Re: [tips_and_tricks] An Essay On Activism - by Suzanne Shell (INCREDIBLE!!)
- HOW TRUE THIS IS!As part of a group who is challenging new legislation, I can relate to this. When WE are discussing how to STOP some self-serving law from being passed, a law that will AFFECT all of the residents....we can muster only about 10 people to actually DO something.But when such legislation IS passed and becomes the law, you can hear the howls and screams from all over! WHERE WERE THESE PEOPLE WHEN WE NEEDED THEM?Watching TV....playing games.... but they were NOT helping stop it.People had BETTER stop sleeping and DO SOMETHING, or their children will live in slavery!----- Original Message -----From: legalbearSent: Monday, March 10, 2003 3:19 AMSubject: [tips_and_tricks] An Essay On Activism - by Suzanne Shell (INCREDIBLE!!)
An Essay On Activism - by Suzanne Shell (INCREDIBLE!!)
Below is an interesting email on activists/advocates from our own Orange County (New York) Warden, Sheryl Lane-McGrath
rambocat@.... Sheryl is one of the advocates described in this email. She is in the trenches and front lines every day. Therefore, please send any responses directly to her.
New York JIC
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 10:01 PM
Subject: An Essay On Activism - by Suzanne Shell (INCREDIBLE!!)
As an activist and advocate, I am faced with constant pleas for help
from My Fellow Americans who are suffering under the heavy hand of tyranny in our country. I am not the only one who is bombarded with these demands. There are many other like-minded souls who also make substantial personal sacrifices to forward a principle or a cause.
Sadly, we get too few offers of help. Many of My Fellow American who have been victimized by cold-hearted government atrocities against their persons, their property or families, and their rights actually prefer to criticize the nature and scope of services an activist or advocate might offer on their behalf.
Not satisfied with exhibiting such astonishing gall, these Fellow Americans actually believe they hold the high moral ground by pointing out how inadequate the sub j ect advocate might be while exonerating themselves of all responsibility for insuring their
own liberty and security.
Lets examine the typical activist/advocate in the proper perspective. We, who dare to utter ugly truths about our chosen issue boldly in the gun sights of a heavy-handed, well-funded government who relishes destroying their critics by declaring them mentally ill or criminal and by seizing everything that is precious to them, we receive precious few rewards for our sacrifices. So why do we make them?
Is it for the glory? Ha! What glory? Anyone who fantasizes about being the next Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandi or Paul Revere for their issue is in for a very ugly reality. The truly dedicated are way too busy to worry about their name on the evening news, and if they do make it, the issue takes precedence over the spotlight.
The glory seekers are as substantial as a cold and mercenary fog which fades when the heat is turned on. Glory? There is no glory in being sub j ected to death threats, police surveillance, incarceration, physical violence, frivolous prosecutions, seizure of property, seizure of children, murders of loved ones or the other innumerable methods of government intimidation and force that are designed to shut us up. There is no glory in the constant
struggle against critical allies and beneficiaries of our services who
think they know more than we do.Yet we continue. . ..why?
Is it for the money? I say again, Ha! What money? Some of the most
dedicated activists and advocates dont get a dime for their efforts.
Since donations are literally non-existent, they end up paying for their activism out of their own pockets. Since those funds are usually extremely limited, they rely most heavily on their own talents to get their message out. Not only do they talk the talk, they walk the walk and put their own money where their mouth is because they believe so strongly in their cause. This often means they live without many amenities. They drive older cars, live in smaller homes, make do with what theyve got and repair rather than replace. This is especially true for those activists who front politically incorrect issues. After all, who wants to support an issue that might make the donor look bad?
Money? What money? Even I, who has books to sell, dont make enough from those proceeds to cover my monthly expenses for advocacy and activism. Still, we continue. I ask again. . .why?
Because, we have to. Because it is the right thing to do. Because we
believe in helping our Fellow Americans who suffer wrongs. Because we understand what it takes to change the system and restore j ustice and are willing to do the dirty work. But it behooves us to examine whether our Fellow Americans deserve this help, especially when My Fellow Americans become critical because you were unable to resolve their problem when they didnt pay you a cent for your services or even lift a finger on their own behalf. Especially when you did help them resolve their problem and they disappeared into the sunset with a sincere thank you but no future support for your efforts. Especially when you needed their help and it wasnt forthcoming.
