Lost causes…um…that would be ME trying to address this subject! *rimshot*
No, really. Nearly every week there is a new cause or situation that captures the nation/world’s attention. Sometimes it’s a natural disaster and other times it’s a case of injustice. In the age of social media, these causes often become hashtags and parts of viral campaigns. People often become activists for these causes…at least for a while.
You see, I don’t believe that most people don’t truly care about the cause…I just don’t think they care enough to truly stick with advocating for change until the case is closed/everyone is helped/etc. Posting a status update or tweeting with a hashtag is super easy. You can let everyone know that you care (or are at least aware) with a simple statement. Maybe you’ll even include a link to a news article about the situation so that your friends know how knowledgeable you are about the subject. You don’t just have an opinion…you have FACTS! Sure you do…maybe.
I don’t think we should turn a blind eye to injustices and tragedies that don’t directly affect us, but when we “fake care” we kind of do a disservice to those who do actually care. There’s a false sense of support that forms, and “support” gets people’s hopes up for change that may not really happen once the unaffected have moved on. You know, it’s trendy to care and let others know you care. At least that’s how it seems.
What’s the solution? I’m not sure. We can either agree to only speak up for causes we truly care about and put some action behind it, or we can just keep jumping on every bandwagon because it’s the thing to do. Another route would be to just mind our own business. Then again…there’s a quote from Martin Niemöller that touches on that last option:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
If we keep letting causes get lost in the shuffle, one day there will be a cause that affects us…and we’ll be one of the few who actually care to act.
Every day we see a new cause to get behind. The most recent causes involve the over militarized, unscrupulous tactics, civil rights-violating, and murdering/killing cops abusing their powers at will, and the seemingly never-ending sentence that gets them off the hook every time. We all know what that is — “I was in fear for my life” or “He looked/acted aggressive” or something to that affect. The thing is, this is nothing new to the communities affected. Like most causes, this has happened before and will happen again unless true action and consequences are applied when police abuse their power. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an ‘I hate the police, all of them are just the devil’ type of person. I understand the need for and the job/role they play. I also understand that with any job you don’t always have everybody doing their job for the right reasons or doing their job at all. I would say more, but the post isn’t solely about those issues. However, I didn’t want to ignore the most glaring one currently.
See, I recognize that the problem with causes is twofold. One is the cause and two are the people behind it. First, I would like to provide some examples of causes besides the police situation I have already mentioned.
Joseph Kony, All the people (Christian people at that) being murdered in Africa, Bring back our Girls, Gay rights, hydraulic fracking, Keystone pipeline, BP oil spill, Murders in Chicago, Apple’s unscrupulous manufacturing processes, Giuliana Rancic, Cliven Bundy, the imagery of black women, Phil Robertson.
Those are just a few that I came up with really quickly. Some of those causes you may recognize really quickly, and others may require some information searching. All those lead to the second part of causes and why they end up championed or lost and dying a slow death…the people. This is the key element in seeing a cause flourish to resolved or being lost forever. People these days tend to have short attention spans when dealing with causes. If your cause is something that can be resolved swiftly you are in luck because you can gather all the people you need…because everyone loves a good cause. Few though are willingly to see a cause through the long, rough, trying, and troubled road it may take to truly see a resolution. Not to mention that all news about a potential story/cause is only going to be available as long as there is massive interest, so your cause will sometimes live and die by how much news coverage you can or can’t attain and for how long you can keep that news coverage focused on your issue.
Take for example Mr. Kony and groups like his who are responsible for two other causes I mentioned previously. Kony is still presumably alive and people are still getting kidnapped and slaughtered in masses in Africa; but the news coverage slowly stopped caring, and the people involved in the causes slowly stopped caring and probably moved on to the next issue. Ask yourself why this happened. We can’t solely plan to blame this on the leader of Invisible Children, and the Kony2012 movement’s leader was arrested for being on drugs. No, it’s because the people (well most of them…there are still a few fighting on) moved on. Did people stop dying? No, actually the numbers for groups like this have increased. They are killing like it’s going out of style. They are still kidnapping and raping as well, and yet those girls are presumably still alive and out there somewhere. Hydraulic fracking and gay rights, however have picked up because they did get the right people involved. People are still dying in droves in Chicago, yes the same city our President is from. Apple is still selling consumers $500 and $600 toys and gadgets that cost pennies to produce in what are essentially sweatshops overseas. Mrs. Rancic was half of the hosting crew for Leadercast 2015, Cliven Bundy is still making his stand over cattle in the Texas, the imagery of black women is still bad and yet the ones yelling and complaining the loudest still prop up this bad imagery by watching (supporting and live tweeting the most ridiculous stuff), and Phil continues to be Phil with his comments.
These causes, some of them better than others, are becoming “LOST” because of the people not because of merit. There are some really great causes out there…some pushing strong, and others failing miserably because of the fickleness of people. The other problem with causes that become lost is they tend to involve people who can only “calm the masses” and get a little TV time. Personally, as a black person, I am tired of seeing pastors, preachers, moms, etc., on TV trying to talk to my people and be seen on TV. Granted they have a role to play and can help in some scenarios, but all they can really do is talk…and boy do they like to talk when the lights and camera are on. I want to see city representatives, city mayors, governors, senators, and congress people get involved to help. These are people who can really make effective changes…true decision makers. I am not downplaying the role of individuals, as we should all take personal responsibility, but that can only take one so far. I’m not saying the government is the answer to all our problems, because it’s not!
This post is getting longer with no end in sight so I will provide you one example of what I am talking about from good ‘ole Alabama.
In good ‘ole Alabama, one police officer with a child with special needs who has seizures was able to use local Facebook support and some local TV time with help from people and true decision makers to get a special needs park built in his community, and a law passed to support testing cannabis oil in Alabama for children with seizures. Think about that. In Alabama…the state where some counties can’t even sell alcoholic beverages to wanting adults, a state that still thinks that a lottery and/or full on casino gambling will bring the devil himself back, a state that doesn’t even want people smoking cigarettes inside buildings, and definitely doesn’t want to legalize marijuana like say, Denver. Yet that same state is all for giving a derivative of marijuana to little kids on a trial basis. Come on!!! The level of support this cause has is not nearly the level of national and international support some causes such as the one’s I have mentioned have had. Yet they become “Lost”. So how you do you think that happened? You think on that for a little while…