While it is easy to dismiss those who dislike bleeding hearts as being heartless yuppy scum, it is also important to note that there is a flip side to every coin.

The derogatory term "bleeding heart" is not intended for the educated protestor or philantropist that does a truly good deed. It is intended for the uneducated cause-heads and the attention desiring protestors that cause more harm than good. Mother Teresa was not a bleeding heart. Her efforts actually did the world some good.

Here are some distinct differences between how a bleeding heart and a environmentalist/philantropist handle certain situations. These are, by the way, taken from experiences which I have personally witnessed.

  • A nuclear submarine is scheduled to appear in the Puget Sound near Seattle, WA for whatever reason:
    The Bleeding Heart - only hears the words nuclear, submarine, and sound. Immediately organizes a protest against nuclear weapons harbored in the Puget Sound, writes bad poetry, and generally makes an ass out of himself.
    The Environmentalist - being fairly well read, realizes that nuclear submarines are so called because their engines are nuclear powered, not because they carry nuclear missiles. Even if they did, both are less polluting than the ferries which cross the Sound every day. A protest is not deemed neccesary.

  • The WTO decides to meet in your city:
    The Bleeding Heart - screams out "Smash the Corporation!", riots, writes bad poetry, sets innocent people's property on fire, breaks the windows of Nike Town, attacks the police, attacks innocent bystanders, trashes block after city block, and runs off with shoes from the display. Hundreds of people are injured, the place looks like a demilitarized zone. And when the police have the gall to try and contain the riots, they file a countersuit, saying their rights were violated. Most of these bleeding hearts were unable to tell you what the WTO even was. If you do not believe me, check any of the Seattle WTO riots pictures in the news archives. The headlines made the police out to be the big bad guy. Right.
    The Philantropist - Knows exactly why and who they are protesting. Organizes a peaceful march. Organizes the march with the police so that no one gets hurt, and traffic can be safely diverted. They hold the march, state their reasons and cause very plainly with a representative of the WTO, and work out an agreement.

  • A wale gets washed up on shore:
    The Bleeding Heart - organizes a "save the whale" party at the beach. People form a circle around the whale, sing to it, hold hands, recite bad poetry, and exchange stories about how much good they do for the environment.
    The Environmentalist - gets the damn whale back in the water if possible, or if not, has a moment of saddened silence before going about their business.

  • Another third-world country is dying from _(fill in the blank)___:
    The Bleeding Heart - does one of two things... organize sing-alongs, prints up tons of fliers, litters the streets with them and writes bad poetry about it, usually mispelling it. Or even better, they fly out to said country on their parent's dime, realize they really don't like living in a world without rights or modern conveniences, and end up running back home again.
    The Philantropist - also does one of two things. He either decides that he is better off trying to help out more domestic issues where he currently is, or if he's hard-core, he's on a plane, goes through months or years of hell helping out that country till a greater cause catches their attention.

The primary difference to remember is this: An Environmentalist/Philantropist cares deeply for their cause, knows their limits, and is educated about what they fight for. A Bleeding Heart is a crappy poet with too much time on their hands.

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