Spare more than change for those in need

Everyone has been a victim of the dreaded Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. When you least expect it, the song starts, the animals are flashing across the screen and your remote is nowhere to be found.

Why is this commercial more moving than the UNICEF commercials depicting great sadness of human beings halfway around the world? Watching them both, I feel a greater pain seeing the suffering animals than I do the starving children. Everyone does. It's like when we're watching movies and no one is crying when the humans die, but the instant the dog does, we're all in tears.

As a society, we love to fight for causes in which we believe. We'll rally for marriage equality, pro-choice or pro-life events and political parties. However, there aren't rallies making headlines about people standing up for those who can't easily stand up for themselves, such as people who are homeless and starving. What makes some causes more worthy than others?


It's strange to me because we see these people every day in Tempe. They're on Mill, walking the streets and standing at intersections begging for money. Instead of feeling any type of sorrow for them, most lock their doors and talk about how much of an eyesore they are.

Instead of feeling compassion for people less fortunate than ourselves, we dehumanize them and decide that they are worth less than us.

Because, obviously, they're not even trying to get a job, right? They have a dog, so they must be getting money from somewhere. They could be doing something other than begging — surely, something else would be a lot less creepy.

We have tons of excuses for why we shouldn't pay attention to them, but I don't see any of these excuses as acceptable.

It's not that we don't realize what is happening around us; the issue here is that we don't want to accept that something scary exists. The human race is terrified by death. Instead of tackling the issue and trying to prevent the starving and suffering, we dive into issues that are easier to grasp and have a better chance at a fast solution.

It's not that certain causes are actually better than others; it's that we like to invest our time in things that have a positive outcome. Instant gratification is a huge issue with our society. I think it's pathetic that we only want to spend our time doing things that will directly reward ourselves. Instead, we should be investing our time into things that reward the community as a whole instead of just thinking about ourselves and that quick gratification.

If we keep up with this idea that "someone else will do it," eventually nothing will get done at all. We all need to stop waiting for that someone else to come along and do it for us. Instead of being lazy and sitting back, we should be making moves to change things around us that we don't like. Some things might not be able to be changed, but how will we ever know if we don't try?

Reach the columnist at or follow her on Twitter @mikayrodr

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.