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"


KarelJ said...

Not only do I agree whole heartedly with your points... you actually beat me to the punch as far as what I was going to rant about on my blog and on Twitter.
It's hysterical watching all these rich, young white folk joining in the protests and marches here in America. It's safe, gets them 'cool' points and it gives their shallow existence some sense of value.
Of course if these same people where in the situation that Iranians currently are..where the threat of a savage beating, horrible jail conditions and/or death...they would simply go on drinking their mochas and discussing the latest episode of The Hills.
Until the next trendy cause rolls around...

Maxx said...

I don't agree. People like you should be put in a tiny cell and set on fire. Who's with me? Join my facebook cause to set bloggers on fire.

Seriously though, you make a good point, but I'm not sure that effort, pain or suffering on my part is really the same as not doing nothing. I have a friend who stages protests because she "doesn't agree with immigration policies" and doesn't eat meat or even dairy products because she "doesn't want to support animal cruelty". As an immigrant myself I certainly enjoy giving her a hard time with my "logic", but that's beside the point.

For all her time invested and delicious foods not eaten I can't help but feel that the only one benefiting from any of it is her. Really not that different than the time I'm now investing in writing this, just a bigger chunk of it. Big meat isn't going anywhere cause guess what? It's also big veggie. Taco bell doesn't care if you get your tacos with meat or without, they'll just put that meat in the next girl's taco and use that money to slay more innocent cows (or clone them as the case may be).

Political activism and/or passivism is just masturbation, except nobody cares where you spill your milk because everyone is doing it. You want to effect real change?? You want to make the world better??? Make a ton of money and use it to buy people in high places... or at least pay off a good hacker to change some key ideas at the root. As it is, anything you do is just a drop in a bottomless bucket.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is really spot on. So many people these days are political passivists.

Anonymous said...

its all bullshit and there is no point
i myself am vegan, but i see a lot of vegans that think their choice is actually doing something
when in fact the only way anything could or would change in this world is if there is a drastic change in population or the entire human race dies off
which is in fact in the future, unfortunately not the near enough future for me
basically i say to everyone who thinks they are making a fucking difference
"save the planet, kill yourself"

Anonymous said...

Hey sweetie, I get you and it's hard not to laugh. But I feel like every little thing people say and do to me effects me greatly, so maybe every little thing I do effects others, and I do march in the "streets" of this rural area for what I believe in. It may not change anything but I do it, and feel good. Luv you smarty pants.

cutiecalamity said...

you are brilliant.. but you know that already ;)

Anonymous said...

Uk is not my main language, but I could recognize this using the google translator. Tremendous content, keep them coming! Thanks for your time!