Just read the headlines:
"U.S. Envoy Rebuked for Religious Activism Quits"
"185 Arrested on Occupy Wall St. Anniversary"
"A Few Brave Local Politicians in Texas Rebuked for Just Trying to Talk About Drug Reform"
"Racism Protesters Arrested at St. Louis RV Show"
"Activists Rebuked for 'Bullying' Santorum Over Opposition to Gay Marriage"
The truth of the matter is that being an activist is considered noble and just as long as your activism coincides with another authority's opinion. However, most officials in charge prefer public indifference to efforts that promote direct social, political, economic, or environmental change. Why? Deliberate indifference creates a tightly controlled, less stressful, work day for those in charge -- an environment with decreased controversy and risk.
It is no wonder "things" normally operate this way. Authorities trumpet the need for "good citizens" to practice vigilance, proactive involvement, and documenting wrongdoing, but they do this largely to create a widely accepted positive public image of civil servants.
In truth, those "in charge" wish to limit public actions and do the work themselves because civil activism creates more paperwork, more investigation, more confrontation, and more tough decisions. Doing very little and smoothing over problems, even though these problems threaten innocents, is priority Number One. Don't be mistaken, old money and old influence rule in a stagnant "rich get richer" town.
I believe the concern for safety and the respect for the needed response of those willing to face wrongdoings, to report threats and harassment, and to stand against injustice should be the first priority of civil servants such as police, fireman, and other government officials.
I sincerely believe the lack of effective communication between the public and these officials creates crippled communities. And, by communication, I'm not talking about promoting fundraisers or sending reports to the local paper about completing duties as expected. I'm talking about increasing concern for all.
Standing on the law without compromise is logical even if the law is tailored toward offenders; however, being told by authorities simply "There is nothing we can do" or even worse "Just shut up; listen to me; I'm warning you to be quiet" pushes an unsavory authoritative response deep into the throat of those who often truly care.
Expecting quiet, defeated acceptance of "It happens all the time, and we can't do anything because we are hampered by this, that, and whatever" is the preferred reaction to any response call. In the meantime, the taxpayer who foots the bill for the salary of the public official fully understands the reality -- the activist is an enemy of those in power. He or she is unwanted and viewed with wary distrust. The activist needs to be successfully neutralized to inactions in the future. He or she is a senseless troublemaker and a bother to business as usual.
As a teen of the '60s and a young adult of the '70s, I learned very early in life the value of being active and the need for protest in the face of injustice. Since then, I've tried to carry on with activities that serve the public with needed change. I am no award winner or no hero or no esteemed member of any community. Yet, I have done what I consider my fair share for my fellow man.
Doing so is not easy and does present risks. Undaunted, I still accepted the challenges of the causes I supported and suffered the occasional setback. Though I have a belief in some forms of civil disobedience, I have respected authorities for doing their jobs, even when their superiors subscribed to philosophies I believed archaic and harmful to the general good.
I believe we have entered a time marked by acceptance of harm. It is an insidious harm allowed to exist because of politics, not politics in the sense of party but in the true sense of governing influence. This influence is clannish and believes the middle class and common people should only speak when spoken to.
Everyone voices their regret about the poor protection afforded to innocents, but today, the privileged living in higher-class environments and those lucky enough to find themselves graced with the other preferred demographics are the ones tenderly assisted by public servants. Others largely must fend for themselves. Or, they must simply accept indifference, accept berating and often unexplained commands, and silently bow to control. Authorities want them to be indifferent.
I am writing this to record my new commitment to do nothing as an activist other than write blog editorials. My spirit of "doing things" with my physical presence has been broken and is becoming weaker by the day. I believe many would say "Thank God the old busybody accepts the program." In fact, I have been told by authorities not to worry about neighbors or about anyone else but myself.
Neither do I condone nor do I encourage others to begin inaction. I am just sick and tired of feeling like a stranger in my own hometown. I no longer recognize the political and social climate of the place I have lived my entire life of 64 years.
I feel I have worked for change, and yet any future change is controlled by forces rife with injustice.
My town reeks of drug abuse, human trafficking, and immorality of many people in high places. It seems they have successfully corralled underlings to insure control and, most of all, to insure indifference and inactivity so as to instill a believe that "we can't do anything about it."
I am ashamed. I am ashamed of myself. I have done too little too late; thus, I have subjected myself to living the rest of my life under senseless control. Hearing public officials laugh and dismiss my simple efforts is fuel enough to make me realize their stereotype of me as "a nut case" is very effective. I am only valuable to them in the sense of my invisibility and my weakness to resist.
I advise you to listen carefully to officials -- justice, enforcement, public servants -- who work with you here in our town. Read between the lines they speak and write. I think they wish to operate without any disruption or interference from you. Think about what they really mean when they know of injustice and sorrowfully announce "We can't do anything about it."
Here is advice for following orders: vote for increased taxation, pay all questionable citations, bow to power and influence, believe officials who tell you they know who is crooked as hell but they are powerless to do anything about it.
And, believe them when they say ...
"We don't have the money to patrol or to do our jobs."
"We want to have better communication with citizens but don't have the time."
"We evaluate bad actions correctly and expect you to take all instructions without question."
"We really don't need or want your assistance -- just let us do our jobs without inference."
Now, simply reject the diatribe above as ranting from a crazy, old man. Don't practice being active and instead, go sing out, "I'm proud of being an American" with the faceless crowd.