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Syndicated Cynic: Think twice before you take on the ice

Kony 2012! Does anyone remember this campaign that took somewhat socially conscious young adults by storm two years ago? Does anyone remember the outcome?

If I remember correctly, a bunch of people watched a video, “Kony” stickers were found in all sorts of ridiculous places, Jason Russell, the man largely behind the movement, went to jail for milling about San Diego in his birthday suit and Kony probably laughed at how poor the actual attempt was to stop him.

The Kony 2012 campaign proved one thing, though: America’s youth are still suckers for good marketing. Thank capitalism that we have not neglected our roots.

Now, another semi-socially-aware trend plagues our Facebook timelines. I’m sure that everyone reading this has watched around fifty “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” videos. These videos prompt for those challenged by friends to either donate $100 to an ALS-focused organization or donate $10 and dump a bucket of ice on their heads. It sounds good, right?

What I am seeing time and time again, though, is an individual dumping ice on his or her head, challenging friends, and neglecting to donate.

I understand that hype culture likes to “raise awareness” for just about everything, but what exactly are we going to accomplish here? If we continue to merely post videos of cold, wet people to our Facebook pages, the cure for terrible diseases like ALS will not be found. As much as it pains me to say it, money is needed to make this happen.

Of course, if people are willing to donate, as I am sure most are, then this campaign is working toward a goal, but what is going to happen after we are all sick of seeing people throw buckets of ice water on themselves?

We have to think long-term. This essentially means that it is the responsibility of those involved to make sure that their dollars are going to viable organizations that are currently working to change the future for those dealing with ALS. This also means that we are responsible for actually becoming educated about the disease. It is irresponsible for anyone to support a cause that he or she does not understand.

So, read about ALS and find good organizations to donate to. This is a good cause. The people suffering the effects of ALS need all the help that they can get, and we have an opportunity to offer something. Let’s do it.

Please, do not leave us looking silly and failed like we did when Kony was still kicking back in 2013. Social change should have nothing to do with trendiness, and we cannot continue to be a privileged group of people that simply watches and is “aware” of the atrocities that occur in the world.

Now that you know, make a difference. The power to really help others is in our hands. It has to be evil for those that have to refuse to help those that lack, especially when the “haves” are aware of the situation.

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