1. Throughout The Lifelong Activist, except where specifically indicated, I use the word “career” not in the formal or corporate sense, but simply to indicate long-term activist work. This work can be full- or part-time, paid or unpaid. If your activism is important to you, I call it a career.
1. Burnout is also a symptom of Compassion Fatigue, a secondary traumatic stress disorder whose other symptoms include fear, dissociation (disconnection from the immediate environment), obtrusive daydreams, disrupted sleep patterns and hypersensitivity. Compassion Fatigue afflicts activists and other “frontline workers” who regularly work with people or animals who have been traumatized either by violence or by having been caught in a terrifying situation such as a natural or manmade disaster. Compassion Fatigue can also afflict family members or friends of those who are traumatized. If you think you may be suffering from Compassion Fatigue, you should seek prompt help from a psychologist who specializes in treating it.
2. We’re not even accounting for the huge role luck played in Steinem’s career: specifically, the fact that she did her activism at a time in which our society was unusually receptive to new ideas and lifestyles. This is not to denigrate her and the other Second Wave feminist activists’ achievements at all, but simply to point out that you yourself might not be so lucky.
3. To learn why good nutrition means vegetarian nutrition, see Bibliography.
4. I empathize if you object to giving money to the insurance industry. Moreover, you don’t want to fall into the clutches of this country’s healthcare system if you can possibly avoid it. The right strategy is to employ good preventative self-care (see Chapter 10) and to carry enough health insurance to get you comfortably through an accident or serious illness. Please don’t stint: you are too valuable an individual, and have too much work left to do, to be unnecessarily incapacitated. Oh, and you’ll probably want disability insurance, too. Sorry.
5. Don’t be put off by the title: The Millionaire Next Door mostly deals not with those who inherited wealth, but those who accumulated it over their lifetime. It actually has a strong anti-consumerist theme that should be palatable to most activists.
6. Throughout The Lifelong Activist I quote from books written for artists, and I also list several such books in the Bibliography. Activists and artists are such similar types of people—individualistic, creative, risk-taking, etc.—that advice for artists often applies equally or nearly as well to activists. There are also many more self-actualization-themed books out there for artists than there are for activists, so why not borrow some wisdom from our artistic friends?
7. In their research, Stanley and Danko, the authors of The Millionaire Next Door, found that adults who regularly receive cash infusions from their parents tend to become, over time, less and less able to live independently. Specifically, they tend to spend more, save less and get into more debt than adults who are self-supporting.
1. If you are younger, unmarried or male, you may have trouble identifying with these examples. Try to do so, however, because they illustrate what is perhaps the most common road to burnout: conformity with prevailing materialist/consumerist values. In other words, even if these examples are not pertinent to you right now, they may well be in a few short years. These examples also assume that neither activist is able to do full-time activism, as is the case with even many dedicated activists once they have a family.
2. This example assumes that both Alyssa’s and Chris’s husbands are willing to shoulder their fair share of the childcare and housework—an assumption, alas, that is still not valid in even many progressive households.
3. More companies offer flex-time than you might think, and even those that don’t will often make accommodations for a good employee. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work (New York: Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 1997), has done research showing that the vast majority of people who work for companies offering flex-time and other family-friendly benefits fail to take advantage of those benefits. For one reason why, see the next chapter.
4. “Cruelty-free” means the product wasn’t tested on animals and, in some cases, contains no animal-derived ingredients. The website of In Defense of Animals, www.idausa.org/facts/crueltyfree.html, offers lists of companies whose cleaning, cosmetic and other products are cruelty-free. Also, look for the “leaping bunny” logo that a growing number of cruelty-free products now carry: see www.leapingbunny.org.
5. Electronic versions of all the forms mentioned in this section of The Lifelong Activist can be found at www.lifelongactivist.com.
1. Why would someone who procrastinates, and who is made miserable thereby, want to maintain the status quo? See Chapter 11: Fear.
2. The philosophical issues are important, but schedule them in; don’t let them interrupt other work.
3. Frankl’s wife died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945.
4. There are actually discussions, among activists, on whether it is ever appropriate to say we’ve “won” on a particular issue or event. The theory, apparently, is that since all victories are temporary or partial, it’s somehow misleading to use the “V” word. C’mon!!!! I can’t even begin to tell you what’s wrong with that attitude, beginning with the fact that it is psychologically undermining. If you can’t claim your victories, then what are you working for? How do you hope to inspire others? Do the New York Yankees, or any other sports team, refuse to celebrate their victories because they know they could have won by a wider margin, or could lose the next game? Of course not! And, of course, many of the same activists who are so reluctant to declare victory seem to have no problem at all declaring defeat.
5. A disproportionate number are computer geeks, engineers and other technical types, by the way. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that technical people are trained to hunt down the flaws in their projects so that they can then fix them. That flaw-finding tendency comes in handy when you’re designing, say, a bridge or a computer program, but it can be a pain in the interpersonal sphere
6. If you don’t like to write, try journaling anyway; it’s much easier than the kinds of writing you probably had to do for school. If writing still doesn’t work for you, you can dictate an “audio journal” into a tape recorder, or call a friend and have a “journalistic,” by which I mean focused and analytical, conversation. But please try writing—it offers many advantages, not the least of which is convenience.
