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A Few Things You Can Do Besides Tweet

Y’all have been pretty politically active online lately. I’ve tried muting it, but like herpes and taxes it keeps popping back up. Now, I’m not here to begrudge anyone for having and expressing an opinion. Nor am I here to agree or disagree with any of what’s been posted. Believe whatever you want. So long as that belief doesn’t require the extermination of anyone or their way of life, I could care less. I’m here to call out those of you I suspect have ratcheted up your internet activism solely out of a desire to mine some clout from a new well, and to encourage those of you with actual sincerity in your opinion to stop confusing online effort with real world change. So with all that being said, if you really want to do something about everything that’s got you wearing out your caps lock, here are a few ideas.

Go Local: If all you do is rant on social media towards your national level ideological other, it can be real easy to get overwhelmed with hopelessness. You tweet, and tweet, and mention, and quote tweet, and tweet some more, and they just don’t listen. They don’t even reply. That’s because as much as our federal officials love to pander to the idea of country-wide care, when it comes right down to it; 99% of them don’t give a shit about anyone outside their voting and donating bloc. What you can do instead, is find some smaller politicians to direct your rage at IRL. Go ask your mayor and city-council members what they think about your issues. Call your state politicians and make sure they’re doing everything they can to cultivate the sort of environment that supports the beliefs you’re passionate about. Not only is the possibility of creating change greater this way, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to meet these people in person and see firsthand the stress your incessant pestering is putting on someone who just wants to leverage their office for a lobbying gig. Doesn’t that sound better than endlessly motherfucking a federal official who probably muted you six months ago?

Join Your Party: It’s one thing to check a box when you register to vote. It’s another thing entirely to walk into your local party headquarters and tell them you want to get involved. Unlike tweeting at the respective party accounts, volunteering, donating, and receiving information from the actual various local party chapters puts you on the front row of the work these two scam machines do everyday. They may not pay much any attention to you if you aren’t cutting checks, but at least you’ll get to see if they’re actually backing up all their posturing. Plus, you’ll be able to take correspondence out into the world and get it in front of a real person, instead of your 150 followers who I guarantee scroll right past every link you post.

Volunteer: It sucks to admit, but we’re past the days of direct citizen influence. Now the only people politicians listen to are donors and PACs (also donors). Not all is lost, though, because a good number of these PACs are nonprofits, which means you can volunteer, and use them as a medium to break through the money-filled ears of your elected official. Nonprofits are also a great way to get around the complete ineffectiveness of government. After all, no matter what side of the aisle we’re on, we can all agree there’s at least one thing we think government is shitting the bed on at every level. If it’s income inequality, stop pestering your senator who hasn’t lived in an apartment in 60 years, and go spend some time at your local homeless shelter. If it’s the environment, organize a Saturday morning park cleanup. I promise you’ll feel so much better than if you just keep tweeting into the void.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the delusions of effort online. All you have to do is dance your thumbs across a screen and *poof* something visible appears that satiates your frustration with a false sense of accomplishment. But the fact remains that no one ever got more rights, and no laws ever got passed, because @ChangeTheWorld got a bunch of likes/RTs. So, if you’re really interested in doing more than snagging a bunch of new political bot followers, get off social media, and get that passion out into the world where it’ll actually accomplish something. Good luck.

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Ben Jammin (Shithead)
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Ben Jammin (Shithead)

I’ve started unfollowing anyone who habitually tweets about political or social issues. I only have to unfollow the liberals, because Twitter deletes the conservatives for me.