I suppose anyone who speaks out in public can be an activist. Many make me proud, having taken the time and energy to earnestly understand their passion, and then wanting to educate the public on the new knowledge. Many are successful.
Not all ideas, however, are created equal. With success, the idea goes viral, possibly leading us towards a new norm. If it is but a weak fad, it disappears and we step back to the status quo.
When people stand up behind bad ideas, are they still activists? I’m talking about the alt-right terrorist who plowed his vehicle through an anti-racism march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. These neo-Nazis with tiki torches are cultural terrorists, fighting tooth and nail to maintain their race-based hatred.
Whether you’re standing for inclusion and community, or for exclusion and divisiveness, does the fact that you’re standing up for something make you an activist? As a fellow activist, I say no!
Human beings need to be together. Communities break down beneath our notice when we lock ourselves behind touchscreens, as the vibrant world withers. It is in times of peace when we make the greatest steps forward.
Our bodies thrive when relaxed, where all growth stops in troubled times; this is dictated by our biological fight-or-flight response. When imperiled and fearful, creativity is shut down as we shelter ourselves both physically and psychologically.
Through community, we create our society. Co-operation brings growth. Understanding and inclusion make everything greater than the sum of their parts.
It is the activist who fights this. The one who resists the forces attempting to keep us apart, reconnecting us with this world we deplete. To wake us to the fact that only we can tend this global garden back towards health. Activists are a voice to life and growth; a voice for the future.
We must all become activists. Support rallies that espouse unity. Speak up for those ignored or unheard. Evoking love will diminish hate. With strength in our numbers, we can diminish any force attempting to divide us.