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  • 13

    Positive Activism
    Activism; Posted on: 2007-06-13 09:06:00 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    by Lucy Brewer

    Itís time to ďac-cen-tu-ate the positive, e-lim-in-ate the negative ÖĒ

    Tonight, driving home, I had the pleasure of one of those quiet, night drives along one of the less-traveled roads, and experiencing a couple of the little things that remind us that we have much for which to be grateful. For an urban or suburban dweller, there are many Ė wide open spaces, the skyline and landscape from the Adirondacks, White Mountains, Blue Ridge, the whole Appalachian chain down to the Smokies. And itís not just the sights -- itís nice to be where the noises fade and all you hear is the sound of the night insects and frogs.

    Oh and the smells, the wonderful, memorable smells! When I think of the warm and fuzzy, olfactory definition of the Chesapeake region, I think of Blue Point bay-seasoned crab boil, spiced shrimp steaming, and the warmer, saltwater sea life smell of the Bay. In New England, the ocean smells cold, salty, and neutral. In springtime, the strong, sweet smell of lilacs fills the air over the region. In the south, itís the fragrant Cape Jasmine. In this area, in summertime, itís the universal smell of new-mown hay and, especially at night, honeysuckle on the vine. Tonight, the honeysuckle wafted sweet and heavy, and I breathed it in deeply, thinking back to childhood nectar on the tongue, the smell of it on a cornfield, starry, summer night long ago, and the innocence of young romance.

    With things so small and sweet readily available to those open to finding them, I have never understood the tendency of some to, inevitably and regularly, accentuate the negative in attempts at activism. I donít know whether a doom and gloom emphasis serves some actual constructive purpose thatís less than obvious, or whether itís the rhetoric of past approaches unfortunately carried forward out of habit. I have wondered whether, in the fashion of the recently reformed teetotaler or the newly born again Christian, some folks are compelled to pass on to others a condensed version of the intense experience and vehement preaching it took to jolt them to awakening and personal epiphany. The problem is, the rest of us arenít nearly as hard of hearing as they think we are, as they used to be.

    Donít get me wrong Ė I think the desire to share enlightenment and the zeal to keep others from the same fate they suffered is understandable and admirable. But daily life, with the requirements of work and the worries of money, in addition to the stresses of family life, is challenging enough, and I find the doom and gloom emphasis on top of that tiring and depressing. I need to focus on the positive whenever I can just to get through the obstacles of the week and keep fighting the good fight. I hardly think Iím alone in this.

    Like most of the folks frequenting this news site, Iím a European American. Whether itís due to discrimination, violent crime, or the doom of pending genocide, itís difficult for me to see European Americans through this lens of victimization. We enjoy the legacy of a proud and accomplished people, with a past worth recognizing and celebrating regularly. This tendency to inadvertently over-emphasize the negative arguably suppresses and dims the richness of our past and our rightful sense of pride in it as effectively as the efforts of critics of other cultures to diminish and dismiss our role in history and our accomplishments, both past and present, in the schools, in science, and in media coverage. Itís a bad habit we need to break.

    Daily I am reminded of that for which we should be proud and grateful. There is a resurgence of pride and interest in European heritage as expressed through the proliferation of articles concerning religion, myths, history, and physical remnants of ancient European civilization. Every day Iím treated to the latest efforts concerning preservation of European sites and culture. Interest in family heritage has grown to a new level, with enough effort and spending to generate an entire industry of DNA-based genealogical societies. New artifacts and knowledge about our past are discovered and reported daily.

    Concerning the pressing issues of the present, when Christians are so often portrayed as rigid fundamentalists in the press, it was encouraging to see the nation take back its traditional winter holiday and expose the political correctness that banished ďMerry ChristmasĒ in the first place for what it was. It was equally uplifting to watch the backlash against the scathing criticism of Mel Gibsonís The Passion of the Christ. This week, Americans pulled together and let our Congress know exactly what they thought of their most recent amnesty attempt.

    We work hard daily, and the obstacles that face us are formidable enough. We donít need to be distracted by the approaches of cultural groups that play to the fear and hatred of their constituency and echo it. We must always focus on the high road. As alluded to in the EAU Statement of Ethics, activism should reflect such positive approaches as regular homage to honorable lives, deeds, beauty, and progress. Rather than continual discouragement through too much focus on grim aspects of the present, we need to foster encouragement by focusing on the progress we make here and there, and inspiring people by reminding them viscerally of the things they are fighting to preserve.

    So stop a moment and touch base with the good things to remind yourself of that for which we fight so hard. Reconnect with your heritage, hug your child, donít focus so much on your fear of what the world will become that you no longer foster their hope and wonder in it. Breathe deep, take in the honeysuckle, and revel in all the things we have that remind us of why this country is a miracle worth saving. That, more than anything, inspires us to continued, enthusiastic activism.
    News Source: Email

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