I apologize for the crude reference there. But I couldn’t think of a better word.
I consider myself to be an environmentalist, and I am mildly politically active. I’m much more moderate than most people think I am; I get labeled leftist or “progressive” much more often than I think is warranted. But I consider that a kind of GWB attitude, “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us”. In the political climate of today, everyone gets lumped into one category or the other. There no longer is a “middle”. One of my friends once paid me the ultimate compliment. He said, I know you aren’t really a liberal. Ha! Yes, I am, which I don’t find to be equivalent to “spawn of Satan”.
So, I’m a member of a listserv (wow…ancient) and there is a guy on there who is what I consider to be a professional activist. Nice work if you can get it. I’d admire him if it weren’t for this fact: he has begun to harangue people for not doing enough. If he hadn’t started down that path, I never would have said anything, especially since we are all unfailingly polite to each other there.
I absolutely hate professional activists who are ready to hop on any issue that bears any resemblance to something they care about, or think they should. I’m not even sure “Bob” actually cares about anything. He just glories in being a contrarian.
Here’s an example for you. My neighborhood and others fought Walmart for two years. Lots of meetings. Lots of dissension. It was exhausting. We had to appear several times before official bodies, chiefly the Board of Adjustment and Appeals, which was the precursor to the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners where the approval would ultimately be approved or disapproved.
At what I think was the final meeting of the BOAA, “Bob” shows up. He didn’t say anything, but I think he thought he was lending his star power to our side. Really, Bob, we could have done without you–but now he gets to say he opposed Walmart? I don’t think so.
At that final meeting of the BOAA, I spoke, even though I could barely speak. I was undergoing radiation therapy at the time. I had laryngitis which would just not go away. My theory was that my body was so busy trying to counteract the effects of radiation that it didn’t have time to pay attention to my laryngitis. The radiation oncologist said I was probably right.
The point here being that you can’t out-activist me. I have so far resisted mentioning that on the listserv. I don’t want to get into any kind of battle over who is more dedicated. But egotists make me crazy.
So today, “Bob” posted that Face the Nation and the Washington Post were very inspiring today. The listserv owner/moderator replied, You need to be a little more specific about what you consider inspiring. What exactly was it? Commodity prices drop? Nixon was worse than we thought?
Perhaps I managed to chip a little crack in the dam of “Unfailingly polite”.