Saturday, November 8, 2008

Change: It's alright

We've been hearing the word 'change' rather frequently the last few months. Too much, for those of us who dislike slogans. But whatever our feelings toward the word itself, most will agree that all of the talk about change has paid off. Perhaps now we'll get some of the change we've been asking for.

Ordinarily, though, few people really like change. It bothers us. Our situation must be extremely bad before we start to really crave changes. Change is frightening. Change is uncertain. Change is, well, change. Sure, things might get better - but they also might get worse. Who wants to take the chance?

But we have to. Look where women's rights, worker's rights, civil rights in general were at 50, 100 years ago. 150 years ago slavery was legal, even praised. Women were property in all but name (and often in name, too). The idea of equality was just barely being considered. You can argue that some things are worse now than they were then - but not in general, not on average.

Amazingly enough, most of the time, change is, well, alright:

I'm feeling philosophical tonight, so let's ignore the literal meaning completely, and focus on some interesting thoughts that this song conjures up!

Firstly, while change might be alright, is isn't completely wonderful. This is really the song of the US right now. Right now, some people are wildly joyful and full of hope. Some are torn between two emotions, alternating between extreme anger and extreme happiness. Some (myself included) are merely cautiously optimistic. Some are very depressed or angry. Some are just trying to feed themselves. But we voted for a change - we hope we'll get it. We certainly won't have a perfect government - but maybe, just maybe, it will be an alright one.

Secondly, we can't not change. Something didn't change recently. It was something that should have changed, but it didn't. (I'm referring to prop 8, of course). The status quo should have been altered; instead it was reinforced. And while we don't like change, we resist it, we fight it - when it needs to happen, it must happen. This time, it didn't.

And that is not alright.

Lastly, and perhaps this only is my inner hopeless romantic talking; despite everything, I feel like it really is alright. Change or no change, steps forward, steps backward, things are slowly getting better. And as long as we can talk about it, can sing about it, can write about it, there is hope for change.

Change that is - alright.

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