Inactivism: The Easiest Thing To Do Is Nothing


[ Photo and statue by unknown. I think of it as Head-In-Sand-Yoga-Pose. ]

It would be too passive-aggressive to write this without admitting it is a sort of “Open Letter To My Close Friends.”

You know who you are, so here it goes.

Close friends, I have seen very little activism on your part since Trump won on election night. The morning after, I saw strong expressions of disgust on social media — but two weeks later I see nothing. I sense that many of my close friends, if not all of them, are entirely avoiding the topic. (And some are even annoyed that it’s all I talk about.)

It *seems* that none of you are as alarmed as I am.

Though most of you are artists, I have thought of you as intellectuals. You guys read books, watch documentaries. We’ve had great talks. I want to tell you “Inactivism” is not clever. It is a way of outsmarting yourself: tricking yourself into doing nothing. It’s a cop-out.

What good is all of this abstract thought, philosophizing, consuming sophisticated creations — when it leads to defeat? This is how you lose. If you’ve ever debated with a Trump supporter, even when they have no evidence for their arguments, you’ll notice they never give up. Why do you?

Almost identical quote from two close and respected friends:

“Trump has zero chance of winning. This is the end of the Republic Party.”


As if I have not said this enough: an unstable authoritarian egomaniac will have the world’s most powerful army and nuclear weapons in 52 days.

Repeat: an unstable authoritarian egomaniac will have the world’s most powerful army and nuclear weapons in 52 days.

We have never been in this dangerous situation before. While other U.S. presidents have been relatively dumb and evil, this is — right out of the gate — a person who is clearly unstable and not capable of critical thinking. What will he do, when he is the most powerful person in the world? It is not worth finding out, because all available evidence says he is a textbook fascist.

(Am I just being an apocalypticist? No. Unlike Jesus Christ, the U.S. Military and nuclear weapons are real, and Donald Trump will control them both. Is it worth being paranoid in this case? Yes.)

This is not a pendulum swing of Right vs. Left. This is a rabble-rousing man-child given ultimate power by an angry, fearful populace. “I alone can fix it.”

You’ve probably heard the term Normalization lately. The bottom line is, This Is Not Normal. Do not allow yourself to believe that it is.

Think back to history. How would it feel to live in a country where a tyrant is coming to power before your eyes? What would you do?

It looks to me like you’re going about your lives and trying to feel happy?

In conversations with me, you’ve shrugged it off.
On social media, you’ve said nothing.

It seems unlikely that my close friends have figured out some form of silent activism, and are simply not telling me about it. It seems more likely that you really are doing nothing at all.

So, I ask: what are you doing? Hoping it will be OK if you go to yoga classes, think positive thoughts, and pray?

Here is (again) the best list I have personally come up with. I’ve done the first four. Open to suggestions:

1.) Read the news. Expose yourself to information.
2.) Speak up. Talk about it with your friends, neighbors. Don’t hide.
3.) Donate to or volunteer for the ACLU.
4.) Support Jill Stein’s Recount 2016.
5.) Fight to change or get rid of The Electoral College.
6.) Protest.
7.) Join a political party.

Or, let me know how not doing these things is better.

P.S. I have nothing against yoga. I actually love it and think it’s a superb workout.

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