The internet and social media are great. They give everyone the ability to spread information and join together in support of a cause despite being all over the world. It’s easier than ever to put your name on a petition, make donations, and make your voice heard. Movement leaders and cause supporters can spread information, research and news as fast as it is coming off the press.
This is all well and good, and I am all about positive change, but there is a not so positive aspect about all of this that really makes me disheartened. The anger. People are getting so ANGRY about the things they are passionate about. So, my question is, how positive is this change really if people are enraged or guilt-tripped into taking action?
I agree that anger is a powerful driving force, but that doesn’t make it a positive one. It puts a dark shadow over good intentions. In my humble opinion.
One of my resolutions is to participate in the TakePart.com ’30 Ways in 30 Days’ project. It’s about taking a little time out each day to make a positive change in the world, like signing a petition, doing something nice for someone in your community, dropping an environmentally unfriendly habit, and more. I decided March would be the month. Yesterday (the 1st) I pledged to end senior hunger by 2020 and put the gears in motion to volunteer for my local Meals on Wheels. Today, the action was to take their monthly poll which just happened to be about food.
At the end of the poll there was a link to the Facebook for Food Inc. which I ‘liked’ because, well, I’ve seen the documentary and liked it. Also, because I support how positive and inspiring they are about how to take action against the “mechanized underbelly” of the food industry and Monsanto, like buying local, eating seasonal, etc. I respond well to that.
Monsanto is horrible. Yes. But, instead of dedicating themselves to inciting anger, the Food Inc. page promotes all of the positive ways that people can go against Monsanto without being consumed with toxic anger about the injustices the corporation is involved in. You’ll find an article every so often then will get people riled up, but for the most part, positive.
So, where is this positivity in other such movements? I sauntered over to the Peta2 page and sat a spell at the Occupy Wall St. page. Both are movements/organizations that I strongly support, but I found that both, in stark comparison to Food Inc., were filled with content designed to incite anger or guilt. They show graphic images of violence and injustice to innocent people. They are filled with comments with calls to radical action. Even though they have my full support, I didn’t feel empowered or inspired when I left, I just felt angry, a little defeated, and most of all like the problem was so big and gruesome that what the heck can I possibly do?
I know there’s plenty I can do, and there is hope, but I didn’t feel that way.
So I ask you…is there a way to put positivity back into a movement that’s about something so negative and horrific? Or is it absolutely necessary to get people angry to get them to take action?
This isn’t to say that the truth should not be brought to light. That people should ignore animal cruelty and class warfare because it doesn’t make them feel good, but is there a way to spin it with a positive and productive means for action?