You sit there in awe of a crime so unrepentantly dastardly, repulsive and all together chilling; something that so perfectly captures a policy issue and yet you knew with a sinkhole level of gnawing disappointment that this would happen. Whether it was the events at Ferguson, mass shooting #123, NSA surveillance, or the IRS targeting conservative political groups you were there before you even knew the exact coordinates.
In stark contrast your fellows in social media, cubicle, and family spheres have only just awakened to its horror, and wading through their foggy indignation they happen to post a deluge of ‘activist’ posts on the topic, starting jet fueled tirades on the matter, and even resort to such first-world Armageddon extremes as undertaking a deleting spree of their “Facebook friends”.
Yes! You think at first. How exhilarating that an issue you’ve spent so much personal time burrowed deep into is finding its way into the light. But much like the concept of cultural-appropriation a type of activist-appropriation takes place. Suddenly instead of the issue being discussed in a realm of research and sources, it has been transmogrified into new forms: pleasant and often comically uproarious memes and gifs or short and sweet hashtags that find their way into nooks and crannies of the internet you never would have bet your dignity on would happen. The realization hits you in a focused thrust, a fully formed self-aggrandizing and ‘other’ decrying message: An Issue Trending, is an Issue BENDING.
Here worry creeps in like an unwanted and nosy neurotic neighbor dampening your desire to see lasting change on every Mario level of this minefield of a world of ours. Is it important how a change is implemented? Your logic seems so incredibly tangible when looking at the extensive graveyard of Internet soapboxes over the years, whatever happened to #BringBackOurGirls or the quest for Kony? Things have changed in these cases but in numerous others they have stalled. On one hand new critical voices are being converted from unknowing to advocates on these enormous issues, and on the other terms such as feminism have become akin to swearwords through twisting their original intention. Can our desire for others to know as we do ever really be satiated?
The type of shared-consciousness, history making, paradigm shifting awareness many of us set out to stake claim to is not like the reliable groundhog deciding the remaining weather year after year but instead appears on its own time often along unexpected, unprepared for, and unprecedented routes. A true awareness advocate must understand their place among a precarious double-edged sword. While campaigns of simplification can setback true awareness for decades, seeking awareness without mass-accessibility is no awareness at all.