As I scroll through my facebook newsfeed and am inundated with a sea of red equal signs, all I can think about is that one scene in The Lion King, or Hamlet with Lions. You know the one, where Rafiki finds out Simba is alive and presses the pad of his thumb into ink, he paints hope alive; a mane around the head of the faded cub he wrote off so long ago. Then in his joy and excitement he says, “It is time”.
I feel like the United States of America is standing at that pivotal precocious point. We are living in a land that is barren and dark, wasted and neglected. It is a land that has been greedily stripped of its nutrients, it is a land that is painfully broken. Now, because this is a metaphor, I don’t mean the land itself (at least, not in this instance). But a people. We don’t how to take care of each other, how to make sure the circle of life envelope all the kingdom. We have never righted the balance of power and neglected to extend the place the light touches to everyone. So those little pockets of inequality, those little pockets of darkness, have expanded and they have taken over. And now, we still stand in the shadow of inequality.
I’m going to re-state something I’ve already said in another context and am going to apply it here, not because it’s anything particularly new or brilliant, or because I’m super full of myself. But because it has to be said, over and over and over again.
Are you ready?
We only champion social-justice causes when they are convenient to us and packaged up in a neat little bow. When we walk around and every day remain ignorant, when we sit back in fear that we would offend someone or that we might somehow get in trouble, when we say to ourselves that it doesn’t affect us so we’re not going to bother with it, that the argument isn’t worth it, when we silence someone who is angry or hurting, or tell them to wait or not be so angry we are too perpetrators of that hate, of that inequality, and we are flooding the land with shadows and the bones of the dead.
See, the thing is, we are on the cusp of hope for something that has been a long time coming. We may be still alive and kicking, but we are too busy singing “hakuna matata” because it isn’t our problem. I’m looking at you (and me too), allies and I’m looking at all you people, who like me, can walk into an office with the person you love and say “I swear this is all true” and they stamp a couple of things and three days later you walk out with a bunch of shiny new rights because you are the opposite sex.
All of us know that when you are in the land of milk and honey and living the good life you are not particularly interested in heading back to a barren wasteland to fight for it.
But, it is time. It is way past time to fight for it. It is time to re-invigorate the dry bones of inequality and actually extend life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to everyone.
We have to face the past of our discrimination. We are going to have to struggle, to fight with it, and it’s going to hurt. It has already left us with a lot of concussions and a lot of pain. But that doesn’t mean we keep running away. It’s time to run forward. It’s time to stand up against those who just don’t want to share, who want to be in charge and tell everybody how to live and not have any consequences, who want to shut out anyone who believes differently, or loves differently, or whose lives don’t look like theirs.
And the fact is, we’ve been selfish little lion cubs who don’t want to deal with it.
It’s time to grow up and face it. The time is coming whether or not you keep making excuses.
The day is coming when light will be given to everyone. You can choose to be blinded by it, you can choose to warm up to it, or you can be the one holding the beacon.
I’m going to end with a quote that I used in the program for my own wedding service