Don't just stand there...
0 comment Wednesday, May 14, 2014 |
This post is not one that I had planned for today, but it's an impromptu post, based on comments I just read on another site, comments which echo almost identical remarks I've read countless times on other, similar sites and forums. In fact, more than once, I've had such remarks aimed at me on this blog.
Have you all guessed what I am about to write? The comments in question were along the lines of 'you talk about what is wrong but what are we supposed to do? Why aren't you out doing something? Why does everybody just complain, and do nothing? What about organizing?'
I've addressed such complaints -- or accusations framed as questions, before. But since this is such a common question, I'll try again.
To begin with: there are websites, forums, and blogs that DO promote some kind of action, usually along the lines of organizing faxing/e-mail/phone/letter-writing campaigns. Some have promoted boycotts. Some publicize and take part in protests and rallies, sometimes counter-rallies where the pro-amnesty mob is protesting. This is possible mostly where the people involved in the web forums are able to network in the real world with like-minded people and actually physically get together and do things as a group. Many of the people on certain anti-illegal forums, for example, are located in Southern California or Arizona, and hence can act as a group in their local areas.
Some bloggers are encouraging web-based activism, like e-mailing. But what other options are there, given that we are all scattered here and there?
This blog, like many similar ones, however, is frequented by people who are mostly widely dispersed throughout this vast continent. By means of my site statistics, I know that my regular readers are located not only in the U.S. and Canada, but in Europe, Australia, and even a few in Asia and elsewhere. This situation does not lend itself to organizing any kind of group effort.
I don't usually exhort my readers to fax, write, e-mail, or call anybody; I've done that on the odd occasion, like when the amnesty bill in, one of its lives, was threatening to succeed. But in general I tend to trust that my readers are savvy enough to do those things, and informed enough to know how to go about it: how to contact their representatives and make their wishes known.
But I support those who organize such campaigns. I don't disparage them, and I try to do what I can when I can.
I think many of us are prone to forget local action; this may be the area in which to concentrate, as opposed to Washington D.C., which seems to become more remote and unresponsive, if not downright hostile, with each day. I think we should be as involved as we can in local affairs in our towns/cities and counties, and let's remember school boards too, although I think homeschooling is the best choice these days.
And when I read these frequent complaints on various blogs and forums, I often feel inclined to question whether the complaining person is himself doing all he could in the real world, or whether he is looking to others to not only raise the alarm but to fight the fire too. Are we looking for leaders rather than taking our own initiative? When did we become such a nation of bystanders? In many cases we have to become the leaders we are looking for. If we wait around for the man on a white charger, it may be too late.
It's also good to remember that just because some of us are on the Internet, blogging or posting comments, that does not mean that we are not also doing what we can do in real life. It's a fallacy that the person who is a ''keyboard warrior',' as some disparagingly put it, is a shirker out there in the everyday real world. All of us, surely, have lives outside the Internet where we take these issues just as seriously as we do in cyberspace.
None of us knows what the rest are doing or not doing out there in the real world; it's not a case of either/or; being an 'internet activist' hardly precludes doing something in real life -- unless one spends all of one's waking hours at the computer.
Ideas and action are not mutually exclusive, although often the 'men of action' and the thinkers and exhorters and philosophers are two different groups of people. Everybody has a part to play, and as with any other effort, there has to be some specialization of function. We can't all be carrying out the same roles.
It would seem that the sphere of action is out there in the world around us, in our immediate surroundings. The Internet, in many cases, is just a place to discuss, philosophize, strategize, gather moral support, spread the word, but out there in the towns and communities we each inhabit, that's where we have to focus our real-life efforts.
At the same time, if anybody out there has suggestions for practical ways we can act, or if anybody has successes they can relate to inspire the rest of us, or give us hints as to what we might do, or how best to do it, I'm interested in any such stories.
This is a frustrating, disheartening effort, when it seems that the odds against us are long, and many people are outright hostile to us, but let's not blame each other for the obstacles we encounter. We need to have some kind of spiritual unity to give us the strength to keep going.

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