Wider World

The world was once a cozy place
Just one country, one county, one town, one family, one person to be.
Women had babies, men followed their fathers or died in wars
There was no such a thing a choice
Liberty was just a word

Everybody knew the rules
Questioning things was hazardous to your health
Especially religion, especially politics, especially economics,
Especially sexuality, especially gender
There was no such a thing as self-identification
Freedom was just a word

Used to be the whole world was the same
People called it different and spoke many countless languages
But it didn't really matter if you were in France or China
Greece or Libya, Mexico or Vietnam, 12th century or 19th century
What was wrong in Burma was bad in Brooklyn
Unless you had money

And you know there are people still today
Who long for that bygone day of rigid certainty
When men were men and women were property and people of difference
Were beaten, stabbed, burned, stoned, raped, driven out, forgotten with impunity
The good old days of prejudice and family lynchings
Without pretense or excuse, just God's will

How fortunate are you and I today, how privileged
To have the choices we have to face the pain we can endure
To question, to doubt, to exhort, to demand, to rage, and to repent
Without fatal consequence to ourselves or retribution on our families
These good new days when we can choose
To be what someone else calls wrong

This is precious brothers and sisters
This is dear and didn't come free - it wasn't given
It was fought for with blood, with tears, with anger and forgiveness
It took lifetimes to turn fear to fact and bring a whole generation to question
Whether words like freedom and liberty should be just words
To ask tough questions that require answers

 

2010

creative commons