Every once in a while, I spend some up-close and personal time with activists. They have incredible energy, are unbelievably invested in what they’re doing, and really, really care about whatever they are advocating for. They are extraordinary. Occasionally, I wish I could be an activist, but I never will be. I admire activists. I admire the way that they invest all of their emotional energy in their causes. I will never be able to do that.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Deirdre and I dragged a petition around the HRC. You probably talked to us at some point (we talked to more than a third of the junior fellows in the HRC, we think). This post isn’t about the petition, so I won’t tell you what it was about (that is for another post), but I will say that dragging it around the building, trying to persuade people to side with me, and talking to people who disagreed with me was absolutely exhausting. And how much did I really care about the issue at hand? Well, from a philosophical standpoint, quite a bit. But I usually do not care to persuade people. I’d much rather provide them with information and allow them to make their own decisions.
I believe in knowledge. I believe that the only way to eliminate fear is to provide information, to facilitate learning, to teach. I base all my ideas about the world on knowledge and on information. I am not a feelings-y person. However, I don’t really know whether that means that I care less than activists care. My way of changing the world is slower than theirs. I want to create information and I want to share information. I want to change the world by teaching and by learning. I don’t think that I can fight legislation or get legislation passed. I am not strong enough to travel to far-away places and fix the problems there. But, bit by bit, person by person, I hope I can, maybe, change the world by teaching.
I have a poem, also, which is not relevant to this post at all.