Friday, June 19, 2009

Political Activism and you

So Iran has this green party. They want elections now. I've seen pictures of the massive protests and rallies, and they are impressive. I've also seen those of you who "went green" on twitter by greenifying your icons, and they are not so impressive. Like everything else that used to require dedication: being in a subculture, being a gamer, being a fan of horror/film/etc, politics have reached an all time high of exposure and an all time low of dedication. Things like online petitions, right down to Facebook's "political causes" app have given rise to the ridiculous notion that somehow attaching your screen name to a cause is the same, somehow, as actually supporting it. The effects of this are already becoming evident, but I do not think they will really come to a head for another few decades or so, when the televinternet will replace all social gatherings, and we'll be able to vote for president with our remote control. In the meantime, let me give you a little hint:

If what you're doing requires no actual effort, or in no way threatens the stability of your life, it's not really activism.

Just to level the playing field, I am in NO WAY an activist. I purposely DO NOT claim to be politically active in any way. I don't consider the facebook causes I put my name on to be support, except for supporting the cause of "stop bugging me about your stupid cause". In retrospect I was just supporting your spiraling into extreme laziness in your dedication to your politics. I also never actually tried to recruit anyone, because I am lazy.

My mother is politically active. She's been interviewed on her local news, and has risked her name and reputation pressing a lawsuit against her own town for misappropriation of funds.

My friend is an activist, she has attended protests and rallies in which she could get arrested, and has actually physically distributed literature, and collected REAL signatures.

I do not always believe in what they do, but I cannot deny that they do something.

Back on point, I CAN deny that you do something. That online petition might work for a private company who wants to see a list, but in reality it's not a ACTUAL petition in any binding or legal way. Door to door signature collection is far more difficult, and people who would gladly click a link to add their name to a list, are more hesitant to add their actual signature to said list. It also involves getting off your ass and interacting with people.

I think what we need is a new term "political passivism". Not to be confused with "pacifism", this new term can usher in a new era of lazy online petitions and political causes on facebook. Perhaps even a blog, I should check to see if maybe I could start... oh wait, I'm too late...

Political passivism is the wave of the future, as more and more people will give a heartfelt "yeah, sure, whatever" to a cornucopia of causes they might think they want to support. Michael Vick got you angry? Join the many Facebook causes directly supporting more jail time for him, or even the many MORE that want stiffer penalties for animal abuse and are willing to do absolutely nothing to further this, aside from make a list online so people can see how many OTHER people are too lazy to let their ire motivate them. Don't forget to forward those political emails, as well, whether or not they're true. It doesn't matter, because nobody has the time, energy, or dedication to fact check!

Just remember in 20 years when you're voting in the 2039 local elections using your xbox 1800 controller during the break between "America's Next Top Topless Twitterer" and "The Deadliest Farts", that I coined the phrase on the T shirt you're wearing "Proud Political Passivist"