You may notice the absence of my face staring at you this week. That’s right, I’m writing a blog today, instead of a vlog! I had written the following little essay a couple weeks ago, in response to a young-adult friend asking me to join a cause.
Raise your hand if you have NOT heard of “Kony 2012.” It’s an intriguing marketing idea to help rid the world of Joseph Kony as a free man. He and the LRA are responsible for killing, pillaging and abducting children from the Sudan, Congo, Central African Republic and Uganda. The creators of Invisible Children came up with the idea of “Kony 2012” to make him such a worldwide household name, he will no longer be able to hide anywhere. Their video, Kony2012 became viral. People around the world are encouraged to “Cover the Night” on 4/20/12 with Kony 2012 posters. Now, there is an updated video. See it at http://www.kony2012.com/.
No one can deny the good that Invisible Children are doing. However, my young-adult friend was very concerned HOW the Kony 2012 did NOT warn other young people to not destroy other people’s property on “Cover the Night.” So, because April 20th is coming up in a little over a week, I thought I’d address it on my blog/vlog.
Here’s the essay I wrote in response to my young-adult friend:
As I watched the Kony 2012 video, like many others, I cried and got chill bumps. The atrocities of Kony must be stopped. And it’s thrilling to see how ordinary people like you and me can be a part of the answer. But the chills were also about a growing concern in me. And that is the power that anyone has in today’s culture. This power–the capability of reaching and influencing millions through multi media–can generate a whole lot of good…or a whole lot of bad.
I do have a few concerns regarding the destruction/defacing personal or public property on the night of April 20th. (Yes, I realize defacing property is small, considering the violence that Kony has created. But it still doesn’t make it right.) I can’t turn away from the fact that they have not publicized enough the respect-other’s-property issue. (New addition as of today…when I watched their latest video, they did have a short warning about not defacing property.) Both you (my friend) and Jason Russell (founder of Invisible Children) are doing what you believe needs to be made known. That’s what checks and balances are all about; one makes sure the other doesn’t go to extremes.
I think the bigger issue here is recognizing the power we all have these days to persuade people. Each of us has a responsibility to decide–are we going to be a good influence in our sphere or a bad one? We need to point out the things that need adjusting, regardless of the nay-sayers, all the while encouraging the same project that just needs a little realignment. (Just like my young-adult friend did. ☺ )
Another example of the power we hold in our hands today is how we can “take down” a strong, guided mover-and-shaker like Jason Russell. No, we didn’t literally tackle him, strip off his clothes and make him bang his fist on the sidewalk. But, according to the news reports, the barrage of attacks he endured over the last four weeks sent him over the edge. Russell is doing great things! But like all of us, he needs help. He’s human. Something may slip up. Again, that’s why we all need those checks and balances to keep us on the right path.
Here’s the bottom line: I love the fact that we have easy access to Youtube and Facebook and making and editing videos, etc. We can make a video that can influence literally millions. I commend Jason Russell for his video and his Herculean efforts. But just as easily as Jason did something good, many can do harm. Like Bob Dylan said, “Everybody’s gotta serve somebody.” We’ve got the power within our grasp. Who are you going to serve?