21 February 2006
If you can't beat em...
I attended a meeting this past Sunday of the Naval Reserve Assocaition. It is, at its heart, a lobbying group. It focuses on veteran and service member issues and matters of policy. It allows reserve military members to express their political will (a rare option which our brethern in the active side do not enjoy.)
It also suffers from something that ails many volunteer organizations throughout the nation, a lack of active members. I am as guilty as the next person. Although I volunteer in some areas, I am not connected to a dedicated organization. I've done a lot of little things, but do not reflect the lifestyle of my father, a lifelong Rotarian and active member of his community.
One reason for this decline is the rise of electronic entertainment (specifically TV). In some studies the amount of time spent interacting within communities has been supplanted by television watching. If the average American spends four hours per day watching television, then there is little time left for activism, volunteering or any social engagement.
TV is not the only culprit. Video and computer games (my personal bane) and the internet all conspire to siphon time away from us.
I wrote about this earlier in my blog. People are drifting apart. A meaningful connection among us can not be sustained with discussions over the last episode of Lost.
There is a real risk to our society in our disconnectedness. It leaves many decisions to fewer and fewer folks who are still engaged.
Ironically, the best way to reconnect may be to disconnect.