I keep hearing about the ‘activist’ Democrats in the news and their efforts to remake the North Carolina Democratic Party in their own image, and it simply infuriates me. Not their efforts themselves (disastrous though they may have been) but the fact that they’re portraying themselves as activists. I’ve met a lot of these so called activists in my roles as an organizer or campaign manager and there’s one thing they all have in common. They’ve all told me that they’ll do anything they can to help, except make phone calls or knock doors. To an operative that means, “I’ll do whatever I can, as long as it doesn’t involve any actual work.” When I hear about these ‘Activist’ Democrats, I’m reminded of that line from The Princess Bride ”This word, you keep using it, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
You know what a real activist Democrat is? It’s the 76 year old volunteer who wanted to spend 8 hours knocking doors with me because my interns didn’t show up. It’s the woman who after a full day of work spent two or three hours a day, every day, making phone calls on behalf of a candidate she believed in. Or the one who would rather keep calling voters than seeing a Gubernatorial candidate’s stump speech, even when given the opportunity to take a break.
That’s why the ‘activists’ make me angry. Their use of the term denigrates the hard work of people who’d rather get the job done than feather their own caps. I remember seeing one prominent ‘activist’ Democrat spend 20 minutes at a committee meeting yelling at three young Obama organizers over not having received a token $50 payment for office space, because that’s really going to help get Democrats elected. I saw another go over my head to call a US Senate candidate’s scheduler to try to get her to show up to her democratic ladies luncheon in October of campaign season, just so she could show off to her friends.
So will the real activists please stand up? Oh wait, they’re all too busy working.