It’s sad, but true: tales of protest don’t always end with “and then you win.”
A couple of weeks ago, Rowan summed up the hopelessness that plagues many progressive activists with a poster reworking Gandhi’s old slogan to read, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you die.”
That got me to thinking about the funny mix of determined action, despair, nonviolence and stark rebellion that characterize so many people in the activist community. There’s another classic protest figure who may be in your social circle: the sweetest, most tender, gentlest, most nonviolent vegan anti-war activist… who loves to stay up late at night blasting the hell out of video game foes with a tricked-out laser pistol.
For that loving, lovable master of virtual mayhem in your life, here’s another Gandhi reloaded t-shirt: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you level up. For the virtual side of life, it’s drawn in classic 8-bit style. For the principled side of your activist geek’s life, it’s printed on your choice of sweatshop-free American Apparel shirts.
The longer we can laugh at our own foibles and silly bits, the longer we can stay sane in our struggles. Right?