Ask Alexandra – October 2006
I have seen you on Baywatch and on TV movies and I admire your acting skills, and also commend you for being a positive role model for young girls, in that you are fit and healthy, and not underweight, which unfortunately is the case with many actresses today.
I have a question about your civil disobedience activities. Why do you not accept community service as an alternative to jail time? I work for a lawyer who does federal criminal defense (as appointed by the court), so I am familar with the law. I understand that you do not want to pay a fine, which would support the government that you are protesting against. However, community service would be a way to give back to the community, such as helping the elderly or disadvantaged people in the community. I would like to know the reasoning behind your refusal to do community service, so that I may better understand your point of view in your activism.
Also, thank you for not using products that are tested on animals! I am a member of the Humane Society and an animal welfare advocate, so I support you in that endeavor.
Thanks for reading this.
Your question is a thoughtful one. The reason I have not chosen community service over jail time when protesting government policy like the Iraq War or the testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site, is that going to federal jail is a continuing statement that I disagree with government policy. I am continuing my peaceful protest. The jails are run by the government and, as a peaceful protester there you are a reminder to them of the issue you are protesting.
I also believe that peaceful protesting, vigilling and civil disobedience IS community service.
With community service often comes probation, and that means that I am “disallowed” from civil disobedience for a certain period of time, usually a year. With issues as serious as nuclear weapons and war, why would I want to stymie my right to commit civil disobedience? Of course, I could just disobey that rule, since I am disobeying others, but I guess it is the principle of the thing.
With my arrest last year over the destruction of the EV1s, I took community service because, since my protest was against the General Motors Corporation and not the government, it didn’t feel helpful to go to jail. Colette’s and my main goal of getting media attention to the crushing of electric cars had been accomplished with our blockade of the trucks. The civil disobedience and subsequent arrest got noticed all around the world.
I think community service is a great alternative to jail time for a lot of situations – it does give back to society and can be a rewarding experience for everyone. But when I am protesting my government, I choose jail. Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail (easily googled) for more about civil disobedience.
Thank you for writing, and for your kind, supportive words.
I was wondering something while reading about your volunteer work in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. What was it like knowing that you are making a difference by helping out during a major time of need and taking care of all of those innocent animals? I saw pictures and read about some of it all on your site and i was so inspired by actions that i went to my local Animal Shelter and volunteered to help out there. Your such an influence to me and you’ve opened my eyes to many things. You are such a caring and giving person! I know you may hear people say that your an actress and an activist but has anybody ever said “Alexandra is not only all of that and more, but she’s also a hummanitariun?” (forgive me if my spelling is off on some words. Haha. I’m only 16. Lol)
Good Luck w/ everything you do and God Bless!
An Inspired Fan,
How wonderful that you are volunteering with your local animal shelter! I am very impressed, especially
I think the feelings I had in Mississippi are the same ones that you feel when you helping at your local
I think I have said this before on my site, but the advice columnist Ann Landers wrote that best way to get over depression, boredom, a lack of purpose or to raise our own self esteem is to give our time to making the world a better place for others. I think she is so right.
Keep up the great work! Hopefully volunteering will be a part of your life always.
You mention in your Bio that your favorite book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read The Fountainhead some time back and became curious about Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Objectivism and so began to familiarize myself with her teachings. I agree with most of what she says, however her position on “Environmentalism” is very disturbing to say the least!
Are you familiar with her philosophy and how do you feel about what she has to say about
I very much admire your strength of character and intellect and all the work you have done and are doing to help our planet and it’s inhabitants! I take comfort in the fact that you and people like you are out there, especially in these frightful times.
You are sooo right. There is a lot about which I don’t agree with Ayn Rand! Firstly, she would be a staunch, conservative Republican voting for George Bush if she were alive today. Her Philosophy of Objectivism is, in her own words: “ …. the concept of Man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason his only absolute”. My philosophy of life is, “When in doubt, do the kindest thing” and “It is all about Love”. Ayn Rand would laugh at me as she would think I was weak!
Her feelings on the environment are very different from mine:
Fundamentally opposed to reason and science, environmentalism uses false scientific claims to frighten the unwary. With a doomsday mentality reminiscent of Dark Age fanatics, environmentalists place every possible legal (and illegal) roadblock in the way of new inventions and economic development, from the local to the international level. If environmentalism is successful in its assault on Western values, your life on earth will become increasingly difficult, as your wealth and freedom slowly decrease. Had environmentalism taken hold in the 19th century, you would not have the electricity or computers on which to read these words.”
Ayn Rand and I definitely do not see eye to eye on environmentalists either! However, I was riveted by her books because they were excellent stories. They also had a big impact on me because when I read them (around age 20), I really thought that being nice was the most important thing to be. Through “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”, I learned that being respected was more important. That was a huge realization for me and really empowered me.
Your are right to ask me about this: my dad, who was a conservative Republican himself, always used to say he had hopes for me because I liked Ayn Rand, but alas I am as liberal as they come!
One last comment: you mentioned that these are frightful times. Yes, I believe that the United States has lost its way as a great democracy in the last 5 years. But I also believe that overall the world is a better place than it was 50 years ago. In most every country, young people are more tolerant and open minded than ever before; people are more literate around the world; the status of women has risen tremendously; animals are understood as being able to feel pain (although billions of creatures have horrible lives and cruel deaths in factory farms, which wasn’t the case 50 years ago). I would wager that over 80% of the world agrees with you and me that the US government is wrong on the war in Iraq and that Bush has done much more harm than good to our planet, so these “frightful times” will soon be over.
Thank you for your wonderful question.