Well, we’re wide awake now, aren’t we? Quite a foghorn in the ear, this past month and a half. I’m going out on a limb here and speaking to y’all as though you voted for Hillary. If not, I apologize. But I think the following is non-partisan enough.
When things hit the fan on a civic level, as they have for many of us liberal non-activists (a kinder, more accurate term I think than Neo-Liberal) it can be paralyzing. Especially when the ambush seems to be coming from all sides, on every issue, with every cabinet appointment. We feverishly sign petitions, and if you’re like me, every few days you get up the gumption to pick up the phone, make a donation or spend some time and money on a real, thud producing-complete-with-forever-stamp-walk-to-the-post office mailing.
All the while stifling the little voice in the back of your head thinking “this is nothing. It’s making me feel good, but beyond that, it’s nothing.” Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t; this blog isn’t meant to discourage you… but I do want to share a pattern I see in my practice everyday and I’m seeing it here.
There’s an expression I’ve started parroting this year because I sense it’s very true: the way you do anything is the way you do everything. Now, the way you ‘do’ may well be fine in certain areas of your life, but if you find yourself spinning your wheels when it comes to making a difference, whether that be in areas of self-interest or at large, then there’s a problem.
Well, lucky for me I’ve found my calling because of this particular phenomenon. And I, like many of you reading, am feeling the call to action right now. But how do we follow it through? What direction do we take?
My advice is to get specific. Look at what works in your own life in terms of getting things done. What are you good at? Brainstorming? Organizing groups? Do you like to walk? Do you work best in solitude or with a group? You get the picture. And again, in terms of picking a cause, be specific: what moves you most? Environmental issues? Race relations? Women’s rights? Global oppression (think Aleppo) ? You must choose where to bestow your gifts.
And then you must look at your life objectively. Your activism will not be sustainable without the proper support systems within your life overall. You may not be at liberty to jump on every bus going to Washington for instance, if you don’t have the resources and will be missing work. But what can you do, and when?
Only you can answer these questions, of course. When you do, you must accept the answers in order to proceed. And you must let your procession be good enough. You may not even be around to witness the outcome of your efforts… that does not matter. You will become an example and when the time comes, you will not have dropped the baton, you will be able to pass it on.