I’m tired of memes. No, really, I’m tired of them. I know that if I looked, I could find a meme about being tired or complaining about memes.
I think I’ve grown tired of them because they are just overused. I don’t think they are cute and I don’t think they help. I think they create further division. I find the ones related to politics to be arrogant. You might as well tell someone you disagree with to “f___ off” to their face. Because that’s the effect of memes. They are annoying. They send a simplistic message that says “I’m better than you. I’ve got all the answers. Why can’t you see this fact, you idiot. There is no point in disagreeing or even discussing the matter. Case closed.”
In no universe can you honestly argue that a meme advances anything except arrogance, division, or more accurately, tribalism. What I mean by this is that the people in your “tribe” (in this case, those who agree with you on any given subject) find themselves in an echo chamber and are patting themselves on the back that they are so damn smart and the people who the meme is critical of are just a bunch of idiots.
And we wonder why our political campaigns are in the state they are in US. Really? The politicians aren’t the problem here people. They certainly don’t help the situation, but they are not the primary problem. They are a symptom of many problems. We have only ourselves to blame – that’s how democratically oriented politics works – the responsibility lies ultimately with the people and who they choose to elevate to positions of leadership.
It’s convenient to point the finger at the elected officials and say how bad they are – that may be true, but who put them there? They didn’t just overthrow someone and take over. They were elected, which means people willingly voted for these people. And often, they voted for them over and over and over again. Even with the full knowledge of how terrible these politicians were.
Want to change our politics? Then start voting differently. If you live in a city that is failing yet you keep voting in the same people or people from the same party that have been running the city into the ground, you have no one but yourself to blame. That is the definition of political insanity.
Here’s the wrap up – memes are a great deal of fun. We can feel justified and smug and laugh at the opposition and think we are changing minds and beliefs. But really, we’re not. We’re just contributing to the political problems we face as a nation.
If we really want to change our political system, then we have to start by being changed ourselves. We have to be clear about who we are and what this nation stands for. We have to be willing to do stuff that isn’t easy or fun. We have to stop voting for the lesser of two evils. And we have to stop looking to the top offices as most important to our daily lives. The more importance we place in people who are further removed from us, the more we can claim the mantle of victim-hood and complain rather than actually getting up and doing something to make a change in our own neighborhoods. But you have to know what change you want.
And please, please, please, don’t yell slogans at people you disagree with. That’s just annoying – much like a meme. Consider actually sitting down with someone who sees the world differently from you. You and they both might learn something important – that you both desire the same end result. It’s just that you disagree on how to get there. When you see that, new opportunities come about. The opposition isn’t the embodiment of evil or a bunch of idiots, but rather people who see things differently. You might even see some value in what they are saying. And they might see value in what you are saying.
Or you could just keep posting memes, shouting slogans and living in your little closed off world. Yeah, that’s the ticket for changing things.