A high school friend recently posted on FB about how bittersweet it is that the circus era is coming to an end. Bittersweet it is because many of us have circus memories etched into our childhood DNA.
We could debate the issue of the circus closing until the elephants come home, but that won’t be very productive. In my mind, the issue is much larger than the big top. It has to do with change…be it radical or simple.
The status was pretty much “quo” in Oz until Dorothy crashed landed. After that the balance was forever tipped.
We are not the first generation to be challenged by changes. How many people were bereft when the horse and buggy was replaced by the Tin Lizzie? How many blacksmiths lost their jobs when their services were no longer needed?
Change is inevitable. We all know that. But there is something different about the way things have been changing in our lifetime. Change that is gradual and organic is something we can come to understand and even eventually embrace. But change that is sudden and that comes like a tornado often leaves us breathless.
Animal rights advocates launched a campaign to end the abuse of the majestic animals that were the mainstay of the circus. Having looked into what had to be done to take a wild animal and have it dance, prance and jump through burning hoops, I was sickened.
With what I know now, should I cringe at having been thrilled when I was held captive under the big top as a child? Is ignorance really bliss?
I only have to take a look back at the way it was when I was a kid, a time when women’s rights were limited, when segregation was the “law” of the land, when people who suffered from mental illness were institutionalized, when being gay was a punishable “sin,” when….
I think none of us really have a problem with changes that “change” the way we operate. Who had a problem throwing out the ink pen that used to blot at the worst moment and started using a ball point pen? Who held a rally to stop automakers from introducing automatic drive, power steering and power breaks?
I think many of us who are open to change don’t know how to handle the militant advocacy that often precedes change.
That’s not to mean that militant advocacy is not more often than not necessary or needed. I mean how far would the Civil Rights movement had gone had advocacy not been the spur? Where would women be if the fight for change was not loud and open?
As much as we could point to other moments in time when change washed over us in tidal wave proportion, that was then and this is NOW.
Should we go with the flow and welcome change? Should we stand firm and resist change?I mean, is change always good?
I have no answers. All I can say is that life is so friggin’ complicated!