I am incredibly ill-equipped to discuss political matters. Politics overwhelm me more than anything else, even religion, and I get really uncomfortable talking about religion. But, as a human being with money, taxes, a job (sort of), a body, and choices to make – I end up being political. Because we all are. If you’re alive and making decisions you’re taking a political stance, whether you want to or not. If you have a bad case of word vomit and need to share every choice you make on the internet, you’re suddenly a political activist. I talk about sex before marriage, so now I’m a liberal, bra-burning (or slutty? Can you be a heterosexual bra-burning slut? I don’t understand the lines, here) activist. I argue against divorce in many cases, and now I’m not as liberal anymore. My liberality is really up for discussion nowadays. I don’t know what I am, I just want to sleep with someone before I make the choice to spend the rest of my life with them because I’m not interested in being on a sexual high-horse only to break a vow before God that I make forever. If that makes me a liberal slut, then so be it.
So anyways, onto my newest political platform. These last couple of days I’ve gotten all up in arms about this Kony 2012 situation. I watched the video, I cried, I called everyone I knew, and I made facebook statuses to the effect of “if you don’t care please defriend me.” Then, because it’s a political discussion, people disagreed with me. People are un-supportive of this group that made the video, The Invisible Children group, because they spend most of their money making videos and posters and bracelets and things. They think that they glamorize the situation with a heavy dose of the “White Man’s Burden,” a concept based on the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling that “has [become] emblematic of both Eurocentric racism and of Western aspirations to dominate the developing world” (1).
For those of you that are living under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, Joseph Kony is a soulless bastard living in Africa that, for over 20 years, has been abducting young children and putting guns in their hands. As they explain, more eloquently than me, on the Invisible Children website:
“Joseph Kony is the world’s worst war criminal. In 1987 he took over leadership of an existing rebel group and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has earned a reputation for its cruel and brutal tactics. When Joseph Kony found himself running out of fighters, he started abducting children to be soldiers in his army or “wives” for his officers. The LRA is encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians – often with blunt weapons.
The LRA is no longer active in Northern Uganda (where it originated) but it continues its campaign of violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. In it’s 26-year history, the LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people” (2).
No one is arguing that the cause isn’t good. If you believe that the cause isn’t good and you support Kony, then you and I are fundamentally different people that come from different planets and I can’t believe you found my blog. If you comment that the cause isn’t good, I will not approve it, because it’s my blog and I think you are one sick motherfucker.
What people are arguing (an argument that I respect and welcome comments on) is that the Invisible Children group, which I donated to (not only once, but have a monthly donation now set up, as well as my own fundraising page) has put the majority of their money – in the wrong places. As one highly reputable source, a college student with a Tumblr, explains:
“As a registered non-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services, with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness” (3).
I hate to sound like a white man here, but what the fuck does this college student think they can do with $8 million to solve a 20 year + crisis in Africa?
I, personally, think the way that Kony 2012 is presenting and executing this mission is downright brilliant. I never donate to nonprofits, because 1) I get overwhelmed trying to pick one, and 2) I know, deep down, that my $15 isn’t going to make THAT much of a difference. It would take 66 people like me to help one person fly over there to help. Just for the airfare. Let’s be real, here. Do you know what it takes to get 66 people to pull out their credit cards and donate $15? It takes a lot.
So what they’ve done is created a captivating, personable, relatable film that not only intelligently explores the issue but makes us believe that we can be part of a movement that will make a difference.
Their focus isn’t on solving the problem themselves, it’s on raising awareness to the point that it can’t be ignored. On their site they have chosen 20 “Culturemakers” (people like Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, and Tim Tebow) and 20 “Policymakers” (people like Condoleezza Rice, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry) that they have chosen to have us barrage and harass, collectively, until they listen. They make you feel as though you have the support behind you so that you can feel confident actually going through contacting them. They know that if these people get involved, shit will actually happen. Angelina’s net worth is estimated around $120 million. But even more, when she gets behind a campaign the power of her endorsement? Priceless. It’s worth more millions than our $15 will ever, ever add up to. Do you know what happens when some of the most powerful politicians from both sides of the political fence come together on an issue? Troops. Troops happen. And financial aid happens. Shit happens.
I can write the greatest blog on the planet, but unless other people link to me, you share it on social networking sites, and big bloggers re-tweet me, I might as well pack up my WordPress and move on. That’s how the world works. There are influencers, and there’s our power to share and get our little networks involved. No one is going to share this and get the masses stoked on it. It’s an incredibly intelligent, informative article, but I’d like to see it go viral and reach Lady Gaga. It won’t happen. I write some very intelligent things on this blog, and guess for over a year what my best ranking post was? The Jersey Shore Glossary that I made once, as a joke, with a girlfriend.
I don’t care about the most intellectual route, I care about making these kids a little safer. Yes, maybe it’s a white man’s complex, but I think it’s true that we have a responsibility living in this affluent democracy to make some choices for good – not just because it does or does not directly influence our nation’s security or finances. I was always confident that something like the Holocaust could never be pulled off in a day like today, because we live in an internationally connected world where people would be tweeting and up in arms and America would step up and intervene. I thought we, being America, had learned our lesson about stepping in sometimes just because it’s the right thing to do. Now, I’m not so sure, and it really bums me out. I personally think the Kony 2012 business plan is genius, and if anyone has their thinking caps on straight about how to get people revved and making a difference, they do.
Note: as I press publish on this post I’m also releasing my fundraising page. Watch the video and come help out. It’s an awesome cause.