A while back we had a pretty decent blackout in my home town of Adelaide, and it lasted several days for some people. And quite a few of them got all vocal about how terrible that was. I took a few of them to task, suggesting it perhaps wasn’t the end of the world, and some of them bit back saying they paid good money for electricity, and had every right to complain. Which is, of course, absolutely true.
But it got me thinking.
What did they hope to achieve by complaining? Did they think it would bring the electricity back? That somehow, if they complained loud enough, stamped their feet hard enough, the power would magically come back on? I’m thinking probably not.
Did they maybe just want some sympathy? For someone, somewhere, or a whole bunch of someones on social media, to say how sad they were about the electricity being off? Or maybe they didn’t want them to be sad, they wanted them to join the mad club and be mad about it. And if ever there was a place to whip up some outrage over how unfair the world is, social media is that place.
And if I’m being completely honest, it goes without saying I’ve had some pretty decent social media sooks and dummy spits myself over the years. Fuck, there was once even a newspaper headline that described me as ‘Dummy Spit Sputnik’. True story. And probably not one of my finer moments.
Then there’s the events of today. While it was a pretty low profile affair that didn’t get much media coverage, so it’d be understandable if you missed it, it just so happens the United States has a new president as of today’s inauguration. And whadda ya know, some people, including myself, aren’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement about it.
So what are we going to do? Complain about it? Have a sook? Ask for sympathy? Whip up some outrage on social media? Because guess what? None of those things by themselves will make a pinch of shit of difference. What will make a difference, or at least has the potential to make a difference, is campaigning. Saying and doing what matters, where it matters most. Oh, and a hint? That’s probably not a social media status saying how mad you are. That’ll achieve a few things, I suppose, but change won’t be one of them.
Might I suggest, if there’s something you want to be different, it’s time to stop wasting your time and energy complaining, and start campaigning. If you can’t be arsed campaigning, even a little bit, it’s obviously not really that important to you. In which case, your license to complain about something you don’t care enough about to change, is hereby revoked. If your intention is to share important information, educate, lobby, or push for change, please, go your fucking hardest. You don’t have to go stand in front of a tank. Or shimmy down the White House to display a protest banner. You do have to get off your fucking arse and do something, anything, about it though. Join a march. Write a letter. Vote accordingly. Something. Anything.
Otherwise, save your energy and use it for something more constructive than putting more useless, negative shit out into the world.
And in the meantime, while we all push for change in whatever way we can, we can all still hold ourselves to the standards we’d like to see be our ‘official’ standards. The standards we’d like to see our elected leaders support and, when necessary, enforce. I know we’ll have slightly, and sometimes radically, different ideas about what those standards should be, but whatever they are, hold yourself to them. Regardless of who’s ‘in charge’.
As individuals and businesses, we can adopt our own environmental standards if we think climate change is a thing that needs to be addressed. We can treat people fairly and kindly regardless of what we can get away with doing. We can support and protect those who need it even when it’s not mandatory. And we can be awesome to each other. Just because being awesome to people, is, well, an awesome thing to do. And fuck knows we need as much awesome as we can get right now.