When I was in college in the 60’s everyone had a cause. I think if you didn’t, the fear was others might consider you stupid and purposeless, so everyone marched or handed out flyers for something.
We were smack in the middle of the Viet Nam war and emotions ran hot. Sometimes opposing sides ended up in a clash in front of the University union or library. Most of the time, just before campus police arrived, a third group would start singing Give Peace A Chance or someone would streak by naked and everyone would forget what the original ruckus was over.
Talking to some of the folks with placards, I found out most of them had a personal interest in what they were marching for. The majority of the war protesters had someone in Viet Nam or they had lost someone serving there. Their purpose was steeped with passion. That’s when I realized people with a cause more than likely have a deep personal connection and it’s what drives them.
My friend Kory is training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and support for a cause. We buy bottled water because our tap water is just not good enough while women and children in Africa spend two hours a day fetching water that we wouldn’t touch. Obviously he’s passionate about clean water for children. I can’t say I’ve ever been a part of a cause to the point of climbing or marching or stuffing envelopes. Oh, I did serve on a phone bank once and I do give, but I’ve really never gone much further than letter writing, petition signing, and fit throwing.
Actually I suppose I’ve been on my own crusade of sorts for years and my family will tell you I can get beyond passionate to near nasty when it comes to seat belts and cigarettes. Just like the war protesters, at the very core of my mini crusade, is personal connection.
Cigarettes took out my mom with emphysema, my brother with a heart attack and my dad with lung cancer. You can understand why I get a little crazy when someone standing next to me lights up or if a seating hostess asks, “Smoking or non-smoking?” Honestly, is smoking really still allowed inside public places?
When he was two Travis flew through the windshield of a Volkswagen bus so for clear reason, I am the seat belt Nazi. Jill was mortified once when I asked a young mom in a grocery store parking lot if she didn’t think she should buckle her kids in.
I suppose we all, on some level, have a belief or conviction we’re passionate about. We may just not picket, march or chant. One thing I did learn in college was to never say, “Don’t take this personally, but isn’t that a little over the top?” The reason they are marching is because it is personal.