I get so frustrated, and on a nearly daily basis (thank God for Shabbat, mirite?) with the never-ending carping that happens on my side of the political map regarding the lack of purity of those who would dare condescend to communicate with the vast middle of human opinion.
Yes, it would be nice if everyone on earth believed as I believe about women and rape and Palestinians and human rights and LGBTQ equality and gun violence and whatever whatever whatever, but you know what? They don’t. They really, really don’t.
And there are a lot of people out there doing excellent work, either on the ground or in opinion advocacy (or both) who — gasp! — have the temerity to speak to all those millions of people who have yet to see the wisdom of my great and marvelous mind. To speak in terms that most people will understand. To draw comparisons that are not perfect, but are informative to those who are unfamiliar with the facts. To speak in broad terms, because they only have 800 words, or to deal with a single aspect of a struggle, because they only have 24 hours in a day. To favor immediate needs over long-term goals, or to favor long-term goals over immediate needs. To, on occasion, fall prey to human error or — heaven forfend! — to have once held a different opinion to the one they now support.
And there are a lot of people out there who invest a lot of time and energy in dogging those other people, for not being good enough, or for being too nice to the bad guys, or for failing to fully comprehend the enormity of What Must Be Done and All That Is At Stake.
Fuck that noise.
You cannot organize people where you want them to be – you can only organize them where they are.
You will change no minds and win no hearts by accusing your allies of perfidy – you will only exhaust your allies and convince them to ignore you.
Anger is not sign of sincerity, patience is not a sign of weakness, and purity is unattainable. And snooty sarcasm (to quote Rat, of Pearls Before Swine fame) is never prudent.
Here’s what does help: Talking to people. Raising questions. Thanking them for their commitment, and offering additional information. Assuming that people who identify with The Cause are not, actually, trying their level best to screw you. Most people are mostly decent, and if you don’t believe that to be the case, why are you even trying to live among us? I am going to fail you, I promise you that, and so will everyone else.
And now I’ve yelled (again), and convinced no one. But I feel better. Which is pretty much all that yelling can do, anyway.
And PS: You’re not the only ones who are angry. I am too. Always.