I think there are lots of well-behaved people who have changed history. Examples include Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Not everyone will agree with me. I think in particular people who were not in or near the top of the power hierarchy tend to be judged more critically. Lots of people were outraged and enraged by Eleanor Roosevelt, certainly by Martin Luther King Jr. However, in my opinion Mrs. Roosevelt and Dr. King behaved with remarkable civility and I am very inspired by their examples.
In fact these examples, remind me that you don’t need to be a fire-breathing radical to be effective. You DO however need to be extremely patient.
And sometimes, in the example of ACT UP! You don’t have the luxury of time and you DO need to press your case. But I think ACTUP did so in ways that were still very politically savvy. Raw anger has an effect but it isn’t often effective.
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