Friday, August 14, 2015

No Comparison

Friends With Money- Fundraiser scene

Obviously I got a gut punch this week hearing about Dylan Canfield. Again, not that it's about me. But I'm making a point here- bear with me. I found out about his diagnosis on social media. On Facebook. I'm sure I would've seen Elissa at some point and she would've said something. Or someone would've passed the information on. Instead, boom, it was on Facebook and then it was everywhere. I saw North Jersey Media picked up the story after thousands of dollars had been raised. And thousands of dollars have been raised because our mutual friend Marissa posted a GoFundMe page that went viral that night. In less than seventy two hours approximately thirty thousand dollars has been raised. I'm in awe. Not because I don't think people want to help, but just at the sheer power of social media to do good. We all know it can do evil but it can also help those who need it most.

Then, gut punch again. Less than forty-eight ours later, I see a GoFundMe page for someone I grew up with around the block from me. Evangeline Kartanos was diagnosed with the same thing Dylan has. What are the odds? Or are the odds just better nowadays that someone will set up a GoFundMe and it's going to get around? I love social media for this. Before social media, you had to have the actual fundraising event and serve the rubber chicken to get people to open their wallets. Now, you can just straight up tell the story, and people can click their donation right in. No chicken needed. In any event, I'm saddened and shocked she has to go through this, but happy to share the page and that people are donating. Hopefully New Milford (and beyond) will rally around "Vange" (as she's known to friends), the way Glen Rock (and beyond) is rallying around Dylan.

I was talking to my friend Jen the other day- she was having a really bad, stressed out day. Then she read my post about Dylan and made a remark that was something about that she was upset about something silly when there are real things like leukemia to be upset about. And I said what I always say- that everyone's problems are relative. We all have problems, and they're all bigger because they're our own. Of course you need perspective and a good slap into reality sometimes, but your problems are still your problems.

You can also care about multiple things at the same time. I don't know where people get off judging what other people care about. What causes they want to champion. The prioritization of their caring and causes. I'm so tired and perturbed at people on social media thinking they have the right to be the judge and jury on what causes are important and what aren't.

Bruce Jenner comes out as transgendered Caitlyn. Caitlyn gets an award for bravery. Out come the memes about how that isn't brave and the troops should be getting the award for bravery. NO ONE IS DISPUTING THAT TROOPS ARE BRAVE. Are we only allowed to have one group we consider brave? I didn't know bravery has hard and fast bravery levels that have to be determined by the public before giving an award.

Cecil the lion gets murdered illegally, unnecessarily, cruelly and brutally. Jimmy Kimmel gets choked up and asks people to donate to wildlife conservation. People do. Out come the memes about how people care too much about a lion but don't care enough about murders of humans in the news around the same time. Guess what assholes? WE CAN CARE ABOUT CECIL TOO. We can care about slain humans AND slain animals at the same time. That's what we have brains for and imagine- we only use a small percentage of them! I'm certain there are some people that use decidedly less!

Let me explain it even more simply. I don't know where people get the idea that if you're outraged, saddened, struck, or passionate about one thing, doesn't mean you're not feeling one or all of those things about something else. At the EXACT. SAME. TIME. Or maybe you don't. But it's your right to feel however you feel about anything. Maybe you're more of an animal person than people person. Maybe you have a particular affinity towards African lions. Maybe your favorite movie has always been The Lion King. It doesn't matter. It struck people. I'm not much of an animal person but it struck ME. As did what happened in Ferguson, the two teen boys lost at sea, the people killed last weekend in riptides at the beaches I frequent. I was struck by Dylan and Evangeline. I'm struck by the elimination of the death penalty in Connecticut where those two disgusting excuses of human beings who killed William Petit's wife and daughters, lives are going to be spared. I care about Isis, Israel, and the troops.

There is always going to be something. Hopefully we all never stop caring. Hopefully all these stories motivate you to DO something instead of sitting around making or passing on memes of judgment about what others are caring about. Instead of sitting around perpetuating your slacktivism, how about doing something. Go to a rally, write your elected officials, join a cause, donate money, make meals or assemble goodie bags for people in need. But don't tell people what to care about. Difference is what makes the world go 'round and it's what naturally divides the money and resources amongst many causes. Sometimes, someone has to be personally touched to force them to take action and that's okay. Everyone has different motivations for why they care about certain causes more than others but just remember that it doesn't mean they don't care about one that's personal to you as well.

I know that I personally prefer to donate to the "end user"- right to the people I know are going to benefit from it the most. I like to read someone's story, be inspired to give, and then give directly. That's my "thing". If you want to sit around clicking and donating money is your mitzvah, here are some causes I think are worthy....

For Dylan & Elissa:

Evangeline Kartanos:


A friend of mine posted this on one of my message boards today: Mike Grimes family support-

I'm pretty sure we can care about them all and it doesn't take anything away from caring about anyone else.

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