For years now, people have tried to affect change in the world without doing much of anything, such as changing their Facebook profile picture to bring awareness to child abuse, or posting videos of Joseph Kony to bring awareness to the terrors he has inflicted.
This “slacktivism” has done little except make the person feel good about their action, which can lead to less actual positive contributions later.
But now slacktivists have caught their white whale: they forced Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich to step down as CEO.
Eich supported California’s Proposition 8 back in 2008, a proposal which sought to ban gay marriage in the state, by donating $1,000. He was only recently appointed to CEO of the company, which is when news of his donation started becoming known outside the company (which had known since 2012).
While Eich insisted he would stay on as CEO, outrage grew. People called for users of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser to stop using it. Companies came out against him, and online dating site OkCupid stopped supporting the browser, so people using it would not be able to visit their site.
Congratulations, slacktivists, you finally did what no one thought you could. You accomplished something you set out to do.
Why stop now? Keep up the momentum.
A recent study shows 60% of Intel employees who donated money for the Prop 8 decision gave to support the initiative, and 89% of the money donated went to convincing people to ban gay marriage (most tech companies strongly opposed it with their donations). Rip out your processors now!
Don’t wait for those employees to become CEO or another high ranking corporate official. Kick them to the curb before they get any real power.
And that’s just the beginning. The LA Times has a database of everyone who gave money either for or against Prop 8. Find the opponents and burn all of their possessions. No action is too bad for someone who supports a cause the internet doesn’t like.
But what about the people who actually affected things at the polls? Seven million people voted for Proposition 8, enough to actually make gay marriage illegal in the state of California. Those are the true bigots. March on the elections office, go through the files, find out who cast what votes, and rape their closest family members or, barring that, their pets.
All of this occurred in 2008, remember. At that point, nobody who had run for president had come out in support of gay marriage, not even Obama. Anyone who voted for president is guilty of casting homophobic votes. String them up by their entrails!
What are we waiting for, people?
Now, sure, many of the people I’m suggesting the internet rally against may have never shown any actual bias against gays aside from their deplorable donation or vile voting history. However, neither did Eich.
Mozilla was always said to be open to anyone who could perform the job, regardless of background. And Eich, even while defending his donation, said that would continue.
But there’s no reason to believe the internet reacted quickly and harshly, without first reading all the facts and carefully thinking through the issues. No, the internet realized that no matter what else, Eich was a terrible person who deserved to be fired from the company he helped found.
Now that I mull it over, lynching everyone who’s ever voted in a presidential election is thinking too small. Let’s go global.
We can no longer do any business with any country that discriminates against homosexuals.
Sure, it’s going to be tough to stop buying products made in Uganda, which has been enacting some truly Draconian laws against homosexuals, but we must persevere.
Of course, there’s also the small matter of no longer buying anything that comes from China, which also doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. Sure, they make a lot of our consumer goods, but if we want to show that we truly care about the causes we say we do, we have to stop using anything that comes from China.
How about it, America? Are you willing to actually stand up for the things you say you believe in? Or do you just take the easy way out?
Okay, but this is about something that matters, something that affects other people’s lives.
Right, but you’ve already shown this is something you care about, you just have to put forth the effort. The right thing to do is often the hard thing to do.
So then. As per usual. The easy way.
1. Why actually give to a charity when you already look good to others by publicly supporting it? ↩
2. Or at least threaten too. We don’t know how many people actually stopped using Firefox in the wake of the Eich scandal. Who actually went through the bother of transferring their bookmarks and learning the idiosyncrasies of a new browser? Plus all of the plug-ins and add-ons that’d have to be installed… Much easier to say you did on Facebook and Twitter. ↩
3. Plus, that name. Eich. Eich. Sounds like something Hitler would yell, doesn’t it? ↩
4. The real difficulty is that at this time, China is also where our money comes from. ↩