Which is why deaths fuel change. Dead people stay with us so hard that when we finally get through the process of creating laws to fix the thing that killed them, we name the law after the victim themselves. Here's a private message to my family: if I die some stupid way, like falling out of my chair, and you get anti-chair legislation called "Kristi's Law" passed, I will haunt you.
On the other hand, if I die by falling out of my chair, I suspect my family will become the MADD of chair deaths. Nobody is more passionate about causes than people who have been hit with death. Thirty years from now, when cops are wearing body cameras and carrying nonlethal paralyzing mists that smell faintly of vanilla and grandma's cookies, and are walking into every situation knowing that a civilian death will probably result in a Trial of Zod inquiry that will stay with them for years, we're going to remember Eric Garner on the ground dying in a chokehold as the moment that spurred the reforms.
You Can't See Change When You're in the Middle of It
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
We've been mad about a lot of stuff this year. School shootings, sexual harassment, more sexual harassment -- oh, and those kidnapped Nigerian school girls are still missing. It's been eight months, so I'm guessing that when we find them, they're going to have some newborn babies that need rescuing as well. That's assuming anyone is still looking.
See what I did there? I got mad all over again. That's a good thing. NOTHING CHANGES when people aren't mad. Two years ago, I was one of those foolheads who shared the Kony 2012 video, and I swear to God I'd do it again. I have zero ill will against a filmmaker who raised awareness about one of the world's biggest evils. Why are we still more mad at the guy who made that movie than we are at Joseph Kony? "Kony 2012" is a hilarious joke that people make when they want to bring up a dumb fad that we were all into for 24 hours. Not hilarious: child soldiers.
Oh crap, I digressed again. My point is that I suspect these constant spurts of outrage aren't for nothing. You're not a bad person for hashtagging a cause. In fact, I think we're going to look back on these heady days of hashtag activism as the Civil Rights Movement of the Twenty-Tweenies, assuming that's what we end up calling this decade. We're the new hippies, you guys. And like it or not, hippies changed the world by being loud and stupid-looking and unafraid of looking back on their passionate big talk with regret.
The scariest thing isn't looking back and getting embarrassed that you reblogged the Kony video, the scariest thing is looking back and realizing you never got angry at all.
Kristi is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked. For more from her, check out past articles here and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.