John Lockwood

Close the camps. They're wrong. You know they're wrong. Tell everyone.

Sucking at Activism is my Activist Superpower

As I write this post for Day 3 of my #100DaysOfAction to call for an immediate end to the crime against humanity of caging innocent children escaping poverty and violence, I feel once again how inadequate I am to this task. But as I think about the process I went through as I took action, I realize that sucking at this is in fact my superpower.

We need Peter Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, once he sees through Mr. Potter for something like this. We need Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 for this. We don’t need a fat, 60-year old computer programmer – a kind of almost elderly Peter Parker who never got bitten by a radioactive anything. We need Spider-Man in his prime.

I’m not the Buddhist Monk who sets himself on fire, nor do I see myself like Cesar Chavez, able to force change through a hunger strike. I’m just a normal guy, who isn’t sure if any of this will even work.

And that, I suggest to you, is my super power: I don’t know what I’m doing. I suck at this.

How is that a super-power? Here’s how: If a non-heroic old guy like me has begun to take action, this fact implies something about the situation we’re in. I mean of course the situation of having innocent children on cold floors begging for regular food, begging to take a shower – or maybe just lying in a soiled diaper but being too young to beg. Crying in a room where the only adults are callous jailers.

If a non-heroic guy like me can awaken to this problem, this means that the enormity of the horror of this situation has the ability to wake you up as well.

Maybe you’re hurting and hating what we’re doing, but you’re afraid to mention anything to your friends or at work. Maybe you don’t really know what to do, or feel that whatever it is you do will not be enough to make a difference.

But there may be a moment, when with closed eyes and perhaps taking a deep breath, you’ll imagine the horror of the situation and it will overcome your self-doubt, that nagging fear that you’re not up to it, that there’s nothing you can do.

The human heart can naturally try to shield itself from the pain of such overwhelming evil. But that pain you’re trying to avoid is not your enemy – it’s your friend, I promise you. Let it wake up to take action.

After all – if I can do this, so can you. Sucking at this is my superpower.