Tag Archives: liberals

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”.

Political Differences

It’s amazing to me how many people I know or encounter casually who think that politics don’t matter in their personal lives.  I marvel.  Now of course, we have the tea-partiers who have suddenly woken up to the fact that politics do matter, and that they have a right to speak out about things they disagree with.  No matter how stupid and uniformed they are.  They have the right to be stupid and uninformed and protest about the things they are stupid and uninformed about.  That’s actually quite fine with me.  I’m not fine at all with people carrying signs that say, “We came unarmed…this time.”

But I am really talking about the disconnect between people who are able to have relationships with others when their political and social views are completely opposed.  What does it matter?, they say.  It’s only politics.  I can’t even grasp that. 

Let’s just take for example my friend Brenda, who has recently become involved with a guy who is originally from New York state.  After a couple of months now, she’s discovered that he’s a racist.  Her solution was to say…don’t say things like that around me any more.  Problem solved, right?  As long as we don’t talk about your personal racism, we can’t have a conflict.  I cannot get that.  Even if you don’t talk about it, it’s still there. 

Now let’s take me for an example.  I’ve had a friendship with a guy for 6 months who initially described himself as a Conservative.  (Kiss of death in my book.)  The last time I saw him, he said he isn’t really a Conservative.  He’s more of a Libertarian.  He’s a Conservative with Libertarian leanings.  (Can you have a double kiss of death?)  And the time before that, he informed me that I’m not really a liberal.  I’m a Conservative with Liberal leanings.  This so amuses me.  You could practically see his mind whirring, trying to redefine me in such a way that he could accept me.  And remaking himself.  Perhaps he thought that Libertarian would be more acceptable to me.  Please!  Spare yourself! 

Maybe this is why I am so bereft of relationships.  You have to agree with me intellectually first.  Everybody else I know seems to be able to put that aside.  So I guess it’s just me, but it is for sure me.  We have to be there first, otherwise I’m totally uninterested in how handsome, sexy, and attentive you are.  Not that handsome, sexy, and attentive is much of a combination I encounter often.  I can usually get two out of three…but no more.

Sign Me Up

It’s amazing to me how much trouble I can get myself into just by commenting on a blog on my hometown newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat.  Wait…hang on.  I seem to have misplaced my membership card in the American Communist Party.  Okay, whew.  There it was in my wallet, between my driver’s license and my voter registration card.  For those of you who don’t really know me, let me take all the fun out of this and say:  I’m kidding.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party, Mr. McCarthy. 

As a known liberal…oh wait.  I have to go look for my ID card.  Okay, can’t find it…you will just have to take my word for it. 

On the Democrat there is a lively and outraged discussion going on about the fact that Bill Ayers is about to come speak at Florida State University.  Protest! , they urge!  Don’t give FSU any money!  I must admit that I enjoy seeing people on the “other side” reduced to such tactics.  It is so totally comforting  to see these people be in the minority. 

So today, one of the wacko conspiracy theorist people (which is about all that’s left on the TD) said that I apparently must harbor secret sympathies with Bill Ayers.  Maybe that’s because I said it was okay with me if he spoke at FSU.  I guess he missed the part where I said I agree that Ayers was a terrorist, that he is unrepentant and in denial, and that I think he is a despicable person. 

Well, you know how it is.  Once a liberal, always a liberal.  Meanwhile, if you find my Liberal ID card, would you please mail it back to me?  Otherwise, I’ll have to sign up all over again.