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your advocates civil rights are being violated because she took a stand on your behalf and she needed money to take it to court to prevent it from happening again so she could continue the battle without this kind of harassment in the future? Are you sitting in front of your big screen home theater watching Pay-per-view events while smoking your cigarettes and relishing a few beers?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your advocates electric or phone bill is about to be shut off or she is about to be evicted because she has worked without pay in order to fight this issue for you and your family? Are you shopping for your new car to replace your old one which was not even paid for yet?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your advocate spends weeks doing the research and interviewing the experts and devising the strategies that proved so successful in your case all at her own expense and helped you prevail and recover your life or property? Are you shuttling the kiddies to soccer and dance, or indulging in your own expensive hobby?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your advocate or activist needs large numbers of supporters to hold signs at demonstrations or rallies, or to sit in court as a court watcher, or to write letters or make phone calls, or to distribute and post flyers, or to help her help someone else j ust like you? Are you too busy bitching and pissing and moaning online about how you j ust cant get the media or lawmakers to show any interest in your case or your issue?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your activist and advocate is available 24/7, without respite or vacation, and who must travel to your location at her own expense to help you with your case and you aren't there? Are you playing the lottery or bingo or gambling, and taking weekends indulge in boating or skiing?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your advocate suffers health problems or a toothache or illness and still devotes her time and energy to your issue at the expense of her health, sometimes to the point of death, because you demand that she address your case NOW? Are you on your annual holiday in the mountains or at Disneyworld en j oying the fruits of your labor in leisure activities?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, when your activist or advocate faces frivolous prosecutions in retaliation for his activism, or is j ailed for taking a stand on your case or your issue and he pleads for your monetary support to fight this battle or money for necessities in j ail? Are you writing a check to save the whales or the forests or to support the United Way so you can prove you are a concerned citizen and besides, those are tax deductible contributions and contributing to your advocate isnt?
Where are you, My Fellow Americans, those of you who benefitted from the selfless efforts of your activist/advocate and won your case and got the government out of your life, your family restored, your property returned; and where are those of you who benefited without even knowing because of the precedents set by this advocate which protected you from that incursion in the first place? Are you keeping a low profile to avoid being targeted again and severing all contact with that person, without whom you might not have won, in order to protect yourself from future government incursions? Have you decided not to make contributions to this proven leader and fighter despite what she did for you? Or, in
the rush of life and the j oy of winning, did you simply forget that she needed your financial support?
Is it any wonder that your advocates and activists ever ponder whether or not they should even stay the course? It is exhausting to stand alone, day after day, and take the inevitable pounding, not only from our foes, but from our allies and beneficiaries of our services.
It becomes very tempting to let the demanding army of critics and
moochers fend for themselves. Its easy to rationalize that they deserve to be left on their own because they wont even lift their littlest finger to help the activist/advocates when he or she needs it, much less take responsibility for participating in their own case.
What if we werent here when they needed us? What if they had to do all the work for themselves? What if they had to take responsibility for their own security and their own rights, starting from scratch without the benefit of the knowledge and skills of their advocate? How many would falter? How many would fail? How much worse would the government j uggernaut become without meaningful and knowledgeable opposition?
When we get right down to it. . .many activists and advocates have
nothing left to lose. Theyve often made the ultimate sacrifice which renders them uniquely qualified for fronting their particular battle. By the same token, it is pretty darn easy to walk away from that battle and leave My Fellow Americans to the tender mercies of their government without a guide or a warrior who will sacrifice all in their behalf. These sacrifices cannot occur in a vacuum forever. Its long past time to reevaluate your priorities.
If you truly believe in what your advocate or activist is doing, sell
your home theater or your sports car and send the proceeds to him or her. Cancel your premium cable channels, quit smoking, stop playing bingo and donate that money to your advocate. Is this a lot to ask? I guess it all depends on what your rights, your family, your property or your liberty are worth to you. If its not worth that much to you, why should it be worth more to your advocate or activist? Why should they continue to sacrifice on your behalf so you can en j oy the fruits of your labor? Are they any less entitled to the fruits of their labor simply because they choose to donate their efforts for the good of My Fellow Americans? Its your choice, but. . .
Dont be surprised when the day comes that you need your advocate or activist and he or she will not be there for you. Especially if you have not been there for him or her. There may simply be nothing left for him or her to give, because he or she gave it all to My Fellow Americans and My Fellow Americans gave nothing back.
Copyright 2003 Suzanne Shell - All Rights reserved. Permission to
distribute granted as long as copyright notice is attached.
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