Whose Issue Is This? Activism Divides Us

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Are activist groups lacking in diversity thereby making the issue divisive and losing credibility?   In London recently, two middle-class white kids demonstrating against climate change atop a subway car got attacked by poor commuters trying to get to work on time so they wouldn’t lose their jobs.  This tells us two things:  the burning issue of the day for some isn’t the biggest, most immediate threat everyone thinks of first; and activists  find this easy to forget.  In activism, who you are and where you’re from make a difference.  Sometimes activism divides us along those lines.

Virginia splits on gun rights

The new gun laws recently enacted by representatives from wealthy metropolitan areas seem very intrusive to the small rural counties.  In the country, people hunt, defend their livelihoods, and engage in target shooting as a matter of course.  So their law enforcement people are declaring their intention of not enforcing the new gun laws, making their counties gun rights sanctuaries.

Meanwhile, those in metropolitan areas concerned with gun violence feel they’ve done something to help reduce the risks of living where they do.

That’s just an example of what’s going on between city people and country people all over this nation.  What fits the city and suburbs does not play in the country at all.

Not only in Western states, but also in Vermont, there’s a lot of tension between cities and rural areas.  Western Vermont has a lot of drugs coming up the main roads and with the drugs, an increased threat of gun violence.  For the cities in the west, extra restrictions may make sense.

In the countrysides east of there, though, folks generally don’t blame the gun for the problem the way the city people do.  Kids are raised with them.  They hunt and target shoot a lot.  When a kid didn’t leave his gun in his car, but brought it into the school, the powers that be decided the kid and his parents needed attention, not guns.  The community, realizing kids had few after-school outlets, put together a youth center for them.  It took some donations and volunteer hours.

Climate change activism

Some of the climate change alarmists think the world will end in so many years if we don’t all wipe clean our carbon footprints.  They have no clue what it would cost an average person.

To do climate change in my case, I would have to replace our vehicles with electric ones.  Our oil furnace and water heater would go.  Instead we’d put in a $33,000 geothermal heat pump and heat water with electricity.

My gas stove will be banned in Boston soon so it would be replaced with an unresponsive, inaccurate electric stove.  And then my household electric bill could be $300 a month or more.  We have very high electric rates in New England.

But the planet would be safer.

Where are people like me going to get over $50,000 to do this?

Clearly people who are doing the climate change activism are out of touch with the people they demand stuff of.  And we haven’t even gotten to the part where we eat veggie burgers for life.

Activists, think!

Back to the subway in London.  Somehow the activists have the time and money to devote to a cause.  What they do with this is go to a poor neighborhood and pose an existential threat to people there in order to get attention to that cause.

After the fact one of the group’s thinkers decided it would have been better to do outreach and get some buy-in from the locals before pulling such a stunt.

Advocacy groups get so wound up about their viewpoint they don’t consider anyone else’s.  So we have city laws invading the countryside and disrupting things that aren’t wrong there.  We have rich people deciding how everyone can spend money that many don’t even have.  We have folks who think their lives don’t matter who appear to say that nobody else’s lives matter either.  They may be right.

And then we have some hapless kids on top of a Tube car in a barrage of coffee cups, getting pulled down and beaten, because they picked the wrong station for their stunt.  We have a nice liberal woman dead because some white supremacist got fired up and rammed her with a car.

Why aren’t cars being outlawed?  Or rental trucks like the ones used in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center?  They’re certainly deadly if used in certain ways.

Look at the other side before you leap

When I was in Germany, there were still hippies demonstrating in streets about the Vietnam War and all sorts of social ills.  The Red Army Faction, what we called the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was bombing American installations and kidnapped a mayoral candidate, causing a citywide dragnet with machine gun-toting cops everywhere.

In the midst of all that, I met a local guy who Got It.  He said the activists should cut their hair, put on suits, and ask for meetings with influential people so they could put their case forward in a civil manner and work sensibly towards a solution.

Many say that doesn’t work.  No, it works slower.

Reaching out to non-activists to get their input and maybe buy-in only makes sense.  Otherwise your activism is half-baked.  All you are doing is making noise to the choir.

Cross the lines.  Nobody wants their grandchildren to die in a world of war, hatred and deprivation.  Find the common ground and do what you can.  Maybe some can’t just let some lawman take their property.  Maybe some can’t just blow money to make the carbon go away.  But we might find ways most of us can help make things better.

For those who think we’re out of time, well, perhaps that boat sailed a while ago.  Let’s focus on the possible together, instead of deciding only we are right.  If nothing else, it could lighten up your holidays!

 

 

 

 

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