL for about a year now and I’ve actually been staying at Jane Hamsher’s house for just a bit longer than that.
What I’ve learned during my time here is that the FDL spirit of giving, and giving back, and giving just a little bit more comes from the top and that at the top you’ll find a poodle pile. If you’ve been a frequent reader of this blog at any point over the last 10 years you know that Jane’s dogs mean the world to her. Around this time last year one of those dogs, and one of the most generous souls I’ve ever met, passed away.
Katie was a fighter.
Given 3 months to live after a cancer diagnosis; Katie beat out expectations by well over a year and several months with a spunk that couldn’t help but inspire anyone who met her. She was tough. I met her shortly after Dogen arrived at the Hamsher household and the scrappy pup who is now INFAMOUS neighborhood-wide for his fence jumping, door busting, dog chasing, and butt nipping shenanigans was no match for the old lady. She’d mount him on her shaky legs to assert dominance the way that dogs do– by humping. Dogen knew better than to question her authority and so he would stand there awkwardly quasi-rolling his eyes until the canine ritual was over and he could find something to chew on with a preference given to Kevin Gosztola’s shoes. Katie looked hilarious engaging in her shaky thrusts but as much as I laughed a part of me was always in awe. She was here and- diagnosis or not- as long as she was here she was going to give it her all. If that meant humping the puppy than dammit that’s what she was going to do!
In her final days I saw what a will to live looks like. She’d shake off being coddled to go stand outside and just feel the wind. Remarkable doesn’t even begin to describe her.
She didn’t go until she was ready and she did it on her terms.
I’m guessing if you ask Jane, Katie’s strength isn’t something she would even begin to claim to take credit for but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In light of the outpouring of support shown by the FDL community during these DDOS attacks, I’ve found myself thinking about Katie.
I started this post with the intention of writing about the time my boyfriend Mike and I delivered, on behalf of FDL, boxes of leftover Occupy clothing to a homeless shelter in NYC that caters to gay youth . The clothes were collecting dust in Jane’s basement and rather than let them go unused for another winter, and inspired by an idea from our friend Lt. Dan Choi, we all teamed up and delivered the clothing to an incredible organization called New Alternatives in New York City.
The unloading process was going slowly as we carried giant stuffed boxes up a flight of stairs to be stored in unused choir rafters. Mike and I were joined by a handful of New Alternative volunteers and realizing the need for help; someone ran over to the gay bar next door to see if anyone would be willing to lend a hand. 8 men and 10 minutes later the choir rafters were packed with boxes worth of hats and gloves and pants and jackets and fleece blankets that would all be distributed to homeless gay youth as they braved a New York winter. We were referred to New Alternatives by a friend of mine who was able to turn to them for help when he himself was on the streets as a teenager. The entire back and forth was part of a cycle of people contributing; working to help the next person, be in a better position to be able to help the next.
That’s really the point now isn’t it.
Firedoglake strives to help people.
I’ve seen it. It’s not for clicks and it’s certainly not for money– it’s embedded in the very culture of this site and it’s done without a whole lot of fanfare. Whether it’s delivering hard facts, defending whistle blowers or lending a hand to unexpected friends– this is a community that takes care of each other.
The idea that a series of DDoS attacks and a handful of tech bills might be enough to stop what’s being built here makes me want to quasi-roll my eyes Dogen style.
This challenge is small peas compared to what this community is capable of achieving- and that’s just it, challenges can be overcome.
The world is changing and while we’re encouraged to change with it; to acquiesce certain rights and to accept certain inevitabilities, the fact remains that there’s always more fight left in all of us.
So with that I encourage you to donate, to be good to each other, to rock the shit out of every day you’re given and to never let the puppy get the upper-hand.