Political activist must speak many languages these days
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Saturday, November 6, 2010

We seem to live in a society that lacks communication. When you try to communicate, you're called a radical, a communist, dirty, a Republican or something to let you know you're not speaking their language.

Comedian Richard Pryor

It's Election Day, the day of Revolution 2010.

If we didn't get Mr. Pryor's point before he died in 2005, I'm sure we all get it now. We various kinds of Americans do not speak each other's language.

In a way I'm multilingual, speaking a little conservative and a little liberal, though not a word of apathetic. The Secretary of State was predicting a 60 percent voter turnout. How do we voters communicate with non-voters?

I tried once, and heard, "I don't vote, it only encourages them."

Very funny. You think that if you ignore the government, the government will leave you alone?

To prove I can speak Democrat, I will quote the late Tip O'Neill: "Anyone who says they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not interested in water."

Libertarian is my official language, but I can barely communicate with other libertarian activists who are more interested in making ideological points than in actually accomplishing something.

Speaking Conservative: Balanced budget amendment. National debt racked up only during emergencies, then paid down quickly. Free markets. Priority spending on public safety, including a strong and appreciated military. Legal, not illegal, immigrants. Personal responsibility. Limited taxation leading to limited government power.

Speaking Liberal: Privacy. America does not torture people. What the heck are we still doing in Afghanistan? Medical marijuana. My first political "cause" was Zero Population Growth.

Speaking pidgin: The globe may be warming, just as it always does between ice ages. Why waste resources when you can live a more simple life; why must we always "grow"? I like most animals more than I like some people. Free-range chicken eggs.

My own libertarian dialect: Most social issues are none of the government's business. Absolutely no military draft, but we can all have guns to defend ourselves and our country, like the Swiss.

There, I've communicated. Is anyone still speaking to me?

I'm open to discussion on any of these issues, love a good debate, but you have to use reason, not emotion. Calling me "Babs" or a "racist" doesn't count as intelligent commentary.

I don't really mind name-calling, though; I enjoy collecting enemies and am not always nice myself. Didn't have time this year to carve my Halloween jack-o-lantern, but I'm superstitious about having something scary on the porch to keep away the evil spirits.



Barbara's front porch Halloween display.
For full impact click here

Impulsively, I clipped out the face of a longtime Democratic woman activist from a John Tierney attack flyer created to scare senior citizens, made her a tall witch hat from a computer image and cardboard, and taped this to the front of my pumpkin. It will remain on my front porch with the rest of my decorations till after the election.

This may mean I can never run for Congress without being attacked as a "kook," of course. Just add it to all the other reasons I never considered "politician" as a job.

When we first heard about Bill Hudak's lawn sign, some people asked me if I'd run instead. I asked them, "Do you know what I had on my front lawn last election?" and they had to admit they did not.

Some people will go through life waiting for "the perfect candidate." I honor those imperfect human beings who offer themselves up to the political arena, especially those who run against incumbents with all their built-in advantages.

I voted early. Have usually held signs for candidates or issues, but I have a cold so I'm glad I have a column deadline to keep me warm at home with my tall glass of pulpy orange juice.

Of course as I write this I don't know what the election results will be. I'm personally hoping for something definitive: Near-total victory, or near-total defeat.

I want to know: Are we saved as a nation, as a commonwealth, or are we doomed? Just don't want to muddle along in political limbo for another two years.

I've come to think that the election of Barack Obama was a good thing. With the Republicans (before the tea party got their attention), we were heading down the slippery slope; with the Democrats, we went over the cliff.

To be determined today: Do we bounce, or go splat?

I became a tea partier without a teapot this week. I got distracted when warming water for my instant oatmeal; the teapot overheated and lost its purple color. I loved that teapot with its red spout and chartreuse lid. Have I finally learned the lesson about paying attention?

Will the election results allow me to retire from hectic political activism and into "the moment"?

For today, I am typing my column, listening to two talk radio stations, and occasionally popping into the Salem News live election blog or RedMassGroup. The latter is where some young people who often speak my language hang out online.

No matter what happens today, they'll continue the battle, soon to be called Revolution 2012.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.

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