6. As cited in Eric Maisel, Ph.D., A Life in the Arts, Chapter 3. (See Bibliography.)
7. Baum, Kenneth. The Mental Edge: Maximizing Your Sports Potential with the Mind-Body Connection. (See Bibliography.)
8. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. (See Bibliography.)
1. Some contemporary psychologists are reinterpreting and building on Maslow’s model to make it more relational. See, for example, Steven J. Hanley and Steven C. Abell’s article “Maslow and Relatedness: Creating an Interpersonal Model of Self-Actualization.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 42.4 (2002): 37–57.
2. In this chapter and elsewhere in The Lifelong Activist, I use the terms “conservative,” “Right,” and “Far Right” interchangeably. This is for rhetorical convenience only, and not to deny the fact that conservatives, like progressives, vary enormously in their thinking and viewpoints.
3. An article entitled “Sex-Ed Class Becomes Latest School Battleground,” in the March 30, 2006 Wall Street Journal, discusses the controversy surrounding abstinence-based sexual education programs that are being widely promoted by the Right, and funded by our currently conservative federal government. The article reports: “. . .sex-ed classes that discuss birth control as a way to prevent pregnancy and sexual diseases are increasingly being replaced or supplemented by curricula that promote abstinence until marriage and discuss contraceptives primarily in terms of their failure rates.” Said one parent of the curriculum her child was taught: “It was fear- and shame-based. . . . There’s nothing in there talking about sex as a natural part of a healthy loving relationship.”
4. Of course, throughout American history the “enemy” has also been people of color who didn’t obey the “rules.”
1. This includes the evangelical churches that have recently been winning many converts in the United States and abroad. See, for example: Symonds, William C.; Grow, Brian; and Cady, John. “Earthly Empires: How Evangelical Churches are Borrowing From the Business Playbook.” BusinessWeek, May 23, 2005, cover story.
2. Green, Jesse. “When Political Art Mattered.” The New York Times Magazine, December 7, 2003. Green writes: “I sometimes wonder what would have happened if instead of emerging among urban gay men, AIDS had first burrowed its way into the sexual lives of, say, accountants. On the one hand, the world would surely have responded with more kindness. But could the accountants have organized and responded to the crisis the way some gay men eventually did, using their professional skills to alter policy and in the process change their culture?”
3. In a December 2005 Atlantic Monthly article on chess champion Garry Kasparov’s courageous political campaign to replace ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin as president of Russia, the author describes Kasparov’s confrontation at a rural campaign stop with five thuggish young men who were members of Nashi, a pro-Putin youth group. He asked them to consider why Putin had awarded the highest medal of honor in Russia, the Order of the Hero of Russia, to a Chechen rebel leader and his son, whom he described as “bandits and murderers of our Russian soldiers.” The article reports, “The hall was silent. The Nashi members dropped their eyes to the floor. ‘Why? I ask you again, why did our president cheapen our award by giving it to the murderers of our soldiers, of guys your own age? Answer me!’ ‘We’ll ask him when we see him,’ one [Nashi member] grumbled, eyes downcast.”
4. “Problems” and “needs” typically go hand-in-hand, in that when someone has a problem she usually also has a need. Hereafter, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll mostly use the word “need,” but when I do so, I’m also always implying a “problem” as well.
5. See, for instance: George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); David Brock, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (New York: Crown, 2002); Michael Lind, Up From Conservatism: Why the Right is Wrong for America (New York: Free Press, 1996); and John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America (New York: Penguin, 2004).
6. For more information on how animals suffer in factory farms, visit www.factoryfarms.com.
7. See www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/
8. Numerous citations exist. Here are three: In an article entitled “Finger-Lickin’ Bad” in the February 21, 2006 issue of the online environmental publication Grist, author Suzi Parker documents the exploitative and antiquated sharecropper-type business model used by poultry agribusinesses to dominate the small farmers who actually raise many of the birds sent to slaughter. And an article entitled “The Chicken Hangers,” in the February 2, 2004 issue of the online publication In the Fray documents not only the horrific working conditions in the poultry industry, but management’s hostile (and often unlawful) resistance to unionizing efforts or even basic workers’ rights. Finally, a January 26, 2006, New York Times article entitled “Rights Group Condemns Meatpackers on Job Safety,” begins, “For the first time, Human Rights Watch has issued a report that harshly criticizes a single industry in the United States, concluding that working conditions among the nation’s meatpackers and slaughterhouses are so bad that they violate basic human rights.”
9. Lantern Books author Michael Greger, M.D., has written extensively on the chemical and biological contamination of industrial meat, dairy and egg products. See the “Selected Writings” section of his Website, www.veganmd.com. And Will Tuttle, Ph.D.’s book The World Peace Diet (Lantern Books, 2005) provides an excellent overview of all of the issues.