Saving the Cheerleader… why bother?

Yesterday a fellow Mundania author and Canuck sistah of mine, Skyla Dawn Cameron (go, look, enjoy!) basically got slammed on Salon.com by thugs in the letters column who mocked the fact that she’s putting together a book to help Equality Now, based on the incidents first mentioned by Joss Whedon (yes, him!) about a woman being stoned to death in the Middle East.

The gist of the comments were that there’s so much wrong with the world that why go for something as limited as honor killing of women? There’s starvation, there’s honor killing of men, there’s… well, you can imagine.

And the sad thing is that they’re all right, to a degree. There are SO many causes out there that you can, literally, go bankrupt if you gave a buck to each deserving group out there. It’s mentally overwhelming.

I also recognize something that I call volunteer fatigue. It’s when you literally freeze up because you realise that you’re only one person in a world that’s got just too many problems and you can do only so much.

I’ve been there because many, many years ago I dedicated two years of my life to some intense volunteer work. In a nutshell I lost my job, my friends and pretty well stagnated my career to work solely on the idea of making my community better. And I like to think that it was worthwhile, if only to keep my mind sane.

But, in the end, I burnt out. It’s happening to volunteers everywhere, some with less time and some with more. Some look at the Katrina debacle and blank out, some look at the local animal abuse story and shake their heads because they were just by the house yesterday and it seems just fine. Or they see that video of the woman being stoned to death (captured gracefully on camera!) and just can’t deal with it.

And it’s okay. It’s just overwelming to stand at the foot of a mountain of crap with a toy shovel and be told that it needs to be moved from here to there. Like, now.

But dumping on those who *do* get working with that shovel doesn’t help either. Yes, we’re all tired of the charities asking for money and we’re tired of giving our time and our talent and not seeing a major change in the world… but dragging those with the energy to do so down into the pit with us just ain’t nice.

I think most times it’s just that there’s so much out there and you don’t know where to start. The local animal shelter? The Salvation Army? The Red Cross? Peace Corps? What can you do if you’ve got limited resources or just can’t get around much? What if you can’t spend all the cash necessary to make it work?

But instead of freezing in place and/or tossing turds at those who do – why not at least be realistic? Because if no one does anything, well… we all lose.

To paraphrase a recent slogan:

Can’t save the world – don’t save the cheerleader.

’nuff said.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Saving the Cheerleader… why bother?

  1. it is painful to read and to see all of that. my daughter supports the world wildlife federation-my husband and I support Mazon-and he even supports the Cancer Society by sending out pledge notices to the neighborhood and then whatever he gets back to the Cancer Society-to see all the people on the street and read about the Animal Shelters-I don’t know if there is enough people or money in the world to make it all right. I think that the person(s) who blasted your friend was out of line though-we all pick our battles and that was the one your friend felt was worth her time and effort-so good for her.
    There is a Talmudic expression-that he who saves one life, saves the entire world.
    and to paraphrase a slogan used while i was growing up-If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

  2. it is painful to read and to see all of that. my daughter supports the world wildlife federation-my husband and I support Mazon-and he even supports the Cancer Society by sending out pledge notices to the neighborhood and then whatever he gets back to the Cancer Society-to see all the people on the street and read about the Animal Shelters-I don’t know if there is enough people or money in the world to make it all right. I think that the person(s) who blasted your friend was out of line though-we all pick our battles and that was the one your friend felt was worth her time and effort-so good for her.
    There is a Talmudic expression-that he who saves one life, saves the entire world.
    and to paraphrase a slogan used while i was growing up-If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s