For many of us, activism is a lifestyle. We learned it in the 60s and it is who we are, and for what we stand. We need to contribute. Because we are confronted with the current assault on Reston open space, activism is being renewed for some and is a new life experience for others.
Activism occurs in people, or I should probably say activism explodes in people under a certain set of conditions. Perhaps they are afraid or threatened. They become angry and upset at some issue. But I think far and away activism explodes in our conscience when we feel our family is being lied to or marginalized. When an issue cuts to the core of our lifestyle, strikes at the heart of right or wrong, or at a concept that we have spent a lifetime developing.
Activists are leaders. As leaders they understand the vital necessity of becoming a teammate and uniting for a common cause. Activists clearly understand the power in communicating with others to grow their number.
Peter Koestenbaum, noted author on leadership, wrote of four values of active leadership: reality, ethics, vision, and courage.
Reality is arriving at the truth, navigating through the fog of suspicion, innuendo,
and manipulation. It is about obtaining facts and verifying information. It is
the process of discovery. For some of us it is the amazing grasp of the
obvious! When these values are violated, when the truth is hidden, the activist
becomes incensed, feels betrayed, and frankly… gets real angry.
Ethics are commonly misunderstood. We engage in ethical conversations to determine the moral value, the right and wrong, about a specific subject. So we engage our own moral compass, confronting the risk of accountability to pursue the right action.
As educated citizens we weigh the thought, “Are people treating me with dignity and respect or are they dismissing me, my neighbors, and friends out right?”
Vision is of course the primary ingredient in all leaders. A great leader has a vision; he or she clearly defines the idea and uses their skill to communicate that vision to others to become involved, to take action.
Courage is perhaps the most important word in the lexicon of the activist. It takes courage to stand up, raise your voice, and lead. It takes courage to give up time with family and profession. It takes courage to motivate the apathetic and unconcerned. Mostly it takes courage to stand in opposition of those who possess professional skills that you seldom need or use.
We activists must stand for others who cannot take action due to family responsibilities, professional commitments, or those who are frankly intimidated by the entire process. The activist must stand for those who cannot act. There are many more that spiritually stand shoulder to shoulder that we cannot forget. We all share the loss and we all share the gain.
Please become active. Join the Rescue Reston Rally this Saturday at 4PM at the corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive to defend our community from those outsiders who disrespect our culture of open space, who in the name of ‘it’s just business’ have no problem violating a commitment that all of us made to each other as citizens of a historic planned community.
The activist responds to the call of the famous Joni Mitchell lyric "don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you’ve got till it's gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot!"
See you Saturday! http://RescueReston.org