Why I do the things I do.
There is line between being outspoken and being a complete jerk. Yes, it is a line that I have crossed now and again. I suspect I will cross it again, in the future. I take issue when there are attacks against those who are unable to – for whatever reason – defend themselves. I take issue when there are attacks against entire people groups or ideologies using brushes so broad they can paint a barn in one stroke.
There is a fundamental truth as to the reason why there are those of us adopt the mantle of ‘progressive activist.’ For the most part, it is to advocate for those who have been, are currently being, or are likely to be the targets of bigotry, discrimination, hatred, and other denigrating behaviors and actions
There are many forms of progressive activism, but whichever form we choose, there is one goal that most of us strive toward, and that is to coexist with our neighbors.
As a progressive activist, I have never advocated for the elimination of an individual’s right to protest, or to peacefully redress their grievances. That would be hypocritical. I have never advocated for the physical or violent response to other people’s words.
I have, however, always maintained that it is my responsibility to continue educating anyone willing to listen about the atrocities that are committed toward those who have been marginalized by the segments of our society that believe they have the right to abrogate the rights of others simply because they do not like them or because they disagree with them.
This is why for many, many years I have been an ardent supporter of the LGBT, African American, and Latino communities, and why I am also a staunch advocate for women’s rights – including their right to do with their bodies as they wish, and to exist in a world without misogyny. This is why I also advocate for those who hold spiritual beliefs that are outside the American mainstream, and who are constantly being harassed by the religious right. Like Muslims. Those who stand against these things are on my radar screen, and they will always be targeted by my words.
The wonderful thing about being a progressive activist is that it allows us to embrace change. This ability is the fuel which fires our engines that turn the wheels for our desires to see equality take hold, for discrimination to stop, to keep nipping at the heels of bigotry, and to put an end to discrimination based on race, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Even in the most unlikely places.
To be sure, there are conservative activists who are as ardent as we are who would like nothing more than to see change halt, do an about face, and happily march back in time to a period in our history that they would feel comfortable in.
Many people who are in these groups do not understand that you can’t go back. Things can be replaced, but regardless of how loud they scream and how violently they stomp their feet, time is progressive, linear, and unforgiving. One can never stand in the same river twice. These people will be dragged – kicking and screaming – into the postmodern era. But you can be sure that we will give it our all and everything to thwart their plans. This much should be obvious.
Being a progressive activist gives me the freedom to grow, learn, and make adjustments in my methods according to new information that is received. This is particularly important when I am addressing matters of science and philosophy. Being an activist for change in these areas requires one to be free and forward thinkers. It requires us to put the needs of others ahead of our own. It requires the ability to be concurrently confrontational and diplomatic. It requires us to keep our minds open and our thoughts free from the constraints of what is, and focus on what could be. Speaking of deplorable…
Obviously, I am unhappy about the results of the electoral college. Yes, I purposely did not state that I am unhappy about Trump being voted into office. He wasn’t. His presidency – while valid (I don’t do the #notmypresident thing) – was not the result of being voted into office.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of the electoral college system. It allows the possibility of the the loser of a popular vote to still win an election. It happened several times before, including in the 2000 election.
It also happened in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote to be the 45th president, but Donald Trump won the electorate. One of my points of focus in the future, as much as my disabilities will allow, will be the electoral college system.
In our age of technology and digital expediency, the electoral college system is outmoded, unnecessary, and at times, unfair.
We all share the same planet, and every now and again, a conversation is struck with someone who we may consider an enemy. When someone who is perceived to be an adversary extends an olive branch, we would do well to accept it, open a dialog, and find common ground. In order for activism to be successful, it requires dialog, diplomacy, and ultimately some form of compromise. Rarely does absolute surrender come into play.
So, I have my work cut out for me, and because I am disabled, I am limited to writing about the wrongs in our society, offering my expertise in writing amicus briefs, crafting letters, and waging a campaign of awareness through social media. I wish I could do more, but I have mobility and cognitive issues.
I invite you to take up a cause and make a pledge to get involved in any way you can. Be part of the solution.