Environmental and Political Activism…and Bullshit

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”.

6 responses to “Environmental and Political Activism…and Bullshit

  1. That’s true, you are less a liberal than people think…..Now, Nixon, there was a liberal:)

  2. How true 🙂 I can’t understand why more people don’t aspire to be like Nixon. Actually I think a lot of people do, minus the getting caught part.

  3. Actually face the nation almost never does anything to inspire me to do anything.i Read the “new” Woodward and Bernstein piece in the Post and they said very little about it on TV.

    I was not a Nixon fan, never voted for him, never trusted him and I absolutely rejoiced when he resigned. Thought that might surprise you.

    I am more of a centrist than anything else on many issues, except spending money one doesn’t have, taxes, “social justice” and capitalism. I am for humans right to chose, worship and speak without societal interference and I expect the same freedoms.

    I have never really been an unpaid activist, but I have dang sure been a hired gun::)) You gotta have real tough skin to suffer the slings and arrows…… it’s very much like being a town marshal in the old west. Once you clean out the “enemy” for the good citizens that hire you they come after you.

    Taking on ambitious environmental bureaucrats was a real eye opener for me. It’s often not really about the environment but about personal ambition for those that get the most publicity.

  4. pt, was that back in your “liberal” phase? Sadly, I think you’re quite right. I know a lot of “envionmentalists”, both volunteer and professional, who seem to do it more for the glory and the accolades. They probably started out believing in whatever cause it is but somehow lose sight of that. I am upset about what’s happening with DEP. Governor Scott, in the interest of “efficency”, merged DEP with the Department of Transportation. As the great, and now retired political reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Cotterell, said, thereby making one department responsible both for protecting the environment and paving it over.
    In addition to being on the Boards of an environmental organization and a business organization, I also find myself on an ad hoc committee examining the county Animal Control ordinance, specifically as it refers to tethering dogs. (Why do I get myself involved in this stuff?) My four fellow committee members want an outright ban, which just isn’t going to happen. I just wanted to tweak the ordinance, which is already quite good, so it made it more comfortable and safer for the dogs. Because you cannot stop people from doing it, even though we all think dogs should live in the house and get walked or let into a fenced yard when the owner is home. But you can’t force people to do or believe what you think is right. No amount of talking by the FL director of the Humae Society or the Director of Animal Control, convinces them otherwise. But they reserve their total condemnation for me. We’ve only had two meetings so far, and they have both been very depressing for me. Both times I’ve had to decompress by talking to my sister, who makes a great cheerleader 🙂 I’m not accustomed to being an object of scorn and derision, especailly since I just wanted to do something good.

  5. “But you can’t force people to do or believe what you think is right.”

    You mean you can’t legislate morality? Seems like I have heard that before.

    Once I was asked to represent the mullet fishermen in Steinhatchee. There was one of those constitutional amendments banning net fishing on the ballot. Mullet fishermen knew one way of life only and had no desire to change. They absolutely would not accept my insight that it was a statewide ballot and that it would clearly pass. When I suggested that they use the “leverage” of being adversely impacted to get some grants to take up oyster farming or fish farming I became the enemy. Meanwhile Cedar Key had significantly more success and became a center for clam farming.

    Here’s one for you, the definition of collaboration…….”an unnatural act, between non consenting partners.”

  6. Ah yes, pt, I see you know firsthand the designation of “enemy”.
    As for legislating morality, you can, in a sense. You can legislate behavior (example: school desegregation). I don’t really care what’s in people’s deepest hearts as long as they can’t act on those feelings. Who cares, really? Spewing vitriol is disgusting, but not ultimately harmful in the way that behavior is.
    I have a very close friend whose father was a Birmingham police officer in the Bull Connor days. He’s now 80, and can barely go out at all because everywhere he goes, there are “too many niggers”. So he is increasingly isolated. His heart is a very hellish place, but the only one hurt by it is him. As it should be.

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