When you read a lot of Civil Rights/Black Power movement books, you think of being serious as an activist—defined by me as taking direct (nonviolent) action that blocks and thwarts the system directly, and gladly accepting the consequences—as beloning to the era of black-and-white television, particularly in the ultra-symbolic, little-substance Obama Era. Tim DeChristopher defied that to such a degree that the judge seemed reluctant yesterday to sentence him at all. I’m sure he’ll only be in jail for eight months, tops. But his point was politically clear, and clearly articulated. Tim DeChristopher is on record, publicly defying the status quo. The judge said there were other ways to protest the land sale. But on the auction day, there was only one (nonviolent) way to stop it. And so he walked past symbolism, and chose it. What an important (political) distinction to make.