Change can’t be measured in likes

For many young people today, political activism seems to have been reduced to clicking share on Facebook. There is no shortage of young people passionate about various political topics. However, there does seem to be a shortage of young people willing to take action to defend their opinions.

Take the recent midterm elections for example. Why did the democrats lose so badly? Partially because younger people tend to be more liberal. They also tend to be more apathetic.

There were churches in the last elections telling their congregations to vote and which side to vote for. Meanwhile, young people aren’t nearly as motivated, as their lives (especially college students) are filled with a myriad of different obligations, all which are pressing for time.

The real problem lies in those who believe that sharing something on Facebook, is making a positive contribution to a cause. Does anyone remember Joseph Kony? Surely you knew some people who were truly passionate about Kony and would do whatever it took to stop him.

Well, whatever it took except even the most cursory amount of research.

Very little of that video was true, yet because so many failed to do research on it, they simply passed it around and assumed it was entirely true.

Another great example is actually the most recent Hunger Games movie. In this film, there are propaganda advertisements that are meant to serve as a call for action for the oppressed districts, but that bear a striking resemblance to the films own advertisements for it’s own release.

Everything is dressed up in flashy, colorful, lights, and it seems to push an opinion rather than make an argument.

Everything comes down to actions. They say actions speak louder than words, but so many young people today seem to think that words speak louder than actions.

A campaign to raise awareness simply pushes the responsibility of action onto others. Not to say that raising awareness is bad, however it must be in conjunction with a plan of action.

Hopefully that plan would be more involved than simply asking for money as well.

Money doesn’t really make that much of a difference. It is the actions taken with that money that makes a difference. For example, you can send all the money you want to that Invisible Children’s Foundation, but if the claims made by its leader were false, then all that money would make no difference at all.

Once again raising awareness, and asking for donations aren’t a bad thing. By themselves, however they are not enough to make a difference. It’s the action taken by those with awareness.

Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. had said that “I have a dream, that you will one day share this speech on Facebook, so that there can be more awareness raised for racial inequality.”

It wasn’t the speech it was the actions that motivated the speech.

There are people today who stand up and take action, take the most recent North Dakotans Against Measure One campaign.

Regardless of whether you agreed or disagreed with the campaign, you must agree it was effective.

Why was it effective? Because a lot of people shared posts on Facebook? They did, but that wasn’t the main reason.

The main reason it was effective was because people collectively stood up and took action. They didn’t just write a post on Facebook; they didn’t just share a blog post on Tumblr; they didn’t just post a tweet about Pintrest on Reddit.

They went out in public, outside of the comfort of their homes to speak passionately about the issues they believed in. Whether it was a table in the union or making a phone call, they took action. That was what made the difference.

Sharing on Facebook, collecting donations, and raising awareness are effective. But they are only effective when you combine them with passion, motivation and determination.

If you want to make a difference, you have to be the one to make that difference.

Michael Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].