I got an email today from a cause wanting me to publicize it on my blog. Now, if you read here with any regularity, you know that what I do on my blog is generally, well, nothing. I don't really review books in any substantive way. I don't do author interviews, though I probably should. I really only have a good time recommending books to those searching, and, well, blather on, essentially. I don't really do activism.
But this email made me think. Here's the thing: I do believe in various causes. But I have a hard time figuring out how to be, you know, active about it. For instance: gun control. I feel really pretty clear on it: the lack of gun control is destroying people; it's only an issue because gun manufacturer's have manipulated people into believing things that aren't true to maximize profits; some people should have guns (hello, lady living in a cabin near grizzlies, have your shotgun, by all means!), but automatic weapons with an endless capacity for bullets are out of place in daily life. This, more or less, is what I believe. But when I try to be politically active about it, it never quite works out. We went on a march last year after Newtown. And first of all, the march was a little nutty, because I appreciate the concept of "a candlelight vigil on the Brooklyn Bridge," but truly a late-December candlelight vigil on the Brooklyn Bridge means candles that really cannot stay lit. It's windy there, folks. Also? Chanting. People were leading chants like:
No! More! I-legal guns!
And the thing is, that wasn't what we were protesting. I mean, I think we're all pretty much in agreement about illegal guns. But it's too complicated (and un-metrical) to work out a chant of "No! More! Guns that are allowed but don't make sense and put us all at risk!"
I feel like this about a lot of activism. I feel that there is an "activist personality" and I don't have it. Also: the aforementioned email referred to "raising awareness," about its topic, and I am sure that is a worthy goal, but…. But I am lazy? Is that it? I prefer to view myself as trapped in my own awareness of irony and thus paralyzed.
And truly, as I would tell the person who sent the email if I ever got around to it: Not all that many people read my blog, I don't know that having a badge/raising awareness/having people create whatever small thing you want them to create (cranes! Paper chains! Likes!) will in any way help your cause.
But then I am, I think, being a jerk. Because it's really pretty amazing that some people spend so much time and energy trying to help others/the world in whatever way they can. Also, it is a privilege to not feel spurred to activism. And I am grateful for that privilege. But probably, also, complacent.
So this is all a roundabout way of considering, really, nothing, nothing beyond my attempt at trying to figure out where this blog fits into the world, how we can make things better, how we can manage to keep on keeping on in a world that's so bent and battered.
Perhaps I will donate another $25 to Partners in Health and call it a day.
Your ideas, as always, are welcome.