Watching the protests at UC Davis and many of the other #Occupy protests, I'm struck by a common thread. A handful of protesters stand their ground and take the punishment, while dozens, hundreds or thousands watch, record and tweet the action.
All of these amateur "reporters" are changing the nature of the power-dynamic at these protests and bringing increased accountability for police and politicians alike. However witnesses alone do not drive change. Actions do.
It is easier to live life through the lens of a digital device than to confront it's unsettling realities. There is a different level of commitment needed to sit with Statler and Waldorf and commentate, than to take the stage and participate in the action. While alarming numbers of voters fail vote, growing numbers are taking inactive action by serving as chroniclers of history rather than drivers of change.
There is a line where moral outrage without meaningful action becomes implied acceptance. One can shout all the slogan and tweet all the hashtags in the world, but if they fail to take the field while the game is being played, they have failed their cause.
Signing a petition is more meaningful than Liking a campaign on Facebook. Showing up at a protest is more meaningful than signing a petition. Actively participating in a protest is more meaningful than just showing up. But when there are hundreds of cameras and shouters, and only a few towing the line, what does this say about the popular support for the cause?