I have lately been bombarded on social media with requests to donate to people’s various fundraisers for their cherished causes. I totally applaud the impulse and often share their passion for the cause. However, if I were to donate even $5 to each of these I would soon go broke. Maybe the idea is that if we all have different networks it will spread the pain far enough out for them to all be successful; I hope so.
And of course, social media is filled with dissent, anger, opinion and sometimes calls to action. Mostly though they are “fact” and opinion and this is the case for whatever position or affiliation is being espoused. Some of the “facts” are undoubtedly true, at least I believe them. Some are obviously false. No matter, it is irrelevant to my point here.
Most of us believe, in the the current state of affairs in this country, that some action is required. True for everyone, again, of whatever affiliation. And most of us are not shy about saying, posting, writing whatever action we think should be taken. There are very few of us who are doing what we are asking others to do.
I think there is a significant lack of doing in this country today. There are some clear exceptions to this rule. An example is the courageous teachers of the Los Angeles public schools. Many see it as harming the students but the conditions under which the students and teachers labor is not acceptable nor conducive to learning. The teachers, with the support of many of the parents, are striking for nurses, librarians, resources and a living wage – all good for their students.
The Women’s March on Washington, that I attended and that took place on the day after President Trump’s inauguration, was an inspiring and amazing experience. Now, however, it has been co-opted in many ways. Some have it as synonymous with the “women’s movement”, some with “me too”, some as an up raising of women of color. It was none of those things, it was a civil action intended to send a message. The follow up has been fractured and ineffective and does not send a useful message. I am a woman, I am me too, I believe in political action but I am not sure where to put my action.
And no matter where I put my action, it is action that is required. It is doing, it is being what you believe. I recycle although I think it is mostly useless as I am told that there is a shortage of companies buying recycled material. But I keep faith with the idea that it has to be effective eventually. So don’t just write about what you believe should happen, figure out what you can actually do, and be what you believe. Political action and social change may start on social media, but they don’t end there.