The social media posts appeared around two days ago–always posted by females. The message: “we’ have to do something!” Isn’t that always the call to arms (no pun intended)? Google returns 117 million results for the phrase “we have to do something”–there are a lot of busybodies out there. There’s always an injustice somewhere, some sort of insurrection or armed conflict, and there are always “innocent civilians” caught in the crossfire. And because I’m a “privileged” American, I’m apparently “my brother’s keeper” and am suddenly responsible to “raise awareness” using all the agreed-upon hashtags, maybe donate money to some “relief organization,” or write a letter to my Congressman asking for the government to take action (which always translates to “bombing people”). Thus the Cause of the Month Club now turns its attention to Sudan with this tired template.
I can’t be bothered to look up what’s going on in Sudan, or what the various sides are fighting about. It doesn’t matter. I’m pretty sure that neither side represents my interests, or will do anything to make my life better or worse. Sudan is on the other side of the world. No one there has any aircraft carriers capable of projecting power to CONUS, so Sudan is no threat to my nation. I don’t know anybody there. Most of the folks clucking about the “atrocities” in Sudan don’t know anyone there, either.
There are roughly 7 billion people on earth, and I can’t save them all. And since the general rule is that “scarcity creates value,” life is cheap on this planet right now. But I’m considered to be the “bad guy” for noticing these facts. In order to be seen as a “nice guy,” I have to pretend to care. I call it “telescopic compassion,” the expectation that I have to show how deeply I’m affected by events happening in far-flung locales half a lifetime away. Virtual virtue-signaling, if you will.
Rational thought won’t stop this emotional cycle that now churns out all things Sudan-related, however. We’ll see lots of pictures and videos, hear harrowing stories, and many a Millennial tear will be shed. Before you know it, though, Sudan will be just a memory. The news cycle will shift to other topics, and some new country no one has heard of will shoot to the top of trendy social media timelines. And then we’ll all be expected to “do something,” again, ad infinitum.