You Bet Your Ass I'm an Activist

AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis writes this morning:
Only "Democratic Activists" want Dean as party chair?

That's what Stephanopoulos says. Sounds a bit demeaning to me. The "activist" word has always been used to belittle the guy it's thrown at. Is it only Democratic Activists who want Dean as chair?
You know, if wanting some action makes me an activist, then I wear the badge proudly. What makes my belief in fighting to save Social Security (for example) worthy of an activist tag, as opposed to the administration, who want to radically change the program, is a distinction I don’t quite understand. Probably because it’s inane hyperbole of the sort with which shows like Stephanopoulos’ are riddled. I’m exhausted with the constant stream of mischaracterizations and random assertions such as this one being presented as if they had already achieved status as conventional wisdom, just to generate debatable topics.

I might be more forgiving if we lived in a near-utopian state of bipartisan cooperation, where every day didn’t produce a thousand issues worthy of discussion, but we don’t. And indeed, this topic itself could be reframed to generate a pertinent debate about the state of the left: What about the grassroots has made Dean so uniquely appealing? That, however, might actually require thoughtful commentary, a talent of which the hosts of political shows seem universally devoid.

As regards the use of “activist” as a means to denigrate someone, I find it a rather tedious habit. Considering the pervasive apathy toward all things political that plagues the American electorate, disparaging those who ardently pursue their political objectives seems little more than a snide admonishment to get back in line with the rest of the sheep. I’m not sure where we lost our notion to celebrate the individual, but this resentment of those who refuse to conform to a Rockwellian image of a passive and jolly red-cheeked constituent, waving the flag regardless of what it has come to represent, is the worst kind of disfigured patriotism.

I’m a Hoosier, dammit; Indiana is the home of James Dean, Kurt Vonnegut, Cole Porter, Eugene V. Debs, and half of the Wright Brothers (Wilbur, if you want to know)—proud and shameless activists all in their individual ways, and our culture is richer for each of their contributions. Pissing all over those who seek to make the world just that much better through realizing their passions is an endorsement of complacency and mediocrity, and a refusal to acknowledge what makes this country great.

That flag was forged with the blood and spirit of activists. I don’t want to hear it used like it’s some dirty fucking word ever again.

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