A few days ago, Lester, a frequent commenter on this blog, reiterated his concern that those “blowing off steam” online–here and elsewhere–are substituting commentary for tangible action. In a private comment, I challenged him on that assumption, pointing out that he had no way of knowing what activities various commenters might–or might not– be engaged in.
I am aware of no data that either supports or rebuts Lester’s evident belief that people who regularly participate in online discussions (or diatribes) do so in lieu of other efforts to address America’s current dysfunctions. In fact, if I were to hazard a guess, I would expect that people who clearly care deeply about the political and social issues so often discussed here would be more likely than others to be involved in civic efforts to ameliorate those problems.
In response to my challenge, I got one in return: “ask your readers what they are doing to save American democracy.”
Fair enough. So today, I am asking regular readers (including you “lurkers” who rarely or never comment) to prove me right! What are you doing to improve your communities, to engage and mobilize rational people, or to educate your fellow-citizens about the nature of the challenges we are facing?
My sense is that there is much more civic and political activity “out there” today than most of us recognize, and that includes not just the incredibly important traditional efforts to support good candidates, register people and get out the vote, but also multiple endeavors that aim to change the culture–to make our neighborhoods, cities and states more inclusive, more equal and more humane, and to raise awareness of the truly existential threats we face–threats not just political but also environmental.
So–here’s my request to all of you. Post a comment and tell me (1) what political and social problem you consider most threatening; and (2) what you are doing to help solve that problem, other than complaining about it.
Make my day!