So, I went to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler this weekend and found it emotionally powerful and riveting. Wow. I cannot tell you how many times I got all teary with a major lump in my throat.
But, once I wiped away the tears, something struck me: Looking beyond the themes of race and discrimination, inequality and injustice, there is something far greater at play here. Something bigger than you and me, and, if you ask me, it’s key to all major historical events–past, present and even those that are still to come.
And, it all boils down to one word. Change.
It’s so obvious, you don’t even notice it at first. Yet, change is entwined with the fabric of our history. For better, for worse, it impacts every achievement and setback we’ve ever known. And when I say, “we,” I mean our collective humanity.
It’s why we shed blood, sweat and tears each time we fight for freedom, civil rights, human rights, voting rights, economic justice, and gender inequities.
And why, sometimes, instead of taking ONE step forward, we take—
Two. Steps. Back.
It happened during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. It continues to happen today.
In essence, that’s what life’s all about. The mortar that binds us all.
Which is why, this I believe: The world’s population can be separated into two teams:
1) Team Change and 2) Team Resistance.
In other words, those that work toward change and those who fight it. Of course, what side you’re on, largely depends on the issue at hand.
Team Change has one goal. To right a wrong at the hands of the three sisters, otherwise known as: inequality, inequity and injustice.
Meanwhile, Team Resistance wants things to stay the same. After all, there’s comfort in abiding by traditions and embracing the values taught by their parents and grandparents, the kind of values that enable their lifestyle at the expense of others. These lessons are so engrained in them, they cannot imagine any other way of life. Stick to the familiar, might as well be their mantra. For them, it’s safe and brings a sense of security.
They don’t see that by doing so, they may be keeping others down or tacitly discriminating against an entire group of people. Or perhaps they do, but they lack the empathy gene that would allow them to place the needs of others over their own need to keep things as they are.
Yep, for Team R, their feet are firmly planted on the shoulders of past generations while their hearts are enveloped by a sense of fear of change and its potential for disrupting their perceived, orderly lives.
But, here’s the thing: from time immemorial, the world has been all about change. Look no further than history for proof of this. For starters, we’re no longer living as cavemen. That era ended long ago.
Which reminds me, “Give me your tired, your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is written on the lower pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and last I heard, it’s still there.
Well, yearning to breathe free is a powerful line, in my estimation. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? To be free to exercise our vote, work for our keep, and receive a fair wage for it. To have access to the same opportunities. To marry whom we please. To be treated as equals in the eyes of the law and our neighbors, and to be 100 percent participating and contributing citizens of the free world.
So, here’s my message to Team Resistance: You can fight change all you want, but in the end, all you’ll manage to do is delay the inevitable. No one can stop change, not even you. Make no mistake. Change will come. It’s just a matter of when.
So on this, the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march and the “I Have a Dream” speech, it all comes down to this: Which side of the “Change” fence are you going to be on? Step right up and feel free to take a side, but just remember:
It will come.