DIY Politics:Righteous Indignation Moves into Action
Lately, we at Irregular Times have been getting a lot of correspondence from individuals who are just plain fed up with the downward spiral this country has been riding under George W. Bush's thumb. Well, to clarify a little, we've actually been getting that kind of correspondence for a while now. But lately, the correspondence has a new dimension added to it. Last year at this time, we got a whole lot of people complaining to or commiserating with us, with a lot of talking about how angry they were. Six months ago, our correspondents talked about the political rallies planned by someone else that they were going to attend. Over the past two months, however, people have started asking us a fundamentally different question. Instead of asking "Don't you think this is awful?" or "Are you going to that march?," people are asking us "How can I work to make a change?"
A sterling example of this trend began with a request for a bumper sticker (we're happy to design progressive stickers for people with ideas but without the wherewithal to bring their ideas into concrete being). A woman we'll call "Mary" (it's sadly telling about our times that she feels she cannot announce her real name for fear of retaliation) who runs a non-profit organization asked us if we could design an oval sticker for her that looked like this:
We did, and she happily bought a sticker. For most folks, it usually ends there. But Mary wrote back:
I've just had another thought. Can I open a shop and sell the "Court Appointed President" oval bumper sticker and T-Shirt, maybe caps, mug etc? I'd set up a shop for me personally, and then donate the profits to a good cause. I sure would like to set up shop with this idea. Please let me know what I should do. Again, thanks for your help.
What Mary and others like her have done is especially powerful, not because everyone agrees with her stance, but precisely because everyone does not. Whatever any one monolithic source of organization may offer, whether it's in news, commentary, or products, just won't cover the whole gamut of what folks out there are feeling. This is why the FCC's decision to allow media monopolization to continue at the mega-corporate level is especially dangerous. When people like Mary get off their duffs and bring their ideas into actuality, they fight that stolid sameness at the small scale.
If you like what Mary's image, by all means support her effort with a purchase. But even more importantly, if you would rather that something else (whether it be in written, sound or graphic form) be available out there, don't just sit there and wish it were different. Make it different yourself. Open up a shop online (yes, you can even do it for free). Start up a raggedy website and tell your friends. The more that more of us get involved in making, not just consuming, the culture that surrounds us, the more that culture will come to resemble what we want it to be.
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