Farcical on Facebook
I have recently come across several cases of people shaming others for doing good things. For example, shortly after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Rush Limbaugh famously said “You already give to Haitian relief – it’s called the income tax.” While many were spreading the word and encouraging others to help fellow humans in a desperate situation, Limbaugh basically said that doing so was dumb.
Today on Facebook, a friend of mine from Idaho posted that she “is sick of seeing the status about being upset that people donate to Haiti because we have needy people in America.” I haven’t seen any status updates containing that sentiment in my Live Feed, but even knowing that it’s out there makes me sad. Really sad — and it’s not just because people in Haiti need money now for medical care, shelter, water and food. The general attitude of finding the negative in something so positive is frustrating.
More examples of damaging do-gooders
Unlike Rush Limbaugh, a lot of the people who discourage others from doing good do it in the name of doing something else good. The Facebookers say that people should stop donating to Haiti because they should be donating domestically. Similarly, a couple in Washington decided to help the environment and fund their wedding by paying for it by recycling aluminum cans. Sure enough, someone so focused on her own agenda that she failed to see how positive the project is wrote:
“If you used the energy you are putting into your one day event for something more socially conscious, your press would be better. Why not convert your idea and donate the money to a local homeless shelter?”
This, of course, was in the midst of a much longer post, part of which openly shamed them for what they were doing, calling them “incredibly selfish” for spending the money on their wedding. Never mind the fact that they’re having an extremely inexpensive wedding. Never mind that they are encouraging and facilitating recycling, which is great for the planet.
Stick to your agenda, but don’t criticize others
I applaud the Facebookers for wanting to help needy people within the U.S., and I encourage them to do so. I think it’s great that the Wedding Cans commenter wants to help the homeless. I say go do it. Do everything you can for the causes you believe in. While you’re at it, don’t discourage others from doing the same with causes they believe in.
In a world where there are so many problems that need to be fixed and so many people in need, people shouldn’t waste their energy criticizing others for their efforts to give or to help. There are a whole lot of people and causes who need help. Criticizing other people for who they have chosen to help is at best useless and at worst hypocritical. If you ever feel the need to criticize other people for the way they have chosen to make the world a better place, I suggest you spend your time making the world a better place yourself instead.