What makes someone an “activist?” In the political sense it is about taking some action to effect change. My blogs are mostly political writing. I do it regularly. And I am drawn to other blogs that have “production predictability.”
Is voting “activist?” I suppose it is if you have researched the issues and candidates, and do not cast a vote in a race or issue with which you are unfamiliar. And I tell my family and friends what I think about politics if they bring it up. I am a bit shy that way. What are some other distinguishing activist traits?
Activists learn it in their families. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. blogged yesterday at The Huffington Post about “The last stubborn holdouts on global warming.” This quote echoes his late father’s poetic voice:
Nature has achieved a balance that has been relatively stable for 20,000 years. The reliable milestones of its annual rhythms–like flowers blooming and robins returning in the spring, and animals hibernating in winter–form the pulse and fabric of the passing years. They connect us to our history, give context to our communities and form the foundation of American culture, our art, literature, poetry and architecture.
Activist professionals facilitate their volunteers and members. The Sierra Club’s executive director, Carl Pope, is a professional activist whose leadership energizes and equips citizen activists for their own work. Yesterday’s post, “Big Carbon Fights Back,” focused on the controversy over coal in Texas. Here’s a bit of it:
. . . major Dallas business interests creating new political action committees to fight off the plants, resistance from the mayors of both Houston and Dallas, along with 33 other cities, and even hunger strikes. Dallas Mayor Laura Miller says, “TXU is purposely misleading the public in order to build old-technology coal plants the cheapest way possible to get the biggest return on their money.”
The changed political climate in Texas extends to Exxon-Mobil, which, after decades of leading the absurd wing of the global warming cynics crowd and receiving a fairly public black eye for doing so, has now decided that the game has changed.
Activists find common ground with others in order to unite for change. “Conservation Group, Unions Joining Forces – Saving Habitat, Ensuring Access Sought,” as reported by the Washington Post.
In a first-of-its-kind alliance that could fundamentally reshape the environmental movement, 20 labor unions with nearly 5 million members are joining forces with a Republican-leaning umbrella group of conservationists — the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership — to put pressure on Congress and the Bush administration.
Activists use their voices: the combination of great writing and pertinent content hooks me every time. Maud Newton is a writer and literary critic whose blog I have been reading for years. Today’s is a “corker” on “Jesus Camp.” Maud had been invited to see the film but was a bit hesittant. She eventually went and wrote a teriffic post about what is was like and why her reluctance:
I tend to shrink from reimmersion in the whacked-out, storefront-church world of my childhood. Also, I worried that the tone of the film might be broadly mocking, and I always find that kind of thing hard to stomach in large doses. Making zealous fundies look crazed and ridiculous is, as a friend of mine would say, like shooting retarded fish in a very small barrel.