What happened to the Dead Armadillo Party?

Dear Fellow Dillo,

Until a few years ago I would not have described myself as a political person.  I have always voted – in presidential elections at least – but I never really delved much deeper than reading a few articles here and there and watching the news.   (“The news” was much different back then – remember when we basically had 3 channels?)  I was more conservative when I was younger, but I have gotten more liberal as I have gotten older.  I have always considered myself a moderate.

For the last several years though, I have started to get more and more concerned – as you have, I think -- about our political process and particularly what seems to me to be extreme and destructive polarization.

What can one little person in Waco, Texas, do about that?  Well, I didn’t know, but I felt like I needed to try to do some little something – so I started the Dead Dillo Facebook page and Facebook group.  Here’s what I said in the very first post on September 20, 2020:

“I'm starting a Facebook page for people who are interested in more moderate political conversation. I believe the real "polarization" in our country is not Democrat vs. Republican. I think those two points of view are necessary for healthy, balanced governing. I think the real polarization is people of both parties who insist on demonizing the other party and winning at all costs vs. people of both parties who are willing to listen to each other and hammer out ways that we can work together respectfully. I'm calling this group that wants to lean more toward moderation and civility, the "Dead Armadillos." It's based on a favorite sentiment (and eventually book title) from colorful liberal activist Jim Hightower: "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." Well, I'm proud to try to stay in the middle of the road, or at least to consider both sides of the road, so I guess that makes me a Dead Armadillo. Any more of you out there feeling the same way? Let's share resources and ideas! Honestly, it might be too late for this election -- still -- no time like the present for trying to improve our political conversations, and political results.”

And, lo and behold, 200+ of you were also interested and concerned enough to sign up!

What a great idea, right? I still think it’s a great idea – but almost immediately after I started it, I realized (a) it’s more complicated running a “moderate” discussion on Facebook than I thought, (b) the whole concept of “moderate” is more complicated than I thought, and (c) I didn’t have nearly as much time to work on it as I thought.  Ha!

I am still determined to figure out how to do some little something to contribute to more civil consideration of how to govern ourselves, but I now realize I need to flounder around a little bit to figure out what that might be.

My current experiment is to focus more time and thought on a Dead Armadillo blog.  I will be writing the blog, and I lean a little liberal, so I can’t promise that what I write will be right down the middle of the road.  But I can promise that I will do my best to be respectful of people who don’t share my opinions and that I will invite respectful discussion both pro and con.  My “plan” (and I use that word VERY loosely) is to see where this leads and to add features and make changes as I learn and have time and see what everyone finds most interesting and helpful.

I freely admit there will be quite a bit of floundering around as I figure out what I think, what issues I think I can address in a meaningful way, and what seems most helpful.  I would love to have you flounder along with me!  Here is the link if you would like to subscribe to the blog: Dead Armadillo Blog.  Come on!  What’s more fun than a little floundering?  -- ABT