When I turned forty years old, someone turned off a switch; I had trouble reading without stretching my arms as long as possible. Over the next decade, I wore “cheaters” to read, and eventually so that I could see other things (like road signs). My mind grew accustomed to not seeing all the details of life, and I assumed I could see enough.
Six months ago, I knew it was time. I went to the eye doctor, who told me I was lucky to get into my mid-50s before needing a prescription. He told me I needed trifocals: reading up close, working at the computer, and driving out in the world. I ordered the new glasses that revealed a whole new perspective for me. I can now see the details in the world better than I did seven months ago, seven years ago, and maybe even fourteen years ago. It’s not that I couldn’t see before, but outside assistance enhanced what I see, to pick up nuances and details I missed when I thought my vision was normal.
A few weeks ago, we witnessed a horrible event of a man losing his life at the hands of another. The perpetrator of this crime was a man that some of us were taught to trust, and others of us were taught to fear (which in itself tells us something). This incident created such a convulsion in the society as centuries of frustration and anger erupted onto the streets. Sadly, these peaceful demonstrations also brought out anarchists, opportunists, supremacists, and partisans fueling the fire of a broken system.
Many good people in many decades (and centuries) have tried to fix the brokenness of inequality with cries for equality and equity. As well-meaning as these people and their actions were, the root of the problem is systemic, and it still exists.
Maybe this time, things will be different. Perhaps enough people will stop and think about what we are seeing. I’m not talking about the bad players in this situation, but the voice of a people who have been silent too long who need to peacefully stand up next to those who have struggled for so long and say, “No more!” Maybe this is the time that provides us with the lenses to see details up close, in our immediate surroundings, and beyond ourselves—a new pair of glasses.
Below is an excellent illustration of our history with the issue of inequality. I provide it to make us think about the failures on all sides (the first three) to achieve what we all believe is a fundamental right of every human being (the last). This is not a political statement; it is reality.
I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.
I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these… you did not do it to me.Jesus (Matthew 25:40, 45)