When Do We Stop Posting Memes and Start Participating In Marches?
I have wanted to write this article for some time but admittedly, I have been seized with fear of my peers thinking I am too sensitive or it wasn’t my place to talk about this. However, I feel as though this conversation is well overdue. During the 2016 campaigns for the presidency, many people responded to very serious topics with memes or silly skits but I felt we, young adults who are now inheriting this country from our elders, never took these events seriously.
Many friends I spoke with responded by saying “The system is so corrupt, nothing I do will matter.” others said “I just don’t care what happens, I’m too focused on catching up on Game of Thrones.” and then when voting polls opened many either did not participate, voted Trump as a joke to piss people off, or chose “Harambe” as a write-in candidate which is a throwaway vote. When President Trump was sworn in, everyone was in shock and responded with more memes, videos, social media posts etc. Even major Youtubers such as Sky Williams admitted to not participating in the voting process but still complained about everything on social media.
As the months rolled on we have witnessed attempted changes to healthcare, LGBT rights, travel bans on groups of various ethnicities, changes to war stances, and so on. Every single time something happens, I can sense the frustration of everyone both online and off even those who voted for President Trump find themselves regretting their decision. Instead of taking a stand, we seem to delve even further into forms of escapism such as video games, movies, TV shows, and so on. While these hobbies do help lower our stress, we need to do so much more than post posting memes.
Granted, I absolutely understand why we do this, to confront a very real and serious problem takes so much effort and there is a chance you might look foolish by voicing your concern and being shut down by now being aware of certain aspects of an argument. So we hope that the “Adults” of the country fight the good fight on our behalf while we attend of World of Warcraft raids or binge that new Marvel show in one sitting. I caught myself typing in Facebook faster in the address bar so that I wouldn’t have to see my CNN home page because the headlines that only seemed to grow worse with time would stress me out.
Then on August 12th, 2017 the march of white nationalist groups occurred in Charlottesville, Va. Literal Nazis marched on American streets to announce their strong beliefs that people of different skin tones or ethnicity should not be afforded the same opportunities as other Americans or should even be harmed. Once again I witnessed Facebook posts and memes flood my screen and I couldn’t take it any longer.
At what point do we give a damn about the various issues facing our nation? How long we will hide behind our forms of escapism while the world descends into chaos? What will it take? Does it have to happen to our state? Do we wait until we are affected financially? Do we wait until our friends and family are harmed?
I can recall being little and consuming Harry Potter novels, Star Wars/Lord of the Rings films, and watched their dystopian worlds that decayed with every minute as they fought hard and sacrificed so much in order to get a single shot at defeating such incredible forces of evil. I wondered then as I do now that why did it get so bad? Couldn’t the realms of men and wizards and Jedi see how terrible situations had become and fought with their combined strength to overcome the threat before it becomes so overwhelming? Why did so many choose to ignore these signs even when their friends fell?
I can’t help but feel as though we, as a nation, are on the edge where the world we know could drastically change for better or worse depending on what actions we take today. I’m not saying folks need to become democrats or republicans, but I am urging my fellow geeks to stop Game of Thrones, put down Dark Souls, and turn off Facebook long enough to discuss these issues in all seriousness with your peers and at best case join others in marching for what you believe in. If there is something in the back of your mind that you believe would benefit the community in a positive way, then you should help build that change in whatever way you can.
If you are around my age then you were a child on September 11th, 2001 when the twin towers fell to acts of terrorism. Like many parents, mine removed me from school for the day and as I cried in my stress and confusion I asked my father why this happened. He sat me down and explained that there were people in this world that did not like us because of the country we were born in. We did nothing wrong to them as individuals but they have strong beliefs that we should suffer for things our country has done. When I asked what can be done to fix this, he said nothing. There wasn’t a way that I or he could speak to them and befriend them to sort things out, there was just this problem that could not be fixed.
In 2017, as adults, we have to sit the children of America down to explain to them that there are people in their country, or state, or even city that believe some of them of certain skin tones should not be afforded the same rights and opportunities as other Americans. Not because they did anything wrong but solely because of something they have no control over. This is terrible and wrong, no child should ever be informed that they are of less value than anyone or that anyone wishes them harm. I believe wholeheartedly that it is the duty of anyone over the age of 18 to stand up and fight for what we believe in. Personally, I want all children to understand that no one will harm them or that they are any less than their peers.
My goal with this article is to convince you, the reader, to consider taking some time in your life and dedicate it to politics. Whether you donate to a cause you believe in, march, attend city hall meetings, vote or run for local government officials etc. Something, anything, to help forge a community that you want to see because again we are adults now and this is our country. We can no longer leave these fights to be handled by our fathers or grandfathers.
The day will come when the next generation will look to you and ask “When all of this was going on, what did you do?” and your answer will either be one of regret or pride. I sincerely hope you have no regrets with your decision to either play video games until your eyes bleed or take time to make a difference in your community for the better.
Chicano | Fighting/Writing for Diversity | DM since 08 | Anime Lover | Site: https://www.thegeeklyfe.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | http://twitch.tv/that_deangelo | https://linktr.ee/deangelomurillo