These are tangled musings. I don't have a lot of anecdotes to illustrate them right now. (A decent portion of this comes from my posts on Twitter today.)
Lately I have found myself seeking the balance between "talking about important issues as much as necessary" and "being angry all the time because people suck".
It's got a lot to do with wanting to dialog with others, but not be That Angry Chick That Everyone Tunes Out Because She's Always Angry About Something. Important issues do need talked about; I am constantly trying to suss out what battles to choose and which ones are futile or pointless. I will say that I am unwilling to be "on" all the time because I just can't be. I don't always speak up when rape jokes are told. I don't always tell people when I find something they said sexist. I can't take up every banner, and I won't try to. I actively try to avoid being offended by everything that could be offensive because I like feeling other emotions beyond "anger" and "annoyance". Perpetual states of fight/debate make me very, very tired. Not as tired as a lot of the issues being fought over/debated, but tired nonetheless.
I have a hard time when there are causes that focus on a minority's problem yet are championed principally by members of the majority, to the extent sometimes that the affected people's voices are lost amidst the hubbub of the would-be champions. Those are often causes that I let lay where I find them. If someone close to me in that minority tells me that that issue means the world to them, and would I stand with them, I am more likely to say yes to that.
What I really want for the world is for everyone to treat each other with basic human kindness and decency. We shouldn't need religion to tell us that. We shouldn't need government to tell us that, either. Human kindness and decency ought to be the norm, and yet it isn't. Because we in the U.S. are so far beyond that as a society, we can only start with ourselves, being kind to others as we can.
It isn't always safe to be kind. As much as I'd like it to be, the world is not a safe place. I would not and do not suggest that people take foolish risks to help others. Not everyone has the resources (time, energy, money, etc) to spend a lot helping people who aren't their family or close friends, while still upholding their relationships and responsibilities with any kind of reliability. I'm trying to learn not to be judgmental about how this works for others, because in the end, 1) figuring that out for myself is difficult enough, and 2) I can't possibly know what's better for other people than they themselves do.
This next bit is important: a person's efforts to change one thing aren't worthless because they can't change everything.
I can't help others in any sustained sort of way if I don't have some kind of grounded, centered spot in my own life. I'm not advocating huge immediate all-or-nothing changes because I believe we have to start where we can actually make a difference: in the places where our everyday lives touch those of others. If I'm only talking, and not backing up my words, I'm a slacktivist. My actions include trying to live my life better everyday than I did the previous day. There are so many things I don't have to worry about because of my race, class, education, and citizenship. I learn more about that daily, and it's occasionally embarrassing when I find an especially obvious and egregious example of something I didn't realize. I'm also learning where and when I'm willing to draw the fine, fine line between agreeing to disagree, and being repelled by opinions and actions that harm me and mine. Likewise, discovering when "love" is no longer enough to be able to ignore the actively harmful beliefs of some people I care about.
I will never deny someone else the right to choose to be angry all the time and discuss every issue all the time. I just know that I can't be that person, because it makes me very, very tired, I only have so much to give each time before I hit empty, and I never know how much that will be until the car flashes the gas tank light at my frowning face.
[Edit] Learning to mentally recategorize one another in terms of commonalities would generate greater empathy among all of us. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/opinion/sunday/the-science-of-compassion.html?_r=2