My Activism Can Beat Up Your Activism!

I fail to understand the narrow-sightedness of some self-proclaimed activists.  We all choose causes to support that are close to us in some way.  There is no shortage of worthwhile causes to choose from- equal rights, lack of clean water, starvation, homelessness, cancer, heart disease, malaria, addiction, racism, sexism, various other -isms, poverty, child abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse, oligarchy, pollution, deforestation, etc.  You could easily devote your entire life and all your resources to any one of these causes.  The reality is that we each have limited resources, whether it’s time, energy, or money.  So we have to choose.

What baffles me is when someone takes the approach of, “If you don’t support my pet cause as adamantly as I do, you’re a horrible person.”  This lacks a basic understanding: The person they’re insulting may be fighting really hard for a different cause which is just as worthy of support.  Not everyone brags about their activism; some quietly work behind closed doors to make things better.  You don’t know unless you talk with them.

How lousy would it be for researchers to argue, “Heart disease kills more people than cancer, so I’m going to make fun of cancer patients and their caregivers”?  Or, “Deforestation is a huge issue, but pollution is such a minor problem, so I’m going to treat you horribly if you waste your time working against pollution”?  Yet we see this all the time with activism.  People don’t seem to get that the world is larger than their little bubble.

If you’re working to make the world better by any means, why not join forces with those doing the same rather than engaging in counterproductive infighting?  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”