Activist for Hire

Earlier this week, I shuffled off this mortally cerebral coil and participated in a direct political action, like those Indivisible friends suggested, to shame my Republican senator into changing his mind about ACA repeal.

It didn’t work.

The last time I participated in a direct political action was a full 2 decades ago, at a college campus rally protesting California Proposition 209. That also didn’t work.

Instead of spending 20 years figuring out how to make my goddam voice actually heard, I got lost in thought. Lost in academia, in nonprofits and government service, and now in the blogosphere.

And because I’m a Thinker for Hire, and not a Doer for Hire, I spent this week’s direct action self-consciously chanting “No Repeal!” in front of Corey Gardner’s office while silently dwelling on the potential efficacies of political action in the Trumpocalypse; the drugged-up, white-dreadlocked 20 year-olds of the 60s and their professionalized activist grandchildren getting paid for their passions; levitating the Pentagon and glitter bombs; lacing up your shoes versus thumbing up your phone.

Remind me again: How much of this worked? Did levitating the Pentagon end the Vietnam War? Did glitter bombs legalize gay marriage? Does spectacle constitute action?

How can we get them to change their goddammmmm minds and just see us. Just hear us.

Last night I went to bed planning a post about how I was wrong, about how the protest in front of Gardner’s office resulted in his staff consenting to speak with the delegation of constituents whose lives were saved by the ACA, and whose children’s lives were lost for its absence. I went to sleep thinking that human connection, that planting yourself in an enemy’s path and asking him kindly to listen, may result in him listening.

Maybe this kind of direct action can shift the shit-tide of willful partisan ignorance that will suffocate us. That will result in needless death.

But then I woke up to see that Gardner himself banged the gavel on their 1:30 am vote to repeal with no replacement. I guess his staff didn’t tell him about our signs.

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