You know them. You've seen their work. Hell, you might even BE one. A Cause Junkie is a term I came up with to identify those on social media who hop from cause to cause always in search of a new issue to be outraged about and to dedicate their undivided attention to....for about a month.
Think back to Troy Davis. Remember Troy? Troy Davis was a man in Georgia who, in September of 2011, was put to death after the "Justice" system refused to stay his execution in light of many questions about his conviction. There was no DNA evidence linking him to the crime, and yet he was executed.
On twitter and facebook you saw an outpouring of emotions from people tweeting petitions that would do nothing, changing their avatars and profile pictures to ones of Troy Davis, and hashtagging #FreeTroyDavis.
Once he was executed though, almost all of them slowly wandered away and sought out a new cause to feed their addictions. Six months later they found one that allowed them to once again rise up to express their need to be warriors for social justice, because the vast majority of them never spoke of Troy Davis' legalized murder again.
But in March 2012 a great gift was bestowed upon all the Cause Junkies of the Social Media world. A man named Joseph Kony was designated the boogey man, and was villified by a group called Invisible Children. Celebrities like Sean "Diddy" Combs were tweeting furiously about #Kony2012. The idea was to "make him famous" and thus everyone would know about this really bad man, and it would lead to his capture.
All the Cause Junkies say Amen?
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
And this went for a month or so, and then slowly fizzled out, around the time when one of the people behind Invisible Children was caught in the middle of the street naked, slamming his fists into the ground. The group gave him the Martin Lawrence defense, and said he was "exhausted" which usually is code word for drugs.
In either case, people slowly lost interest in Kony, as they moved on to find another cause, which it turned out would be the sad case of Trayvon Martin. When was the last time you saw anyone on twitter mention Kony? Was he captured? I mean nobody's talking about him anymore, so I assume he got captured. That's good, because I'd hate to think that everyone allowed themselves to be co opted in order to further a shady group like The Invisible Children's agenda, and in the process exposed themselves as naive, if well meaning, sheep.
Now this may be simply a byproduct of the internet. The internet allows us to communicate and interact with each other in ways we could only have dreamed of twenty years ago. No one would have imagined that Twitter could be used to aid in a revolution in a country striving for freedom. Yet the more frequent use of twitter seems to be to indulge in gossiping, beefing and Cause Junkies.
Is there any solution for these Cause Junkies? Are they bad people just because they, much like drug addicts, are constantly seeking new ways to achieve that feeling they got when they first shot up?
I think, personally, that while they may be well meaning, what they are doing is disingenous and insulting. You jump on a bandwagon when there's the media spotlighting it, and then when the media is no longer interested, wow, will you look at that, you're no longer tweeting #Kony2012 or #FreeTroyDavis or even #RIPTroyDavis.
How many people are talking about Chavis Carter, the young man in Arkansas who was shot in the head while in the back seat of a police car, hands cuffed behind his back, yet the police are saying he shot himself in the head? How many people are still demanding #JusticeForTrayvon? What about Cameron Todd Willingham, the man in Texas who was executed despite strong evidence that he was innocent of setting the fire that killed his daughters? Or Marvin Wilson, who despite having an IQ of 61, well below the limit defining mental retardation, was executed in Texas recently?
How about all the many people who have been exonerated with help of The Innocence Project, after spending decades in prison, and sometimes on Death Row for crimes they didn't do? Railroaded by a system that often would stack the deck against them with lying witnesses, coerced testimony and planted evidence, not to mention racist people in authority. Where's the outrage for them?
Were those atrocities too long ago? Not enough media attention? Not enough reason for you to pretend to care for a few weeks or months?
So next time some travesty of justice occurs, when another young black man is shot dead by a police officer because he looked "scary" or whatever other bullshit reason given, forgive me if I regard you as being full of shit.
There are many out there who are TRUE fighters for social justice. There are many out there who fight against this type of thing every day. There are those out there who consistently point out these tragic absurdities on a regular basis. Not the way that these Cause Junkies are, where they get all emotionally involved, and then start bouncing around from cause to cause like a pinball bouncing off of the bumpers in a pinball machine.
It's always good to bring attention to tragic circumstances, especially when it involves those in authority that are trying to discriminate and take rights away. I'll never be mad at people who want to help and are legitimately wanting to contribute to the cause.
But when you're basically tagging along for your own mental defects, then that's not something I'm cool with. You're no better than those like Edward Norton's character in Fight Club. Going from group to group trying to feel something, even though you don't suffer from the maladies that ail those who are actually there to get help. You mock the entire process when you do this.
Go big or go home, as they say. The cause can always use more people that are down to help and expose the powers that be, who would propose to denigrate and detract from the less powerful. However if you want respect, don't do it when the spotlight is on, do it when it's not. And don't give up when those in the media decide it's not worth their time anymore.
And in those situations where the person has been taken from us, such as Troy Davis, then that doesn't mean the fight is over. The fight does not just include Troy Davis, but every potentially innocent man and woman that has fallen victim to this most unjust system of so called Justice.