But here’s the thing and here’s what I ask myself when I get discouraged. Let’s say I get to the end of my life and I look back and I never fought for any of my political values. I never wrote a ballot argument, I never wrote an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal, I never gave a speech at a rally, I never carried a sign, I never wrote a letter to the editor defending the rights of someone who was picked on by a power-hungry judge. How would I feel about my life? I think I would feel disappointed and I would wonder if I could have made a difference by doing some of those things I hadn’t done. That’s what keeps me going in that part of my life.
But because most of my political activism doesn’t pay me money, I need to get something else out of it. After all, in trying to get freedom, I’m involved with many others in producing a public good. So I look for things, ceteris paribus, that I enjoy. Writing is one; speaking is another; being around fun and interesting people is another. When those things don’t exist or, even worse, when someone is toxic to be around [I’m thinking of a local TPM person], I leave. But I don’t disown the TPM. I work more informally with some of its members whom I do like to be around.