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Sat, Dec. 4th, 2010, 02:22 pm
The Era of "Safe" Causes

Maybe I lack the perspective of age, but it seems that politics are getting lazier and lazier.

It was only a few years ago - 40 at most - that people would take to the streets and protest or riot, putting themselves at major risk to express something, or try to change something that seemed impossible to change. Granted, even in the thick of the tumultuous 1960s, Suburban America was thriving in its quaint monotony, and most kids were going to school like ordinary kids and most dads worked and most moms stayed at home and cooked. So perhaps it is only the Left that has lost its spark in 2010.

In 1969, the Stonewall riots sparked the modern gay rights movement when a bunch of drag queens and transvestites and a few gay men and lesbians battled the New York City Police Department for days in an all-out brawl. And the gays won - it was the moment they switched from being a deviant underclass to an oppressed minority. Just ten years earlier, freedom riders fighting for civil rights were yanked off of buses and beaten, and some were killed, in a fight to end the brutality of racial segregation.

Now, the Facebook "like" button is the venue for expressions of solidarity.

I get dozens of "causes" invites per week, and yes, I support the troops, yes I support repairing cleft lips in Thailand, yes I support ending breast cancer, yes I support feeding the hungry, yes I agree child abuse is bad, yes I support people with diabetes. To make that stuff easier to follow, can there just be one general button that says "I'm generally in favor of things that nobody in her right mind would oppose?"

How about this cause: "if you are against the Earth getting sucked into a gigantic intergalactic black hole, put a '<3 EARTH' in your Facebook profile."

<3 EARTH.

Imagine asking your friends about it; "well it's not smart to talk politics on a first date, but I'm just curious where you stand on an gigantic intergalactic black hole swallowing the Earth."

"I don't know who I'm voting for for state representative, I'll have to see how the candidates would vote on the Earth getting sucked into the intergalactic black hole."

"You know Anderson I'd love to answer your question about the Senate blocking a vote on tax cuts for the middle class, but first I must take a moment to bring up an important issue and say that I absolutely condemn the idea of a gigantic intergalactic black hole sucking in the Earth."

Thanks for taking a tough stance on a divisive issue, everyone.

What if we took it a step up in controversy: instead of saying "I support American troops not dying in war," say "I support NOBODY dying in war, I support there not being a war." Instead of saying "I support feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving," saying "I support asking why the 1 in 5 Americans are jobless when corporations are turning record profits, I support asking why there are still hungry and homeless people who need psychiatric or medical attention for disabilities that keep them unemployed in a country that spends $2.5 trillion annually on healthcare." Instead of saying "I think animal cruelty is wrong" which really only means pet cruelty, what if we said "I will only buy pets from shelters and refuse to eat animals slaughtered in factory farms" and put major institutions of suffering out of business. Instead of saying "I am against bullying," saying "I will question every judgmental instinct that comes into my mind and will call out other people on their judgmental instincts against people they see as socially inferior, to stop the kind of culture that causes kids to kill themselves."

Instead of saying "I'm against racism" as in not being a member of a hate group, saying "I'm against racism" as in being against a society that wants to call "truce" after hundreds of years of one-sided bullying, when the damage is still there, when a sense of cultural superiority is still there, and white people still enjoy higher income, more wealth, longer life expectancies, better representation in public office and better access to higher education than people of color.

So instead of putting cartoons in our profiles to protest child abuse, why don't we protest it vows of nonviolence in our own lives. That means physical, verbal and psychological, towards our friends, our families, and ourselves. Lets make a sacrifice for what we believe in. Lets do something that takes effort and ask each other to do something that takes effort. Without effort there is no change.

Or, you know... <3 Earth.

Sat, Dec. 4th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
kishenehn

An excellent essay, sir.

And on a more base level, I have to say that the current Facebook meme makes me want to go find a little kid to smack around. :)

Mon, Dec. 6th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Audrey DeBroux

Saying things like that, even jokingly, perpetuates an abusive culture where violence and violent language are acceptable.

Mon, Dec. 6th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)
kishenehn

Oh, great ... now you've really made me want to go smack around a little kid. :(

Sun, Dec. 5th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
mwittier

<3 yer perpetually, constructively aggrieved attitude and what it further indicates.

Sun, Dec. 5th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
(Anonymous): Safe Causes

Thank you for your thoughts. I am grateful for anyone that makes me think and maybe even be brave enough to do more than just think. I admit, I "like" many of the causes noted on facebook. Silly that I think "liking" them should satisfy me.

Tue, Dec. 7th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
not_a_freak

re: "I support asking why the 1 in 5 Americans are jobless when corporations are turning record profits, "

if there's one thing I've learned going to business school it's that those record profits are a complete illusion. It's all tied up in the inflated value of our financial instruments, none of it represents real tangible assets that can be used to stimulate the job market, and to cash out and actually USE that money would devalue the company. Which in and of itself is kind of fucked up too. But that explains one of your questions.

Tue, Dec. 7th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
not_a_freak

and yeah the cartoon icons are stupid. but so have been all of the other facebook memes for breast cancer and shit. Interesting to consider why this one in particular has gotten under so many people's skin.

Wed, Apr. 13th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
koxiwhig

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Wed, Apr. 13th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Looking forward to get involved

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Wed, Apr. 13th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
savumesa

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