I was driving around suburbia, midwest USA yesterday when I saw a sign. I caught it out of the corner of my eye when I passed a stop sign. It was in the usual place where the lost dog, garage sale or the usual community announcement is placed. As I kept driving, there were more and more and more. Every street sign, another black and white small homemade looking sign attached to it, “Stop Kony 2012”.
Ah yes, Kony 2012. After watching the YouTube video that started the whole thing with 80 million of my closest friends and then watching the filmmaker flip out on the same social media outlet that made him famous, I thought that whole story was over. The world’s 3 second attention span was on to move important things like whether Khloe Kardashian was preggers.
Then it dawned on me, there was a whole generation of kids who weren’t jaded yet. I started thinking about who put those Kony 2012 signs on the street signs in my neighborhood. Who still tried to take over the night on April 20 while the rest of us moved on? How disappointed were they on the next day when they woke up and realized that most of the world didn’t give a damn anymore? Will the experience put out the fire inside them from wanting to do the right thing on a global scale?
Once I was one of them. Years ago, I would have taken over the night. I wanted desperately to be part of “the solution”. As a testimonial to most of my experience in international and national causes; I rolled over on Kony 2012 night and went to sleep. It’s not that I don’t care about the cause of child soldiers. It tore at my heart like it did for the 80 million. It’s just because I’ve learned too much in my travels and with my experience in aid, both national and international, to know that this campaign was doomed. Sorry kiddos…tried to warn you.
What are we left with now that it’s all over? Kony is still out there even with all of this publicity. Did this whole experience just jade an entire generation of kids? Is this generation going to walk around mumbling “Remember Kony?” anytime someone even mentions trying to start something to squash human right abuses? We thought Gen Y was apathetic and entitled, what have we just done to Gen Z? Maybe Gen X should have gotten out of bed and put up a few signs with Gen Y and Gen Z just so we could improve our future workforce and kept them optimistic.
There is so much time only time will tell. Will the youngsters who did participate in Kony 2012 grow up drug addicted, pissed off, aimless adults? Will that cute kid from the Kony 2012 video grow up to be a hottie like his dad? Will anyone ever find Kony? What we do know is that somebody always has to be the first to try something and that is what Invisible Children did. They were the first, to my knowledge, to attempt to use social media to launch a human rights initiative with an action component. Their video did go viral and was seen by 80 million people. People know who Kony is now so one of their goals was reached. There will be many who follow and some who succeed. Invisible Children, you are no longer Invisible. Now for those kids who put up those signs in my neighborhood, take them down and put them in the recyclable container before they start blowing all over my neighborhood!