Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Lives of Armchair Warriors

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Have you ever known an armchair warrior? Let me define that term for you. When I speak of an "armchair warrior" I speak of people who have plenty of energy to criticize the state of affairs in their local community, state or nation but will not lift a finger to actually go out into the world and try to  make the world a better place.

Over the course of the last sixteen months I have had a friend here in Minnesota who has a tendency to heap voluminous amounts of criticism upon the Republican party here in the United States. One way he does this is to post articles and comments on Facebook. I don't disagree with the critiques he has made about that political party. I personally believe that the political culture in the United States has become highly even dangerously dysfunctional. One only need look at the continuing problem of gun violence in the United States as one example of an issue eluding some degree of healthy attention due in part to our dysfunctional politics at the federal level. I further agree with his opinion that the Republican party carries much responsibility for our current state of national dis-ease.

Yet I differ with this person regarding what the appropriate ways of dealing with personal and collective disgust and disenfranchisement are. Sitting in your armchair at home and writing about all that is wrong with the world and yet not doing anything to try to improve the world strikes me as being very satisfying in the short term but completely useless in the long term. This is not unlike sitting and looking at a green wall and blaming it for being green but never being willing to get off your butt, go to the store, pick out a new paint color and repaint the wall. Contemplation and observation alone will not solve our entrenched issues. I tend to believe we need to apply a blend of action and thoughtful contemplation if we are to truly make the world a more just place.

I think it can become easy to fall into the role of an armchair warrior when you pursue writing. It is a hazard inherent to the profession of writing. Observing the world around you and yet refraining from participating in that world can be a very safe way to live. Writing about what we see unfolding around us can certainly be impactful. And I still believe this even in today's America in which quality journalism has become a lost art. But if we don't get up off our butts and actually work to change the world around us I believe we are more likely to be swallowed by the issues that plague our society.

I severed my Facebook connection with my friend recently. I grew so weary of seeing the prolific amount of distress he has about the state of our national politics and watching him simultaneously do nothing substantial (as far as I know) about it. I still consider him a friend. But loyalty has its limits. When a person is in pain and that person refuses to seek a healthy way to relieve the pain there is nothing anyone else can necessarily do to change that person's course of action.

You can't compel people to change. But you can be an example to others by the life you yourself live.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!