Not a dirty word

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, August 13, 2009

By Staff
Several people have complained about the Washington Daily News publishing a story by The Associated Press that referred to some people opposed to President Barack Obama’s vision for health-care reform as “activists.”
Those people who complained apparently believe the term was used by the AP writer and the media that carried the article as a derogatory term. Perhaps they don’t quite understand the term.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines an activist as a person who follows “the doctrine or practice of taking positive, direct action to achieve an end, (especially) a political or social end.” We could not have said it better ourselves.
And that being said, we see no problem with using “activist” to describe people who are active — and willing — when it comes to working for something they believe in rather than just sitting at home and talking about the need for someone to do something. Those “activists” referred to in the AP article should be proud that they are using their right to disagree with something they believe is unacceptable to them.
The word “activism” is not synonymous with being a radical, troublemaker or rabble-rouser. An activist is someone willing to act, not just talk, when it comes to making a difference. Those people who turned up at Washington’s waterfront Saturday to voice their concerns about health-care reform were definitely active in making their concerns known.
Without activists such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Nathan Hale around more than 200 years ago, it is unlikely this nation would be the independent nation it is today and the beacon of liberty and human rights for the rest of the world to see and try to emulate.
Whether one agrees or not with what activists are trying to accomplish, at least they are trying to make a difference and get their voices heard.
Just talking about an issue exercises the vocal chords. Debating and acting on an issue exercises the brain and one’s right to get involved.
Activist is not a dirty word.