A call to positive action: what can we learn from the aftermath of Kony 2012

No one could have missed the explosion of Kony 2012 this month, and certainly no one could have missed the controversy it created, resulting in many a heated argument had over smoking keyboards and furrowed brows.

The popular consensus, as it is with all such debates, is that the cynics must be of infinitely superior wisdom and all those who were naively inspired to be a part of change in their generation must be simple-minded and use words such as “like” and “totally” as every second word in their everyday speech.

I do not want to get into the Kony 2012 debate. I am sure you can guess what side I am on, but I am not likely to change your mind any more than you could change mine. The more significant part of the story is what has happened since the video came out.

On March 15, Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children and the face of the Kony 2012 viral video, was seen acting irrationally, running around naked and screaming in San Diego, Calif. There were hearsay reports courtesy of TMZ that at one point he was seen masturbating in public.

Well, isn’t this just perfect timing for all the critics to pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done for spotting the “crazy.”

When I read this report, I was shocked — and then not so much. We live in a dark and aggressive world where every part of a person is picked apart and analyzed, critiqued and degraded. How many celebrities have the media driven to the edge? How many politicians? Humanitarians? Now, with social networking and the Internet keeping everyone connected with everyone’s personal business 100 per cent of the time, this aggression has permeated all aspects of life.

People should question things. People should investigate, remodel and recreate to find the best solution to every problem — that is our duty as citizens of the modern world. However, the opposition rarely plays clean anymore. When the critics came out to have their say about Kony 2012, they did not focus on creating a better solution; they focused on tearing apart what existed, callously beating down the people involved. I blame them for Russell’s alleged mental breakdown and all those who have been destroyed before him by similar means.

We know so much about everyone and everything that we should feel more connected to one another, but I would argue the opposite effect has taken place. We understand the facts and trivia about a person, but lack the empathy and compassion to see the real human being underneath.

And for organizations and causes trying to address real needs in our world, we as a society are more concerned with finding fault in the people behind these organizations than focusing on the problems themselves and working together to find the best solutions.

What we have seen with the backlash and bickering that ensued from the Kony 2012 video is a sad depiction of humanity. Unfortunately it is not the first example, and it won’t be the last. If you are a regular naysayer, I want to ask you what you are doing with all your pessimism? Who have you helped today and who are you going to help tomorrow?

To the go-getters out there, I ask you the same questions. Whatever your disposition is in life, you must do more than just attack those who hold disparate views from your own. You must question new ideas and potential solutions, but I hope that you will be inspired to do this proactively rather than angrily and help our generation create a better legacy than the one we are currently leaving behind.


Image: Kony 2012