Welcome to HEAVEmedia’s swap week! Our columnists have taken over each other’s articles all week long. Today – Revisiting the Rotten’s Calhoun Kersten takes over Quinn McGee’s Rambling Dispatches, to talk about the iGeneration’s uninformed politics.
The state of politics is in a dizzying downward spiral. Whether it was the shockingly inaccurate remarks of Todd Akin or the continued deception of the Romney/Ryan campaign, it is clear that something is wrong with America’s political system. I don’t mean to harp on Republicans so much, but with the Republican platform being what it is, they practically do the job for me. I mean, let’s say I’m able to, or even willing, to overlook their archaic war against women. That doesn’t change the fact that Paul Ryan has continually lied throughout his campaign for vice president. Forget Mitt Romney’s glaring inconsistencies on the issues and his unwillingness to release his tax returns. Ryan straight-up lied at the Republican National Convention; even Fox News called him on it. That says so much to me. Sure, on the surface it says, “Here’s a guy I can’t trust.” But no, it’s not just that. To me, it says, “Here’s a guy who thinks that I’m stupid enough that he can lie to my face.” And you know what? That pisses me off. But it feels so good.
Do I approve of the hate-filled messages that Romney/Ryan have consistently been running? No. Have I been in love with everything that Barack Obama has done? No. But do you know the last time that I was actually fired up enough about politics that I was actually and actively pissed? Okay, well, for me it wasn’t that long ago, but that passion? That fervor? That desire? No, the recognition of the necessity of change? That’s what missing in modern day America.
We’ve been taught over and over again that getting upset over things is bad and that anger is a useless emotion, but the fact of the matter is that anger has a very clear-cut purpose. It’s good to be angry. It proves that there’s still something that you care about in this world of self-important self-indulgence. The problem is, not enough of us know how to get angry anymore. Because, you know what? Sometimes those people are right. Sometimes, anger just leads to bitterness and resentment, but anger always has the ability to lead to action.
In the iGeneration, part of that is the pacification process we go through as kids. I’m talking about the whole “why can’t everybody get along” and “everyone’s special” lies that are instilled in us from birth until the harsh realities of adulthood set in. Why can’t everybody get along? Why can’t we all just be civil? To return to my point, because it’s politics. Politics are inherently uncivilized. They are glorified disagreements, usually on what rights some hold to be fundamental while others dismiss them as privileges. There is a time and place to be civil, but there is also a time to be wild and unruly and to act up. That time is now.
As the political season starts heating up, there’s a palpable shift in the social media climate. Statuses that used to be devoted to “Stacy iz gonna get fukked up 2nite lol” become half-informed declarations of political aptitude, like “Michelle Obama is mah girl, y’all!” One must admit that it’s better than nothing, but it doesn’t do much. To put it quite frankly, it does jack shit. Every political movement starts somewhere. The first step in achieving any sort of change is awareness. Awareness of the problem, awareness of the proposed solution and awareness that something must be done. Our generation has that covered. Awareness has never been an issue for people my age, with the 24-hour news cycle, the internet and the viral nature of online content.
The problem is complacency. We’ve got the message out about what the problem is. In this proposed example, let’s continue with the Romney/Ryan ticket. There have been countless articles and rants written about both of these candidates, memes such as the popular Paul Ryan Gosling Tumblr and videos about people’s opposition to these Republican candidates. There’s almost an overabundance of information. But people don’t know what to do with that information. So the cycle perpetuates itself. Articles get reposted, memes get shared and posts dedicated to the refusal of the Romney/Ryan ticket collect in the annals of Facebook.
My suggestion? Do something.
Don’t just post. Don’t confine your frustration to the wall of your Facebook and your friends. Social media has made activism more accessible than ever, but it hasn’t completely removed the necessity of individual action. If you’re really committed to being lazy, donate some money to your candidate’s campaign so that they can continue to get the word out. Engage in “rude” conversation and actually discuss the importance of politics with others. Sure, it’s not as safe as the weather, but it’s a lot less touchy than religion, right? And for God’s sake, don’t be afraid to get pissed about politics every once in a while. It’s the future of our country. It’s something worth getting pissed over.