Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thoughts on the Jason Russell Controversy

When Kony 2012 went viral people were shocked. Over 60 million hits in the slim space of two days! No video had ever done that before.

Mere weeks later, founder Jason Russell was in the press again, not for the Kony campaign this time, but for having a meltdown, and running buck naked out in public.

The Internet lit up, once again, and critics had a field day.

Anti-Russell/Invisible Children rhetoric redoubled in strength. Straight up hateful strains littered the comments section on various articles. And I'm sitting here thinking...really?

I won't speculate too much as to the causes of Jason Russell's behavior. I would probably guess that it had to do, in part, with the massive success of his Kony project, and the limelight he was violently thrust into. It could also be, in part, to seeing critics ramp up slanderous, malicious accusations against his life's work.

I mean, hey, they guy dedicates the better part of the last decade, trying to help those who live in a country half a world away, escape the terrors that were central to their lives at the time, and the best some can do here is sit on their asses and criticize it.

But, whatever the causes, it happened.

Let me start by saying that I can't even imagine what it'd be like to walk a day in Jason's shoes. Invisible Children is an incredible organization, that does incredible work, for an incredible cause. I can't even begin to imagine all the managerial aspects that need tending to, the schedule that he must be running as the spokesperson for this campaign.

It'd probably be like a rock band's world tour, only he probably ate less, and wasn't hammered the whole time.

Can you imagine what it must've been like? To go from relatively well known, to the forefront of public focus in a matter of hours? Until you or I have felt that feeling, perhaps we shouldn't underestimate the stress that glory can potentially bring.

But the saddest thing to me, is the character attacks on a guy, who's never had this sort of thing happen before.

Think about it.

If Jason had had some sort of track record of this kind of behavior, critics would've hammered this right at the beginning of the Kony campaign! It's leadership that can build or sink causes. Jason is a great leader. Is this an embarrassing mistake? Absolutely. I don't relish the thought of what it must be like to be in his situation right now...

But to have people, who don't even know the man, questioning things like his sexuality? His heart? His motives for trying to help children? His mental stability? If he should be allowed around children?

People, get a grip!

Jason is a human being!

Has anyone ever acted in an embarrassing fashion? Have you ever done something you regretted? Me too.

Let's give the man some grace shall we?

No matter what comes of this controversy, I pray that Jason and his family will become all the stronger, and that Jason would continue to do the noble work he's pursuing.

Everybody makes mistakes, it's how we choose to deal with them that differentiates those who are right in heart, and those who aren't.

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