Welcome to The Donkey Bench. We're a brand new blog catering to the leftward leaning that seeks to open a dialogue on the most divisive issues facing the country. It is no coincidence that this site opened immediately after the 2016 election, and we believe that it is time for both parties to take a long, hard look at the platforms that got us here. When we say "divisive," we do not mean sensational. While we will, at times, touch on extreme points and inflammatory social issues, the deeper argument this blog advances is that the left and the right have drifted so far from the center that we now find ourselves in a political climate that serves, at best, half the population at any given time. We think that needs to change. That change cannot be contingent on campaign cycles but must come from a constant, honest, and sometimes vulgar dialogue on the most basic issues.
What's in a name
When I was managing a team in Poland for a US-based financial services company, I had to move several of my employees to a small corner desk to accommodate the arrival of a batch of new employees. One of those moved later said to me in a one-on-one meeting, "So what, we are now on the donkey bench?" I was thoroughly baffled, unable to connect the idiom to anything in my past experience. After some discussion, we discovered that the Polish equivalent of the "dunce cap" or "dunce" loosely translates to "the donkey bench." It refers to the benches at the front of old Polish classrooms where poorly behaved children would have to sit out their sentences for the enjoyment of their peers. It bears the connotation of one having been sidelined, set aside for wrongdoing to be both humiliated and ignored all at the same time.
I can think of no better metaphor for the state of liberalism in the wake of the 2016 elections. We are all on the donkey bench, sitting out our sentence. Still, we are not powerless, nor are we compromised. It is the way we spend our time on the bench that will determine our potential when at least we are released.