I hate the word activist. Mainly because it’s one of those right-wing propaganda, tar-and-feather, hot button words that Frank Luntz cultivated to brand liberals as crazy folks who are out to burn down your house and roast your kids on the bar-be-que. (Read more about Frank Luntz and his language campaign – it’s important to know if you’re at all interested in politics. It will make you suspicious of how all arguments from the right are framed, and help you recognize spin jobs and Republican astroturf.)
You can see the word “activist” in action in a recent Micah Clark American Family Association message to his Christian support base:
As you can imagine Eric Miller (Advance America) and I are not popular on the homosexual web sites this week. The activists have convinced themselves that legislators actually believe that AFA’s opposition was “nutty”.
Yeah, I’m one of those “homosexual websites” – although he’s probably referring to Gary or Bil – I doubt I’m important enough to be on his radar. And when he’s talking about “activists” he’s talking about me, too.
But seriously – you know me. Most of the people who read my site are my family members and friends. If you were throwing out words to describe me, would “activist” be one of them? Would you characterize me the way that Micah Clark does? Do you think I’m radical? Crazy? Outside the mainstream?
But the other reason I hate the word is because I don’t want to be active in politics. I hate politics. I know – I write almost constantly about politics and show up at the statehouse and city-county council, so that doesn’t seem correct, but it’s true. I really don’t enjoy politics at all, and would rather have nothing to do with it. I really wish my entire involvement in politics was showing up to vote once a year. I find the whole process excruciating; the arguing, the ass-kissing, the public speaking, the obvious lying and animosity. Ugh.
But I don’t really have any choice in the matter. As a gay person in a red state, I have to pay attention to what’s going on and to act because it has a direct impact on my personal life in so many ways – legally, financially, safety and security-wise. I really wish I didn’t have to. There are so many things I’d rather be doing instead. But when I do go off and do other stuff, stuff I really enjoy, I feel horribly guilty, like I’m not meeting my obligations. And when things happen like the Bias Crimes Bill stalling – I feel like its my fault.
And when it comes to politics in general – Bush, the war, Republicans – I can’t shake the feeling that the world is moving in a profoundly wrong direction. And I feel like I have to say something about that, although I’d rather not have to think about it at all.
I know that some people pursue political endeavors because they feel a “romantic hero” sense about it all, but that doesn’t appeal to me. I already have my Dulcinea, I’m tired of tilting at windmills.