Short-Term Social Movements

Occupy. Troy Davis. Trayvon Martin. Kony 2012.


Sept. 17, 2011. Sept. 21, 2011. Feb. 26, 2012. March 5, 2012.


See the trend? Unfortunately, that is the common denominator in these viral social movements. They’re all trends.


More often than not, trends are temporary. Why is this the case with movements centered on pressing social issues?


I find that we are a heat-of-the-moment generation. People seem to lack the mental capacity to focus on more than one issue at a time. It can only happen in spurts. When the momentum dies down, it’s over in our minds.


The American people can only support one “movement” at a time. The argument is, “there are problems abroad, but there are people right here suffering.” That’s a valid point. Valid, but still bull.


Why can’t we multitask about things that matter? We can juggle Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Temple Run and Words with Friends at one time, so why can’t we care about and actively involve ourselves in more than one social issue, whether it is domestic or foreign?


Those Occupying rickety tents in parks and streets have returned to their homes. The We Are Troy Davis posters are peeling and withering off the lampposts. The director of the Kony 2012 Invisible Children video, with its 86 million hits, was detained for public indecency and his validity flew out the window. George Zimmerman is a free man, and in a month or so, the Skittles and iced tea in memory of Trayvon Martin will have been consumed, and the oh-so-symbolic hoodies will have been packed away in storage with the rest of the winter gear.


Until the next viral movement, that is.