World Events: Knowing Where You Stand (or Don’t Stand)

Sean Bassinger | Staff Writer

Let’s discuss how everyone’s reacting to this whole “Kony 2012″ mess. An infamous viral video started it all, and Internet users spread the heroic word by shouting it everywhere they could.

“Get the message out there, Joseph Kony is real and he must be stopped,” said the masses as they shared the documentary on their favorite social networking platform. That was all swell, until something else happened — other individuals, coming from a more critical background, started discussing how the Invisible Children campaign was, well… for a lack of better words, bullshit.

That's the Kony guy! I know who he is! So... now what?
It was up to Invisible Children and their founder, Jason Russell, to clear their reputation. The organization promised many counter arguments to keep the discussion going and prove their worth. Unfortunately, before any highly valid statements could be made, Russell completely lost it.

As a result, this caused yet another subcategory of individuals — the “See, he’s crazy, so his points were invalid all along” demographic — to rise up. These folks didn’t even know about the entire “Kony 2012″ debate until they saw the “Crazy Advocate Caught Nearly Naked in Traffic” headlines on their favorite news site.

Let’s take a moment to summarize this: The first group of people simply believed what they thought after watching a video, and without looking up any additional information. The second group, who were the most civilized, actually did their research and outlined why the Invisible Children campaign was probably a scam, providing both reasoning and financial figures to back up their claims. The third group (my least favorite) pretty much saw the video on TMZ, and used it as a way to pretend that they agreed with the second group by adding “Yeah, I saw the underwear video. Total scam.”

And finally, we have the most lost of all individuals: those from Category One who never stopped to consider Category Two’s argument. Yes, they heard it — they’re just not agreeing with it. Worst of all, some of them won’t admit to why they disagree with debates against Invisible Children. They’re still going strong, posting flyers and writing on telephone polls all across town simply because they want to support something. Many of them think with Nike’s “Just do it” attitude without considering the alternatives. Take a statement from the woman in this article as an example:

“I’ve been paying attention to the Kony campaign for the past six months or so, and I’m really interested in things that will get young people up off their butts to go get involved.”

This is probably her best reason for supporting the Kony campaign. Sure, it’s highly admirable to want younger generations involved with a cause, though it can’t be healthy to simply say, “I’m doing this since Uncle Jason and his adorable son say it’s correct,” without researching the subject. After all, maybe you are promoting a shady organization when you could be taking action in more helpful ways.

We must understand the messages we discover and check their facts. Get up, go out, and support a cause. But make sure you actually know what you’re supporting and why you’re passionate about it. Don’t just hop on the nearest bandwagon because you’re eager to “get involved” without even realizing the significance of the issue. Otherwise, the only “cause” you’ll support is another mass media mishap.

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