It Doesn’t Mean Anything

I would like to comment about the ribbon campaign. You know the one I am talking about, right? The one where you wear a ribbon to show your support of a very important cause.

I am being deliberately vague here because there seems to be a new ribbon and a new cause every day. The latest one is this yellow ribbon that is really just a decal that you can put on your vehicle. The ribbon is supposed to show your support for Canadian troops overseas.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the troops. I support them and their efforts. I wear a poppy every November to show my support for those men and women who have fought and died in service to this great country. But what does a decal that looks something like a ribbon placed on the back of a car really mean?

The thing is, with all these ribbons and jelly bracelets out now to show your support for such and such an organization or cause, you can get absolutely weighed down. My car could be completely covered in ribbons and decals, so could my jacket or outfit.

To support a cause you need to do more than wear a ribbon. A ribbon is pointless. It shows other people that you put in a minimal effort. It doesn’t show the troops and doesn’t really help them in any way. So let’s slow down with these utterly pointless campaigns. If you want to do something meaningful and supportive by all means, go ahead and do so.

I volunteer a lot in my community to show my support for a variety of different things. I give blood regularly as well. I do my part. I just won’t adorn a ribbon or bracelet. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone.

4 responses to “It Doesn’t Mean Anything”

  1. I empathize with you, CM! A few years ago in my country, after 9/11, it became a fad to be overbearingly patriotic. Everybody and his brother was putting American flags on everything.

    Now, I love my country very much. I put a flag up on July 4 and visit veteran’s memorials at the appropriate times.

    But something just felt wrong about going flag-crazy just because everyone else was.

    And in a few weeks, those flags started showing up in roadside ditches and other places where they had fallen.

    And now, the fad has ended and the trendy patriots have all vanished.

  2. I agree with you Chase March, it is honestly pointless. If there is a cause to support then it’s always best to follow up the ribbon with action.

    As ECD pointed out, far too many people get wrapped up in the ‘coolness’ of wearing a ribbon without really understanding why it’s important.

    I walk and urge women to get regular mammograms done, I urge them to do the self-examinations – I suppose no one would really understand a cause until it hits close to home.

  3. I'd still like to make my awareness point. Some people knew nothing about Iran and the elections until they investigated all the green avatars on Twitter. And if Heman taught me anything, it was that knowing is half the battle. You can't act until you know. Sure, a ribbon or bracelet does not signal a strong commitment to the cause, but maybe it will signal to someone else to act. Or maybe it will simply remind us of something more important than our own existence.

    So, I'd like to say that while I agree with your statement about ribbons being a false indicator of real action, I will not deny the power of awareness. A cause can grow in power simply by the fact that enough people know–and if enough people know maybe the right people will find reason to act.

    On the flip side of that (and this is where I find the cynicism), an individual who scoffs at the efforts, however small, of others do nothing but weaken the resolve of the supporters to act. Get outside yourself and stop thinking about your weighted car–think about the hundreds, maybe thousands that you have kept from being more aware of a globally significant event. Maybe one of them would have acted.

  4. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for coming through and commenting. Raising awareness can never been a bad thing.

    It just seems to me that some people are merely calling attention to themselves, as if to say, "Look at me. I'm hip with what is going on and the real issues."

    Other people actually do support the ideal being put forth but will never act on it in any way, shape, or form.

    That is why I am a little cynical of these little campaigns.

    Although, you made some good points here and on Twitter and I appreciate the discussion. Perhaps your green avatar will inspire someone else to take action. Perhaps raising awareness will help the cause. But alone, it can do nothing.