Find the Toxic Activist

You can easily spot one, whether you’re looking to the right or the left.

A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes profiled an animal-rights activist who so loved the near-extinct oryx she’d rather see the species wiped out than thriving in Texas.

These previously endangered animals have been doing quite well, living long and happy lives, primarily because cowboy types pay a hefty price to hunt and possibly kill one of them. That money keeps the preserves operational. Therefore, some must die in order for most to live.

Animal-lover wants to change all that, which makes me, a progressive vegetarian mama, want to explode.

Unfortunately, there’s a toxic activist like her in every crowd. The next time you’re at a campaign fundraiser, or goofing around on a political website, you can easily find one.

He’s the guy in glasses with a protruding stomach and inability to look anyone in the eye. She’s the older woman with too much time and money on her hands. Online, Toxic Activist communicates in Che quotes, or protests certain cartoon characters for “suspicious leanings.”

Make this challenge a drinking game and it’s less depressing. Once you’ve spotted him, strike up a conversation. Say something negative about the opposition and goad him along for a few minutes. Take a shot every time he says:

They don’t get it.

She isn’t really progressive/conservative.

They’re being duped by a right-wing conspiracy/liberal media. Fight the urge to say, “If they’re so stupid, how dumb are you for not convincing them?” Toxic Activists won’t respond to logic. They just want to repeat memorized narratives about the “other” without interruption or analysis.

Then reveal yourself as the opposition, just for fun, and see what happens. After losing an argument, does TA refuse to take ownership? Drink another shot. They can’t make a convincing case, yet feel justified blaming the person who wasn’t swayed. Toxic Activists don’t want to understand anyone. They don’t possess wisdom, charm or humor. Fundamentalists, whether liberal or conservative, have this in common, and the root of the problem is that they know, deep down inside, that they don’t fucking matter. They can’t get a reaction from their dowdy, overweight, middle-aged spouses, much less anyone else. They troll Facebook, Twitter and cocktail parties, trying hard to get a rise out of anyone.

In the meantime, they persuade no one, making false statements and connecting the dots where there are dashes instead.

You’ve been on their walls or in discussion groups. See the lack of interest in others? Take another shot.

Nagging Obama supporters are scolded by their Ron Paul friends to back the fuck off. Gingrich cheerleaders are constantly advised to begin medication by more moderate family members.

If these folks listened more, they’d have a chance to attract someone to their side. But the toxic among us would rather spend time wondering why they keep losing elections.

When they spread rumors about an ideology to which I subscribe, the result isn’t a holy light shining down on me from above while I yell, “You’re right! You’re so right!” The result is that from now on, I approach hyperbolic statements with skepticism.

They’re lying about me, so they must be lying about everything.

My liberal heart breaks when fellow Dems engage in this self-defeating behavior. We are supposed to be the tolerant party. We are supposed to be better than that. But we’re not. In a sad ironic twist, these fools may not convert anyone over to their side, but convert a ton of people over to mine. When a partisan nut speaks, three moderates get their wings.

As one so succinctly put it, “if that asshole is against it, it must be a great idea.”

In the end, such activists are putting exotic animals and all of us at risk.

Makes me want to call some hunters in Texas.

Catherine Durkin Robinson can be found online at and

Wow, that was a fast dance.

Was that song edited?

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