Once I was an activist. When, more than twenty-five years ago, I started my own business, I was tossed out of the activist crowd for being a “sellout,” for leaving the world of taxpayer funded government jobs and non-profits and making the leap into the private sector. It seemed that the profit motive didn’t fit into any of their “progressive” ideological activist molds.
Over the past twenty-five years it has become increasingly clear to me that to be considered an activist, you have to conform to someone else’s view of what an activist should be.
The current United States Congress considers male clerics to be the appropriate advocates on the subject of contraception. Los Angeles’ City Council members routinely dismiss the comments of business representatives, but listen intently to neighborhood associations.
Recently, a Neighborhood Council meeting to discuss a mixed-use development gave the local homeowner association three minutes to speak, but the local business organization was relegated to the same time limit as an individual. We have also seen situations where community groups attempt to pre-ordain outcomes. Not only do they not consider input that is emailed by stakeholders but they won’t even consider written comments from sincere stakeholders who are unable to attend their three-hour meetings.
Of course, favoring those with whom you agree is human nature, but whatever happened to the concept of fairness? There is no longer even a pretense of equal treatment in the public arena.
Sadly, we’ve arrived at our own version of George Orwell’s 1945 novel, Animal Farm. To paraphrase, “All activists are equal, but some activists are more equal than others”.
Have you experienced this? Can anything be done about it?