There are some days when I feel as though I am out there in the world alone, fighting a battle that can not be seen or heard. The battle is one of preparedness and is one I endure day in and day out in spite of my best effort to step away and live a normal, middle class, mainstream life.
I have given a lot of thought to this and even though I tell strangers that I am a “crazy old prepper lady”, in my heart of hearts I know that I am doing both myself and every other prepper-type a disservice by minimalizing the importance of embracing preparedness and self-reliance.
If I paid attention to the memos issued by the alphabet soup agencies, I suppose I would be considered a domestic terrorist. As far back as 2011, people that stored lots of food were identified as “potential terrorists” by law enforcement authorities. I would like to think that things have changed since then but to be honest, most people I know look at me glassy eyed when I talk about prepping. That includes my family.
This leads to believe that instead of calling myself a Prepper, I should self-label myself an Activist since in its most basic definition, activism is something that the so-called “normals” understand. With that introduction, today I would like to talk about activism and how being an activist relates to the Prepper Movement. And yes, let us call the emerging national pastime of prepping a “movement” for at no time in my lifetime can I recall such a groundswell of peaceful unrest and positive action among a such a large and varied demographic.
What is an Activist?
According to Wikipedia, Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change.
What is missing from this definition, however, is the personal aspect of activism. By that I mean the conscientious and intentional effort to bring about change at the individual or family level in addition to (or instead of) the global level. I propose that it is this personal activism that heralds the true prepper.
A few years back you might have said “Hold on, not me! I am no activist”. To be honest, many people are actually horrified by the thought of being labeled as such. They think of an activist as someone who marches on Washington (or Wall Street), participates in sit-its, holds wonky signs and shouts obscenities at authority figures and law enforcement.
But times have changed. As uncomfortable as being labeled an activist might be, these days being called a prepper can, in some circles be equally, if not more, disparaging. As recently as last summer I was at a conference – a prepping summit, no less – and there was a call to ban the word “Prepper” from our vocabularies. I kid you not.
Tradition notwithstanding, I believe that the quiet, unassuming prepper is also an activist. I say this because true activism starts close to home. It starts when you decide to live a self-reliant life. It starts when you decide that you will depend on nobody but yourself for your personal safety and survival. And it continues as you begin to pare down the excess in order to live minimally, learning to embrace life for the bounty at hand versus the covetous bounty of your neighbor.
Now perhaps you are now thinking, “ but Gaye, I am just one person doing the right thing for myself and my family. How does that make me an Activist?”
Six Qualities of An Activist
And to that I say, take a look at the qualities that reside under the activist umbrella and what do you see? If you see yourself in the following, you are indeed an activist:
1. Commitment: The Activist gets things done. He does not merely dream, he acts. Tenacity and perseverance are a way of life.
2. Education and Knowledge: The Activist is always learning a new skill. He makes an outward effort to stay informed of issues that may threaten survival and the world and society at hand.
3. Positive Attitude: Activists are upbeat and enthusiastic about their mission. Naysayers do not discourage their efforts one iota. To the contrary, that makes the activist work even harder to accomplish his goals.
4. Communication: An Activist will speak up when sneaky corporations and corrupt or ineffective politicians try to control his destiny. Even when his voice is lost in the wilderness of corruption, it is still a voice that will never give up.
5. Problem Solving: An Activist may not know it all, but he will figure it out for better or for worse. Complacency or inaction because “you don’t know how” does not exist in the activist’s life.
6. Passion: An Activist is charged with the fire and passion to make things happen.
Like I said, if these qualities sound familiar, you are both a Prepper and an Activist. In your own way, you are setting a course to change the world. You may not think so, but in my view, that is exactly what you are doing one day at a time, one bean at a time, and one skill at a time.
The Final Word
Taking steps to effect social change can be lonely and frustrating. Being overwhelmed is not uncommon. And while taking these steps are necessary, the decision to do this publicly or privately is an individual choice. There is no right or wrong.
All I can say is this: those who reverently store food and water, learn to use a firearm for self defense and safety, and develop survival skills such as hunting, fishing, fire building (and more), will prevail. Furthermore, you will be secure in the knowledge that you are taking responsibility for yourself and your family regardless of what the government, the global economy, your fellow man or the planet throws at you.
So call me a prepper or call me an activist. I really don’t care; I just want to be ready.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!