Taking Issue with Society: A Quick Guide to Getting Your Hands Dirty

If you're like most people, for whom activism is kind of a bother, then go out and get involved to bring about some change. Keep reading the following OpinionFront write up to know more...
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018
By Ira Allen

"Hey, that's the way the world works." Wow. What an incredibly easy thing to say. If everybody said that whenever they heard an unpleasant fact, we'd all be in pretty serious trouble. But, wait a minute...in actuality nearly everybody does say that, or something like it...right?

How many times in the last month have you complained about some aspect of the society you live in? About crime, or unemployment, about the weird weather and our disappearing environment? About social security, medical insurance, or gas prices? The war in Iraq? And how many times did you, or the person you were talking with, end the conversation by suggesting that you both go out together, and do something about the issue that was on your minds? Never...I guess!

If you're like most Americans (and most people in the world, even - it's not just Americans, although armchair protests are certainly pretty common in the United States), the answer to that last question is zero. The thing is, activism is kind of a bother. And there's not much guarantee (or even hope, some argue), that what you're doing will make a difference.

But here's the other thing: you are guaranteed to be doing something. Whatever it is you're up in arms about - war, taxes, corporate corruption, social security - the way things are now is directly related to you and me. After all, they got to be the way they are, either through our inaction or despite our action. And if nothing changes, nothing changes.

The only sure way to know that things are changing, is to involve yourself in changing them. If you're sitting in front of the television or surfing aimlessly around on the Internet, dissatisfied with the world you are in, and feeling helpless to change it, you are still doing something. Specifically, you are signaling your unhappy acceptance of the way things are.

You think the above mentioned words are incorrect. Why do you think so? Aren't we of the notion, that we are supposed to accept things the way they are? Isn't that the key to happiness in the world-taking life as it comes? Up to a point, sure. But many also feel that happiness depends a lot on taking actions that are meaningful to you.

It might seem a bit harsh to suggest that, complaints without action actually support the things we are complaining about (because they give us the chance to let off steam without actually doing anything), But let's look at the other side of the coin. Let's contemplate on the things that you want to change? What do you wish was different? And what can you do about it?

The following list may give you some ideas for the kinds of action you can take to change the world - often starting by changing yourself.

Actions Speak Louder!
Want to get out of the painful, kind of guilty cycle of dependence on gasoline? Check out Journey to Forever's tips for "getting off gasoline" by making your own bio-diesel.

Frightened by break-ins in your neighborhood? Get information on organizing or joining a Neighborhood Watch at USA on Watch, a site that focuses on helping individuals and communities make their worlds a little safer.

Sickened by the ever-rising death toll in the Iraq War, and looking for a way to make your voice heard? Visit Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action, for some ideas about how to work for change in society. To find out more about the national and international network of people working toward peaceful solutions, to what has turned out to be quite a disastrous war, visit War Resisters' International.

Disgusted by Ken Lay and the corruption rampant in big business? Concerned about the links between your government and the corporate world? At the web site of The Yes Men, a group whose mission is to bring a dose of honesty into the profits-driven corporate world, you'll find a liberal dose of inspiration for your own efforts.

Desperate for a world where nationalist sentiment takes a back seat to compassion, where caring for other people (and the environment) is more important than patriotism? At Garry Davis's web site for world citizens, you'll find a forum for your concerns and some practical tips for putting your beliefs into action.

Hopefully, one of these web sites will whet your appetite for change. If so, don't wait...the time to act is now. If not, please let them serve as springboards, pushing you to find more information about the issues that you care about. Because if you don't do something, no one else will.
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