You know how in beauty pageants the correct response to questions is always, “World Peace?” And eventually you’re like, “OMG, shut. up. I hate world peace.” Only you don’t really hate the idea of world peace itself. Obviously that would be awesome. But it’s irritating to hear people saying “world peace” over and over again when they really mean “I want to give you the answer that makes me look like a good person regardless of what I actually think and without considering this issue seriously or participating in any way.”
“World peace” then starts to become a synonym for bullshit and that’s frustrating especially because previously the phrase had a much better meaning.
“World peace” syndrome creeps into so many things. Buying pink stuff because proceeds go to breast cancer research. Changing your Facebook profile picture to an equal sign in support of same sex marriage rights. Eating at a restaurant on a night where some of the proceeds go to prevent child abuse. Lamenting the poverty rate over a $5 coffee.
I’ve done all these things and I’m going to oh so bravely take a stand here and say that I am against breast cancer, child abuse, and poverty but in favor of same sex marriage. Also kicking puppies is totally not cool and children are the future.
It’s not that I’m being insincere and secretly I’m pro terrible things. But it all sounds so “world peace.” There’s got to be a point where symbolic gestures of support become more about public self congratulation and comfortable distraction than about, you know, changing stuff.
At this point in my life it’s supremely unrealistic to say that I’m going to jump up and join the Peace Corps or foster an abused child or even write a substantial check to a worthy cause. But I’m worried that all this symbolic gesturing is subtly convincing me that I really am doing my bit to promote positive change when basically I’m just yelling at the TV during a pivotal moment in a football game.
I suppose this is the point where I should come up with a Meaningful Action or whatnot but realistically that’s not going to happen right now either. Maybe I just need to accept that I’m in a sheep-like life phase when it comes to being a change agent. I’m prepared to bleat at stuff. But that’s about it. That’s kind of depressing yet not as depressing as delusions of grandeur. At least this way I can be on the lookout for mini-change-agent stuff I might actually be able to do.