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2012: Change Will Not Be Downloaded

OUT OF FRYING PAN - Assuming, of course that the world doesn’t end, I plan to make 2012 the year where I actually put more action into my words. It’s easy to sit behind a computer all day and muse about how one might change the world, but I did that last year and this year is going to be different. I’m going to try and convince people that a proper balance of action and technology can elicit real-world change.
How many people support the Occupy movement online but have yet to rise from their chairs and hold up a picket sign? How many of you rant and rave at your computer screens about unfair labor conditions, but won’t support  a strike in person?

We are living in dire times where the system is undeniably stacked against the people and it will take more than millions of fingers pushing buttons on their keyboards to change the outcome. It will take more than just being an armchair liberal who watches TV and salivates with joy while watching the Republican debates. It will take more than arguing against your political opposites on Facebook.

You may think that voting is an action that will alter this, but I would disagree. It doesn’t go far enough. Control of the Congress or White House may switch from one party to the other, but that’s like continually watching the greatest rivalry in sports. Do we always want to see Michigan play Michigan State? Voting is only the tip of the iceberg.

Our problems are systemic and it is going to take more than just social networking to solve them. It’s going to take turning off the technology for just a bit and getting back in tune with a world that lives away from the Internet.  It is going to take millions of people pounding the pavement and demanding more change than a hopeful politician can promise.

Perhaps what I am really getting at is courage. It’s a safe thing to blast your innermost thoughts onto the Web from the secure confines of your apartment, but to show up in person with all those same convictions takes a much deeper commitment. It takes courage to hold a sign, to speak into a bullhorn, to be arrested.

2012 is the year where I urge all of us to be leaders, the kind of leaders who find the right balance between technology and action.  I’ve been a loudmouthed bench warmer for too long, the kind of guy who Monday morning quarterbacks the system while sitting in a comfortable desk chair.  This is the year where I step out onto the playing field — and convince others to do the same.

I’ve seen laborers protest their employers. I’ve seen occupiers take a port. I’ve seen homeowners get arrested at Fanny Mae. I’ve seen students protesting tuition hikes, but I’ve seen it all on the Web. 2012 is the year I plan to see it all in person.

One question: Is it cheating to bring my iPhone?

(Jim Lair Beard has worked as a server at the Hyatt Andaz for two years. He is also a writer and actor living in West Hollywood with his wife Christine. This article was posted first at -cw

Tags:  2012, Internet, Occupy Movement, Republican debates, Congress, White House, downloaded, computer

Vol 9 Issue 103
Pub: Dec 27, 2011