September 21, 2008

How Many Barricades Have You Stormed Today?


Seriously, how much have you stuck it to the Man, man? How many gates have you crashed? How exactly have you put your money where your big, fat, opinionated mouth is? How much scratch (that you don't have) have you freely given away to the corporate-whore candidate of your choice? How many low-to-no-information voters have you registered? How much have you phone-banked? How much have you driven a wedge into some poor bastard's life, interrupting their self-important bliss with your do-gooder enthusiasm? How much have you reviewed the legislative track record, or current issue positions, of the candidate of your choice? Have you even, like, chosen a candidate, man? Don't you know that this is the most important election, like, ever? Even more so than the last most important election ever?

You don't want to be uncool, do you? You don't want to, like, become exactly what the chickenhawks always said you were, do you? Just another dirty fucking left-liberal hippie armchair activist who doesn't have the balls to publicly state how much you hate Bush/the Iraq War/Republicans/whatever? Even after the massive (and massively ignored) anti-war protests of 2003? Even after the whitey-frightening brown-power marches of 2006? Because arm-chairing it is, like, so uncool, dude. For serious. I mean, even I know that, and I would never in my wildest nightmares do anything remotely politically active. Registration? Please. I couldn't sell candy bars door-to-door for Little League twenty-five years ago, and I sure as fuck ain't walking around some leafy green neighborhood full of Nice People Who Might Not Hate Me just for the sake of the fucking two-party system, man. And phone-banking? Don't even start. Some days I can't even call for a fucking pizza, okay? Forget it.

I don't fear, though—not even after the century has horribly fallen back on itself, all the way to 1929—because all is never lost. The Boy Scouts said that, I think, and even though they hate the queers, they may be right in this case. See, you'd think that for me, like all self-important sociopolitical assholes, political activism would appeal to my overdeveloped sense of vanity, but you'd be wrong. In terms of pure motivational, get-off-your-ass value, it's basically worthless. Why? Well, terminal narcissism is, for sure, a major slice of my personality, but it is nowhere near as massive as my overwhelming sense of Sloth. For me, sloth trumps vanity every time, which is why true activism, from bomb-throwing to glad-handling, will always, always be out of the question for me, especially in the final insane months of this wretched and foul election year. Even so, I have still made myself useful, in the only way I know how: slacktivism. Not even real slacktivism, either.

That's right, baby. I destroyed all of my remaining credibility in one fell swoop. I cultivated my sense of earnest resolve until it curdled in the sun like so much cheap plonk. I forwarded an email! I signed an online petition! I was soon parted with my money! I lost an argument, and then won the next one! I criticized someone else's commitment and work ethic! Hell, I even slapped a bumper sticker on my car—a tiny, unobtrusive "O"—and even keyed a car w/McCain/Palin on its ass. Not only that, but I RANTED AND RAVED IN ALL CAPS, BITCHES! I trolled a Republican website and called them troglodytic warrior-apes, and fled to friendlier online confines and gloated like a conquering hero. Yeah, and I publicly made a prediction about the election's outcome, which was just as in-depth and analytical as anything you'd get from the radio or TV network/cable news, dude. Like totally. I commented "me too" on a blog so often that I can't even remember what I agreed to.

I bitched and moaned about things beyond my control, and did it in a safe, non-threatening, non-confrontational environment, full of people who agreed with everything I said. And then I posted a diary about it all over Soapbloxia. I wrote an oh-so-clever, hipper-than-thou, politically-themed song lyric, recorded it with my band, and plastered the motherfucker all over YouTube. People even commented on it, and a few of them didn't even hate on it. I became a Facebook supporter of every candidate with a (D) next to their name. Even the semi-Republican Blue Dogs, because hey, you have to give props to people who have the balls to suck just a little less than the fascist elephants, right?

Indeed, and not only that—I learned a lesson. Horror of horrors, I know, but I did, and it is this: to be an activist, a true activist, you must endure all this crap, and much more for the sake of your own self-worth, because you will be called a coward and a cultist and a loooooser by humorless assholes of all political stripes and persuasions. You will be abused mercilessly from the left and the right for having the temerity, the sheer gonzo idiocy, of getting off your ass and committing yourself to a "cause." They'll tar and feather you as a misguided, overenthusiastic, cowardly, America-hating, kool-aid-drinking Sucker. A zombified, suburbanized, willfully ignorant Yahoo. An irredeemably useless shite, all because you decided to do what you could, to Do Something.

So for the true, balls-to-the-wall activists out there, enjoy it if that's your thing, and do not give two shits about true cowards like myself. If all your work pays off, however, and the election swings the right way, remember to keep your cool. Why? Because hubris has crippled far, far greater efforts than your own, that's why. The rules only bend so far, and the laws of time and space are likewise only so forgiving. That's all I've come to say. I know we're kin, but I got to do fer me and mine. Vaya/Mahalo/Selah/Coldplay Sucks/Go Cubs! and all that.

Cross-posted: dkos, mlw, dd, fsz

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