Change.org recently had a poll for Americans to vote in the top ten things they wanted changed. I find it interesting that the issue of legalizing marijuana got onto the top ten list, but ending the genocide in Darfur did not.
To put that in numbers “Legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana” got 19530 votes while “End the genocide in Darfur” got 7,471 votes. It’s all very curious. Perhaps it’s not too surprising since the poll was for change in America and so perhaps most people excluded foreign policy issues from their thinking since those issues would technically be changes for outside America. However, to put something like marijuana use over ending genocide just boggles my mind. Do potheads just spend that much time online?
I also don’t understand why the Darfur issue only received seven thousand votes. Was the change.org website just not passed around the right circles? There are hundreds of thousands of people activist enough against the genocide in Darfur to at least vote for it online. While I, personally, wouldn’t put it at the very top of the list for changes the new American presidential administration should see to, I would put it in the top ten somewhere.
Death is a serious issue, and since it’s kind of time sensitive, why wouldn’t it be a top ten priority? At the very least it should rank over the issue of whether or not we can get high.
That said, it is an accomplishment that Darfur made it into the list of the twenty-five other issues that received over 2500 votes. This shows that the situation over there is serious enough to have garnered major attention. Most Americans wouldn’t even have a reason to ever know where Darfur is located, if not for the genocide. There are plenty of people that care and are actively trying to help. It’s an accomplishment of compassion when we can band people together to help people they don’t even know.
However, I know several people who have a habit of thinking that because someone isn’t part of our country then their problems aren’t our problems. In most instances, I would say this thinking is correct. As social creatures, though, we are all connected and so why should our caring for other people stop at country lines? People tend to forget how arbitrary country lines really are. They are man made and to some extent artificial.
They exist to help organize and structure ourselves as a larger population and they are the product of humanity’s need to claim territory and protect and connect with others. Country lines don’t absolve a person from paying attention to other people just because those people happen to be born outside of our own personal lines. This is especially true when such atrocities are happening.
We have a right as humans to interfere when other humans decide to do things that are completely off the wall insane-for example, when they begin to murder an entire ethnic group in a particularly foul and cruel way.
So while the people of Darfur aren’t your family or your friends or even your fellow country men, they are still connected to you because they are human. The connection exists whether you like it or not.