Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Right Cause, Wrong Symbol
This is the short version of something that I'm not ready to totally articulate, but I feel a need to begin the process of processing a group of feeling and emotions that have swelled lately. Message, image, and branding matter deeply for a cause. A cause can quickly plateau without the right shape to the cause. This can come from complexity of message or a message that can't be absorbed emotionally by individuals beyond the core of the movement. This can come from the images that surround the cause. Are they images that spark feelings of support or confusion? Are they images that elicit a desire to be vocal with support or only provide tepid support if any at all? I support the causes in which I believe. I support causes that make it hard for people to believe in me. I support causes that have bad messages, images, and branding, but it is a lot harder to support a messy cause, a cause that matters, but a cause that I can see the mistakes from which it will never recover. Rosa Parks is an image that remains in all of us, but would it have been the same for two seventeen year olds. The picture of children being attacked by a water cannon spurred action and disgust, but would it have been the same with grown men in this picture. Disruption will happen, and people and stuff will be damaged, but does this movement have the right stuff to make a difference, to make the changes that our society needs, to lift our conversations and bring solutions. Things are going to get messy, and all of this is messy. I want to have the right symbols for the right cause, but for now, I've left with the wrong symbols for the right cause. I'm leaning in, but it isn't easy.