Don’t Die Twice, Do Something

Don’t Die Twice, Do Something

Most of us have gotten complacent. Until recently, in North America and Europe, stable governments brushed a Goldilocks-just-right veneer over the surface of many of our lives.

The lion, terror of the forests, weighed down by the years and regretting his past prowess, was at last attacked by his own subjects, grown strong with his weakness.

The horse approached and gave him a kick; the wolf, a bite; the bull, a stab with his horn.

The unhappy lion, languishing, sad and morose, could barely roar he was so crippled by age. He awaited his destiny, without complaint.

Then he saw the donkey come running toward his den.

Oh! That’s too much, he said. Now I really want to die. It’s dying twice to suffer your blows.

Moderate political parties across the increasingly narrow spectrum that separates their policies have become weighed down by the accumulated years of mutual back scratching compromise. One example, among the many I might have chosen: The rampant sexual harassment of women is not new. We put up with it, because it seemed like part of some balance we’d struck. Women were pacified by other supposed concessions.

We tell ourselves we are being reasonable. We muffle the itch to action we feel with the consolation of sort-of-okay progress in a direction that resembles where we think society should go. We call our inertia: destiny. So we don’t complain, or at least not too loudly. We might notice, but without taking note.
But at a certain point, the kick in the ass by an undeniable ass — insert here your right wing populist of choice — rouses us from our torpor. Now we really will allow all our dreams to die (again, by the way, because we weren’t exactly fighting hard for them before), or …

What happens after the fable ends? Does the lion die the double death of old age and mortification? Does the lion rally for one last swipe at the donkey? Do the lion’s young step into their paws and defend their legacy, while forging a new one?

The fable leaves that to us. We have a choice. The women who have stepped forward to expose their abusers and harassers have made their choice. The issues we might choose to fight for are myriad and pressing: immigrant rights, racial justice, repealing the second amendment — to name but a few. Now is a time to stand up for what we believe in every day.

We can die twice, or we can do something.

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