The destruction and horrible living conditions caused by the recent hurricanes are a real tragedy. I applaud everyone doing what they can to help the victims of these natural disasters. Also, the destruction and horrible living conditions caused by the countless wildfires in Oregon are a real tragedy. I salute the brave firefighters battling the fires and others who are helping the victims of this natural disaster. That said, there is no cause competition determining which is worse. They are both terrible and deserve our attention.

Supporting a Cause Is Great: No Need to Compete

“You can’t care about X without also caring about Y”

“You can’t be angry about X without being enraged by Y”

Fishy arguments like these are all over social media these days. Everyone has their pet cause they like to trot out as a red herring whenever a new shiny cause is dangled in front of us. The goal is to make the new cause seem less valid because there is some other cause that is much more deserving of our attention.

For instance, I live in Oregon and have a lot of friends here. One might say I’m pretty popular. But how successful and handsome I am has nothing to do with this. Several social media acquaintances got angry at other Oregonians who were supporting Hurricane Harvey relief. You see, currently, we cannot go outside because the smoke from all of the forest fires is too hazardous. The chastising individuals believed our energies should be focused on problems closer to home.

Of course, there is no reason one cannot work to help both causes. And, there is no reason to say one is more important than the other.

I’m Just Glad to See People Doing SOMETHING

One of the most common “cause competitions” these days is the “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” movements. These two causes do not need to be opposed. Sure, it’s lame that one was created as a backlash to the other, but I think there is a lot of common ground between the two groups (i.e. both are fighting for murders to be brought to justice.)

Too often, Americans are paralyzed by the decision of what cause to support, and they instead decide to just turn a blind eye to it all. After all, it’s disheartening to be a supporter of something only to be attacked for your support. Might as well give up, right? Please don’t.

It is important for you to recognize that supporting a cause, movement, benefit, or anything else that seeks to improve the conditions of individuals, groups, or our world is a noble cause. It is not a competition. Ignore the red herrings.

Leaders Do Need to Put Their Cause First

Though it isn’t a competition and you can’t support multiple causes, organizations do need to focus on their cause first and foremost. Otherwise, they dilute their message and potentially alienate a significant subsection of their supporters. For example, a group that is working to make our water cleaner might also believe that the air needs to be clean as well. However, if they focus their resources on clean air, they will have less for clean water. Of course, there are sure to be projects that benefit both goals, but diluting the focus on clean water will poison the well. Hopefully, that isn’t as clear as mud.

This thinking is backed up by history. The fights for rights for African Americans and women have relied on a single-minded focus. They have received support from other groups. But, these supportive groups have maintained their own goals.

The bottom line of this long perhaps unfocused rant is that when you support a cause that is important to you, you are already doing a great job to make the world a better place. There is no need to feel shamed by others or to shame others. There is a lot we all need to do. Leave the shaming to your parents or for the comments section below.