Friday, November 12, 2004

One Mind At A Time, Mine Included (MG)

The following is a post made by Matthew Good on November 10th (My title is his). I thought it was worth displaying in its entirety. Please read.

On November 3rd, like millions of others, I was less than impressed with the outcome of the US presidential election. On that day, which was spent on the phone with friends from the States and talking with those on tour, I posted an entry that very much reflected my feelings at the time. I will, without any reservation, admit that I could have chosen better words with which to convey my disappointment, as such feelings were in no way intended towards those Americans that were proactive in working within the system to remove President Bush, that understand the ramifications of Bush’s re-election, and must now face four more years of disastrous leadership. If anything, the 1,000+ e-mails that I received in the days that followed impacted me greatly, acting as a wake up call of sorts. Alienation is not an answer - it is ignorance; and I am guilty of it.

I am often asked by people how they can become proactive in an attempt to help change the world. I realize that the phrase ‘change the world’ is somewhat corny, but it’s accurate. The question is, of course, very general and innocently naïve, but it is a welcome one. I have often commented on the fact that one of the most pervasive problems in many circles of activism is a very elitist arrogance that often alienates those looking to try and help make a difference in whatever small way they can. Reaching out to anyone that would involve themselves in positive causes is never a mistake, only a missed opportunity to both meet new people and swell the numbers of those looking to commit to making their communities, their countries, and their world a better, more peaceful and tolerant place.

There are, of course, thousands of ways to make a difference. When I first delved into the world of activism I was drawn to human rights because I have always struggled with what I perceive to be a massive imbalance between the rights of the affluent and those of the poor. My wife Jennifer, for example, is involved with numerous animal rights groups because of her great love of animals, a passion which has taught me a great many things that I had no idea about. In the end, it comes down to what you, as an individual, feel strongly about.

Ultimately, you should do some homework about those organizations involved in whatever areas interest you. And no matter what anyone says, don't feel as if you're doing too little when you first get involved. Find your comfort level and choose your own speed of progression. The truth of the matter is that, as urgent as help is needed, no one is in the position to turn away those that are looking to become involved. Activism is not a contest, it is not a trend, it is not counter culture, and it should never (in my opinion) promote the use of violence. It is simply people concerned about the well being of their world, in whatever way; making their voices heard, listening to what others have to say, and trying to do whatever they can to invoke positive change that will hopefully affect the lives of others.


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