Aggressive Activism floods Instagram, Facebook, comments in social media, Twitter. It doesn’t work.
Allow me to tell you a little story.
Prairie dogs are cute and don’t get people sick and don’t hurt cows or horses (that’s a rural myth). They even have their own language (read the NY Times article, it’s amazing). They raise little families and are great for keeping our earth healthy (they have a similar effect to huge worms, aerating and fertilizing the soil).
A developer (a few, actually), locally, likes to poison them. He doesn’t need a permit.
When they get poisoned, they die slowly and painfully over the course of days, bleeding from every orifice, gasping poisoned air, and their little babies (this is Spring) die in the same way.
Good caring humans get mad about this, and want to stop it.
They post about it in fervent tones on social media. Most are peaceful and working maturely with their government to effect change. Some, like a vegan meet up and myself, ask citizens to call in but be polite.
Some don’t listen.
A few threaten the city councillors, who ironically are on the verge of voting to regulate this poisoning, stopping developers from doing this whenever they want.
The city councilors, and the mayor, having been yelled at and threatened, think about not passing this legislation. No one wants to work with an angry mob, and I don’t blame them.
So the self-righteously hateful few are the major obstacle to saving the very prairie dogs they would love to protect.
In Buddhism, we say Aggression feeds Aggression. You make your enemy bigger and angrier and more entrenched. This is why diplomacy is so powerful (something I wish our President, having just pulled out of a deal to prevent Iran from denuclearizing, would learn).
It’s a bad-side-of-Patriarchal notion that only force, or anger, effects change. In fact, love, as Martin Luther King reminded us, is the only way to go. That doesn’t mean it’s weak. King had strong words and took countless brave actions to effect change. He eviscerated those who would weakly compromise and fail to support such needed change.
But labeling those who disagree with us as the enemy is immature. It’s also, interestingly, ineffective. It’s bad for your own cause, whether saving prairie dogs or fighting the growing threats around nuclear weapons.
So let’s engage in taming our own aggression before we seek to save the world. The world has been saved by many angry, bloodthirsty, self-righteous dictators who, in their own mind, were trying to do something good.
Let Empathy Rule the Day. Let us tame ourselves.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” ~ Abraham Lincoln
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