Tuesday, May 31, 2016

148. Don't Do This

Do you ever have one of those days where one thing just sets you off for the rest of the day? That happened to me this morning as I was looking into this very computer, trying to find some words to write, and I peeked into Twitter and found a video of a man who decided to pay his approximately $200 parking ticket with pennies. The webpost didn’t condone his actions, but it felt weird that this was even news.

The story even linked to other times government vigilantes decided to take matters into their own hands and piss off some people. I’m not against the man protesting parking tickets. I’m against the fact that he thought he was sending a message when all he really was doing was making some underpaid city worker’s day worse. The guy was even puffing his feathers after he was done, saying that they could keep the change.

I wonder if that dude had worked a public-facing job in his life. I have. I’ll tell you this. The public can be real assholes sometimes. People are whiny, they’re unreasonable, and they think the world revolves around them. I am a firm believer in the Gospel of customer service, but there is no pleasing some people.

Maybe the man thoroughly researched his actions and thought, “Yes, this is the best way to reach the city council and hopefully effect change in the way my local government is funded.”But  I doubt it. I feel like if he would have stopped and taken a few breaths, he might have realized that this was a dumb idea.

After about an hour of searching down evidence about this story, I’ve boiled it down to this: The guy is upset that he had to pay a fine for speeding, but he doesn’t want to do anything to affect change of it? He tweeted an answer to my question that “no.  The system can't be fixed, it can only be abolished.” That’s sounds like it’s going really well.

I can’t stand people who just make a show for protest, yet don’t show up when it really matters. These are the people who want to make a big splash on their YouTube page, but refuse to do any actual work to change the system. Sure, it’s good to make an uproar every once in awhile, but if you scream that you want to change the system, but you’re not in the trenches doing the little, uncomfortable work to actually change things, then you’re just being selfish.

I think about the movie Spotlight with this situation. The reporters could have published early and made a big splash, but they waited. They did their homework and tightened everything up, and actually caused real change to happen. This man is not a political activist. He’s selfish and bent on destruction. He wants to hold the powerful accountable, but really can only face the female clerk manning the desk. That’s not courage. That’s not affecting change. That’s selfishness.

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