Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018 – The year of the Volunteer Activist

2017 – What a year. The year of war, terror, fear, fear mongering, Trump, North Korea, anger and volunteering. I added volunteering because you just got to take something good from the year right? But wait up, how many people volunteered for the Trump campaign? Is this volunteering for good? There is a blog and a debate for the future. Even so, the words “low level volunteer” still echo in my mind.

I’ve been hanging around on this planet for almost 48 years now. I don’t think I’ve seen so much anger and divisiveness in my life. Everyone seems to be fighting. Black white. Rich poor. Arab Jew. Woman man. Religious atheist. Social media perpetuated this anger. You can’t read a news story on Facebook without reading the brawling in the comments section. Keyboard warriors have masses of courage.

You don’t see much compassion, love, forgiveness and tolerance on social media. You certainly don’t see much of this coming from our Governments. It’s enough to despair but I sense something is not quite right here.

Who benefits from us all fighting with each other? While we are all fighting are we simply distracted by what is really going on? Imagine if we paused the arguments put down our phones and devices and just had a look around us for a day.  Imagine if we just had a conversation about the growing divide between rich and poor and the disappearance of the middle class. Imagine if we saw refugees with our hearts instead of our minds and ignored the fear mongering driven by a government agenda supported by the press.

Who benefits from us all fighting with each other? While we are all fighting do we not notice that there is little difference between political parties? Kids will starve to death by the time we usually reach lunch time but we have our reality shows and dinner delivered on our apps to look forward to in the evening.

Who benefits from us all fighting with each other? Because above the noise of our arguments no one hears the cash registers ringing at the billions many of our governments spend on defence. And we won’t worry about that as long as we get a great New Year’s Eve fireworks display in major cities that costs millions upon millions. But that’s ok because the homeless get a free show too right?

Who benefits from us all fighting with each other? Because we get more time to go to the beaches due to the beautiful hot weather and those scientists are full of fake news.

Who benefits from us all fighting with each other? The answer is those who benefit from us all being distracted. And who are they? The status quo brigade. The elite. The powerful. The people who own you. Or like to think they do. Their biggest fear is the old adage “the people united will never be defeated”

Because united we find our humanity. United we see that we all breathe the same air and bleed the same colour. United there are no borders. United we seek equality and justice for all. United we know we produce enough resources on this earth to serve all. United we know there is cheaper cleaner energy.

And there is hope. In 2017 I’ve watched brave people around the globe take action for good. People volunteer to make a difference but are being choosier about where they volunteer. Activism is growing. I was once at a national conference where someone argued that activism and volunteerism were inherently different. I disagree. I believe the world will change for the good because of volunteer activists!

This year for the first time since the Iraq war I protested. Alerted by social media to the case of people who were being treated inhumanly, without compassion and with cruelty I decided to be on the right side of history and picked up my placard and sang my protest song. Because no more. Not in my name.

Here’s to the volunteer activist in 2018. But first, try and see all the distractions for what they really are.


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