You Choose: Kony 2012 or Jessica Sanchez?

I walk into a room and hear people talking about the new Invisible Children (IC) film, “Kony 2012“.

Is the IC mission that far off base? Are we dangerously close to the racist position of playing imperialistic “saviors”? What are better solutions for peace in Uganda? What about the rest of Africa? If IC dollars contribute to the Ugandan government’s army, what’s that money really funding? You think our tax dollars support a more just military? If Kony gets captured, what about other potential evil leaders in the LRA? Who will stop all the other murderous armies? Who will stop malaria? Who will stop AIDS?   

The very discussion gives me hope. It’s important: viewing imagery that inspires us to want to get involved. It’s important: debating how we can effectively help. It’s important: acting on our impulses to show compassion.

I walk into another room and hear that Jessica Sanchez (whoever she is) dared to sing “I Will Always Love You” the other night on American Idol.

She didn’t! She did! She’s so bold. And pretty!

I leave. Isn’t it great that we get to choose which conversations we’ll participate in?

I’ve written about Invisible Children before. I love their work. I love their energy. I love the catharsis I feel when I watch their videos.

Sure, they’re propagandists. Their mission is far from perfect. But I don’t think they’re in it to get rich. And as for the people scoffing over their travel budget —  hello, that’s how human beings make connections: by going places and spending time with each other.

Far more intriguing to me than the financial data are the flaws in the logic of Kony 2012. Make a man famous in order to pressure the government to capture him, and that solves everything? A lot has been written about this by people far better educated than I. Google it, you’ll see.

Even as I read the articles — and more appear each time I update my web browser — I maintain that I love hearing people having this discussion. IC is making a valuable contribution in our culture, particularly where young people are concerned. When compared to the plethora of stimulation available, the films of Invisible Children are a gift.

What would I rather have sold to my video game addicted nephew: doritos and shiny cars or pathos and a desire to help people? I’ll be thrilled if my niece suddenly starts quoting Nicholas Kristof along with lines from Grey’s Anatomy. Thank you, Invisible Children for elevating the conversation.


3 thoughts on “You Choose: Kony 2012 or Jessica Sanchez?

  1. Hey Roo,

    I has been too long. I’ve missed you.

    As usual, I love your post. I love that you tend to echo my lazily-unexpressed political and cultural views. And I also love that you are intelligent, wise and opinionated without being a know-it-all or pushy.

    I watched the Kony 2012 video a couple of days ago and I asked the same questions. While it is amazing that something, anything is being done (I am as guilty of the deplorable ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality as most normal westerners.) I question the effectiveness of removing one person to solve a systemic problem. I found it interesting that on the international list of wanted people Kony is number one, but if you look closely, the second person on the list is also from Uganda, presumably ready to take up the Kony mantle.

    On the other hand, I have heard more about Uganda in the last week than I have in a while, and I am happy that there is a renewed visibility of Invisible Children, both the organization and the children they represent. And I am thrilled that it is something I can, and want to, talk about. Unfortunately I missed the last season of American Idol, or Grey’s Anatomy. :P

    I am relieved to see a new post, I was getting worried at your silence… Yes, even though you warned us all that there would be less regularity in your posts, worry-wart me was going to send an email tonight just to check in.
    Tons of love,
    xoxo – S.

    I’ve missed you & blogging, too, Miss S. Thanks for reading and for your intelligent comments. xo All the best to you, Ruth

  2. Ok. You are the perfect person to help me with my dilemma. E* wants to buy their “kit” and help this problem. I read that this is a total waste of money and the money is really going to Ugandan military who are doing their own share of raping and looting. I do not want to squash her hopeful spirit. I am logical. She runs off of emotions. What is your advice. My mom says to just order the kit for her. Help!!!

    – Confused Mom of Loving Teen

    Dear Confused Mom . . . thanks for inspiring the subsequent blog post. xoRuth

  3. Hi Mindy,

    I am pretty sure that it is a rumor that the money goes to Ugandan Military. Invisible Children has shown where all the money goes… Here is link where they have responded to all the criticism

    I love that you are such an involved parent that not only do you have an intelligent daughter who wants to get involved but you also question the moral ambiguities involved with the campaign. Kudos to you!

    I’d say, go for it! Get her the kit and let her learn that one person can make a difference!

    S., I was just writing the same thing in my latest blog post when your comment came in. Thanks for participating in the discussion! x~ruth

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