Monday, September 8, 2014

After the Ice Melts

I want to talk about the ALS Ice bucket Challenge debacle, and the fact that there isn't a debacle, or scandal, but just a whole lot of haters being haters. I had no idea what the ALS ice bucket challenge was even when I was watching Jimmy Fallon and The Roots take the challenge on National television (because I get all my up-to-date news from either Jimmy Fallon or Facebook, or Jimmy Fallon ON Facebook). It didn't occur to me until I opened up my Facebook and my feed was inundated with Ice bucket video posts, which I felt super annoyed by. Seriously? Your 5th grade son, who is challenging everyone on his soccer team is going to do some research on what ALS is and how he can raise funds to further ALS prevention and remedy? I felt the fad was making a mockery of ALS and people were starting to forget what it was for, or maybe they didn't even care in the first place. They just wanted to be selected and post themselves on Youtube and Facebook to show that you care about something outside of yourself. Knowing someone close to us pass on from ALS, and watching them deteriorate from a strong, tall, handsome man to someone that couldn't even swallow his own spit on his own the last few times I saw him, I was getting a little sensitive about what this was all turning into.

Just when I was about to make some comment about the mass drones that have no clue what they're really advocating, and how they don't really even care about what ALS does to a person, I was nominated by a good friend. I felt dread come over me, but I mulled the thought in my head for a while, "should I do it or should I not?" I had contemplated ice or not to ice, mostly because I didn't want to flake on my girl. Before I did any research on what kinds of associations and research foundations were available for championing, I googled "How do family members of ALS victims feel about the Ice bucket challenge?" There were several articles on what they thought of this and I changed my mind about the ice bucket challenge. Several family members expressed how elated they were that finally, ALS is finding it's way into the mainstream spot light for recognition and awareness. For years, victims of ALS would give news to their friends that they are progressing in their disease and their friends would just tilt their head and give a half-hearted "sorry..." Like he will have to cope somehow or that he will recover in some way, but no one knew the extent of suffering they would have to endure. No one knew that they are literally buried alive in their failing bodies and are trapped without being able to express their feelings, while their minds are fully functioning. People are finally feeling recognize, not feeling a lone, and understood for the first time because of the silliness. There are some who say pouring a bucket of water on one's head doesn't cure anyone or raise funds, but it does more than that. It gives recognition, understanding, shedding light to something that was pretty much unknown before all the icey water began to flow. There's more to it than just money, support comes in awareness and actually seeing someone, it's easy to write checks and throw money at something and not fully engage.

The next day, I began thinking about what I would say on my video and who I would challenge. I wanted to nominate people who would actually do some research and look into what the ALS challenge was trying to accomplish. I purchased a small bag of ice from a Seven-Eleven on the way back from the gym and texted my friend D.C. if he would dump the water while his wife recorded my challenge. He was too happy to oblige. Then it began, and maybe I just noticed more because I had been part of the mass drenching for ALS, but articles about how Pro-Lifers, aka Christians shouldn't accept the ice bucket challenge because the funds funnel into stem cell research and it's just as if we are to support planned parenthood who are pro-choice. I realize that I was hating on the Ice-bucket challenge because I was afraid it was turning into some meaningless fad, while there was something really serious happening to some of our friends, but I am especially prone to irritation when Christians, in the name of God put down and boycott things they don't even know about. I doubt some of these people even know what stem-cell is, and that it's not all bad in it's entirety. It's embryonic stem-cell that reaches into the abortion bin and not adult stem-cell research, which is voluntary and consenting by the donor.

Then there are these stupid Californians who say the ALS Bucket Challenge in wasting water. No, really, you're wasting water. If you have drought because you're region of the country hasn't had real rain in two years, then you don't waste water, you donate. No one is making you pour a gallon of ice water on yourself, except for the pressure you feel from your celebrity friends and neighbors. Take responsibility for how you will respond to an issue, don't follow the masses and blame ALS for your water shortage. Damn, I hate Californians...anyways...At the end of the day, we can't just look at something so closely that we are forgetting the bigger, beautiful picture of what the community is trying to accomplish for one's brother, but we also can't turn a blind eye to the things we don't fully understand. We need to see the truth of what's really happening and champion what is good, and avoid what we don't believe in, eyes wide open. Then you make your choice to ice or not ice, but have your reason for it and defend it.