What does “doing something” mean? #Kony2012

There’s been a lot of excitement and angst over this #Kony2012 business. I’m not going to get into the particulars, because you’ve heard of Google and Twitter and that’s really all you need to make up your own mind. But I’m bothered by something related to this #Kony2012 campaign, and that is our definition of action these days.

We live in a society in which very little action is required for daily life. We don’t have to know how to tell good stories in order to be entertained of an evening, that’s what a TV/smartphone/laptop/iPad/movie theater is for. We don’t learn how to coax seedlings out of the earth and grow them into food for our tables, because we have a Whole Foods down the street that will provide any veggie your heart desires, pre-washed, pre-bagged, pre-fair traded to your table. Most of us don’t know how to be self-sufficient, how to write something well, how to do much more than retweet the genius of others.

Which brings me to #Kony2012. Most people I talk to, see much of the criticism as valid, but they finish the debate with: “well, at least people are doing something”. I agree, apathy is a stain on my generation and we are all too often tempted into selfish listlessness, but I rebel against the idea that re-posting a video to Facebook or buying an overpriced bracelet is “doing something”.

Doing something requires action, discomfort and a willingness to look foolish. Doing something is taking the homeless guy on the street corner to McDonald’s, even though he smells like pee and you’re not sure what he’s talking about. Doing something is tutoring an inner-city student who would drop out without your influence. Doing something is jumping your neighbor’s car when he needs it instead of pretending to be too busy, it’s cleaning your church on a Sunday morning, it’s taking a weekend trip to Mexico to help build a church or run a medical clinic, it’s sacrificing time, talent and money and it’s thinking critically about the causes we support, talking about things that matter with our friends and community.

Let’s stop being content with retweeting and reposting and let’s DO something, in our hearts, in our homes, in our churches, on our street corners, in our world. Let’s think it through and know why we’re doing it and what we hope to accomplish by it. This is a challenge to all of us, myself included. We can and should unabashedly embrace an active role in the world, fighting apathy and our own temptation to label bandwagoning as courageous action.

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3 thoughts on “What does “doing something” mean? #Kony2012

  1. Yes.

    I often think about how I need to schedule a time to catch up on local political issues, or I read books and listen to podcasts about writing, or I study how to deal with conflict successfully. It’s a different thing to do the work. What I should be doing is engaging, writing, making peace in my heart.

    I’m glad that Kony2012 exists because it’s forced me to think about Kony, it’s forced me to think about what, if any, obligation I have to address the situation. I know that’s not the entire point of the project, but it’s certainly good that I’m thinking about it. I might’ve made the project differently, but, as you mentioned, it’s my responsibility to engage.

    Thank you for the reminder.

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