Do “Activists” Actually Want to Win?

I’ve written plenty about the lessons I learned during my time as a high-profile “activist.” The “left” I knew back then was not yet the cesspool of hypocrites it is now but… the signs were already there.

As I look around now at new “activists” I’ve met — from ALL points on the ideological/political spectrum — I often see the same counterproductive and deceptive signs, tendencies, and archetypes.

It’s got me thinking about the New Testament story of the Pool at Bethesda. (Spoiler alert: This post is not about religion.)

By way of explanation, here’s an excerpt from John, chapter 5:

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The man was there for 38 years but Jesus knew to ask him to clarify whether he truly sought healing.

This reminds me of the “activists” — right and left — who learn to identify with their persecuted status. They no longer seem interested in winning. Rather, they “win” by performing their virtue for each other.

John continues:

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

A simple “yes” would’ve sufficed. But he remained trapped by his self-perception. Perhaps he even feared not knowing who he’d be if he stopped being “a certain man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.”

When I would be out marching in the streets several times a week, I’d witness “activists” who would proudly announce in advance their intention to be arrested that particular day. They’d conjure up ways to outsmart [sic] the police and call it a victory if they imagined they did.

Best of all, if they succeeded in getting arrested, many would photograph the epic event giving that brave revolutionary a wide range of choices for their epic new Facebook profile pic. Caption: #warrior

Not interested in petty ego trips, Jesus healed the man at Bethesda that day, of course:

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

And this is where the Pharisees come into the picture. Did they praise the signs and wonders? Of course not. Instead, like all delusional zealot leaders [sic], they valued conformity over results.

They condemned the healed man, declaring: “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’d attend a protest [sic] event only to find long-time embedded “activist” groups already there — frequently in their matching uniforms — setting up tables to sell (yes, sell) their propaganda.

They even bring pre-made signs to hand out to participants. These signs promote a specific agenda and include the group’s name and website featured prominently.

Hooray for rebellion and freedom of thought!

How many new people, moved by injustice and a desire for mercy, have gatekeepers like this snatched up and conditioned before they could find their own way as potentially effective and independent dissidents?

Obedient “revolutionaries”

The Pharisees also fancied themselves as wise guides. Anyone seeking God would be funneled into the “official” way — so much so that they could not even recognize the Messiah if he walked among them.

Jesus was not revered for healing the man. Rather, he was reviled on a technicality: He allegedly encouraged someone to disrespect the Sabbath.

Jesus, of course, saw through the Pharisees, replying: “I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.”

And well… you know the rest.

A similar blueprint remains in place today because we all adhere too easily to hive minds and groupthink. When someone elevates above the rest or has a new approach, they must be torn down. It’s not about getting healed. It’s about keeping up appearances.

You might call it exhibitionist trauma bonding.

And in case I’m unclear: This post is not about any one particular ideology (or religion). The above-described syndrome transcends labels like “left” or “right.”

Reminder: The charade ends when we transcend labels like “left” or “right.”

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.