Change is the Word

A powerful film worth seeing.

A powerful film worth seeing.

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.

Change.

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.

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50 thoughts on “Change is the Word

  1. Change is inevitable. Folk don’t have an understanding of that and fear change on account of complacency and comfort. While they think it’s a threat to the fabric of their lives, it’s for the better good of humanity. We all desire those basics to living, such as love, happiness, justice, etc. These are not exclusive elements to a select few.

    For some reason, I’m not getting notifications of your posts. I’ve been told that by others with my blog. Strange…

    • Totsy, I like how you put it. “These are not exclusive elements to a select few.” Well said. Now, how do we get everyone to see that?

      Regarding notifications of my posts, you might want to check the page, Blogs I follow. It gives you a choice on frequency: when published, once a week or never. Maybe my blog is listed as never. Sometimes WordPress randomly changes it. It’s happened to me and I can’t figure out why either. Why would anyone subscribe to a blog and then check that they want it “Never”? Anyway, maybe that’s what happened here.

  2. Don’t we all resist change at times? I don’t think all change is good. What has been happening in schools around the country with so many misnamed programs isn’t good. I’m not a fan of the sudden anti-union movement. I could go on and on. But some change, like many things you mentioned and especially where civil rights are concerned, is right on! I’m glad you liked the ‘Butler’. I’ve been trying to get my husband to go with me to see it.

    • Renee, you’re right. Not all change is good. Some like giving equal rights to folks is. Some like taking away voters rights in North Carolina, not good. If your husband won’t see The Butler, go see it with friends. It’s really worth it.

  3. —beautifully written, relevant post, Monica.

    One of my favorite lines about “Freedom & Change” is from the fabulous movie -“Spartacus.”

    He (Spartacus) says, “I’d rather die FREE than Live like a slave.”

    Xxx

  4. Change is good – though change just for the sake of change doesn’t always make a difference (meet the new boss/same as the old boss).

    Still. In my lifetime, I’ve met women who weren’t allowed to vote. In my lifetime, I’ve known couples who had to leave their native states to marry, because, skin color. In my lifetime, I’ve seen marital rape go from being a joke (it’s not possible to rape one’s wife!) to being a chargeable crime.

    Change can be scary, but non-change is death. Insects in amber, stagnant lakes… Count on me for Team Change.

    • You’re right about that, Beverly. But the change I’m mostly referring to is major, historical change that rights a wrong. History has already proven that, that change will come. It’s just a matter of when. What gets me are the people who try to reverse the change once it’s arrived (think Obama care and Roe v. Wade). Sigh.

    • Thanks so much for sharing it, Jodi. I think the message needs to get out there, and maybe it’ll bring hope to those who work tirelessly for change and sometimes think they’re just spinning their wheels.

    • Maura, I’m thrilled you liked my post and thank you so much for taking time to comment here. Coming from you, well, it means a lot to me, as I have great respect for you and the work you do. It’s good to be on the right side of history, isn’t it? Just need perseverance and Team Change will overcome the obstacles put forth by Team R. One day.

  5. Love this post! I was listening to the coverage by NPR from DC this morning and it made me think about Team ‘R’ people that I have in my life. I certainly don’t dislike them as many are family or long time friends of family. It just feels, sometimes, that perhaps I need to do more to expose them to their privilege. I was thinking of their fear of change and losing that privilege. So…your post here brought all these thoughts swirling around in my head to rest. Great insight and organization of a complicated concept. THANKS!

    • Trish, I wonder what would happen if they read this. Maybe they’ll have an epiphany and decide not to stand in the way of progress anymore. Maybe not. But maybe it’s worth a try. Thank you, as always, for reading, and thank you for sharing this post, too. You are awesome!

  6. If it’s anything I’ve learned in the past couple of months, well years, it is that change is a good thing. Positive change. Change takes place in our daily lives whether we like it or not. I say yay Team Change! You cannot resist change, it happens with the weather, with age, with everything.

    To be the change you want, is the most powerful thing in the world and that is the sense I too get from this film, although I have not seen it yet.
    It has Oscar written all over it does it not? I think it is going to be quite the contender.
    What a fantastic post Monica.

  7. Change is part of life, One powerful film is To Sir With Love starring Sidney Poitier, His character in the film says something along the lines that it is a persons duty to change things.

    Have a look at this article www. bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23795655 but remove the gap before bbc. It marked a watershed in race relations and change in the UK.

    • I saw the film, To Sir with Love. Great movie, and revealing in the sense that it showed me problems in England not that different than over here. But what I loved most was the theme song. To this day, it is in my top 10 of all time songs. Absolutely love it, though I’ve no idea whatever happened to Lulu.

  8. Very well-written, thought-provoking post, Monica. I’ve heard it said that the only constants in life are death and taxes. I think we can add “change” to that list, don’t you? I also think you nailed it when you said “what side you’re on largely depends on the issue at hand.” Yes, it does. For some things, “he who’s convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” You’ve given us lots to think about here, my friend.

  9. The word ” change” should imply moving in a good direction but too many times it comes with added regulations that mean less freedom and rights. It some cases these added laws are necessary in other cases they seem to complicate the original intent. As always, you make your readers think…thank you!

    • So true. Just look at all the laws, regulations added after September 11th. Granted we needed more security, but have we gone too far in terms of invasion of privacy? I just don’t know. Time will tell.

  10. Sometimes I get so frustrated by those resistors and I lose hope. Thanks for reminding me the force for change is the stronger one. Eventually, we will find a way.

  11. Wow Monica. This is so true. And look at how ridiculous those who resisted the civil rights movement look now. Part of resisting is fear. Part of it is trying to hold on to what you have, but you are right change does happen. When society is ready nothing can stop it.

    • Have you seen the Butler? I was too young during the Civil Rights Movement to really understand what was going on, but watching the Butler was very emotional. How can people be so cruel? Just look at the Woolworth’s lunch counter scene. Sad.

  12. Go team change. However, I’ll play the devils advocate here, the advantage of team resistance is that it often keeps team change from throwing the baby out with the bath water. Sadly, it often hangs on to the ring around the tub as well. You’re right, change is inevitable. Let’s make it a change our grandchildren will be proud of!

    • Lisa, I see your point, but maybe rather than “resist” outright, might be better to say, “Let me work with you on developing a sensible plan we can all agree on.” Just a thought.

  13. Love this, love this, love this! Gotta go to school now where a new online learning environment needs to be mined, a new text needs to be implemented, a new lab with all its layers needs to be learned. It’s been overwhelming but inevitable it would all hit in one term! I may be a little more scarce in the blogosphere this semester.

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