The Common Good

Navarrette: Fasting Leaves A Sour Taste

Date: December 10, 2013

The idea of a fast intended to push a political cause is to turn nothing into something.
Individuals make a public showing of the fact that — for a week or two — they consume nothing but water in the hopes something will come of it politically.
In the early half the 20th century, Mohandas Gandhi fasted more than a dozen times to advance the movement for Indian independence. His longest fast, in 1943, was for 21 days. Gandhi’s strategy was to put his own health at risk to promote nonviolence to pressure British officials and his own followers — neither of whom wanted the spiritual leader to die — to embrace nonviolence.

Back on the Mall, the four original fasters ended their protest after 22 days. They were replaced by eight other people who continued the fast. They include Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., Bernice King, a pastor and the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and about a dozen Democratic members of Congress have come by to offer support.