I saw “Selma” on Friday, the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s (and so many others) march on Selma, Alabama which was a turning point in the fight for racial equality in America.
As I sat in the dark theater watching whites beat blacks to death and employ German Shepherds as attack dogs to cause them even more fear and pain, I sobbed for the cruelty that humanity is capable of. I asked myself (as I seem to do so much lately), “Why? Why? Why? I just don’t understand.”
I don’t understand why humans are so cruel to others and to animals. I don’t understand why those in power (of any color) torture and abuse those without power. I don’t understand why they can’t see that a living, breathing being is suffering and why they think it’s in any way ok to keep them down and abused.
In the days of the slaves, the white oppressors convinced themselves that the blacks were ‘happy.’ They liked living that way.
Every oppressive regime or government says the same thing about the oppressed. “They like it. They’re happy.”
But they’re not. Every oppressed people longs for freedom, and ever oppressor refuses to grant that freedom. Freedom doesn’t come without a fight.
Our fight for freedom for chained dogs is this very same fight. The only difference is that these non-human animals don’t speak with a human voice, so we must become their mouthpieces.
Chained dogs still speak. A dog who is laying on the ground, unable to stand, but looks at you with pleading eyes; these eyes beg for help. That anyone with eyes and a heart can understand.
A dog who is chained against his will and against his nature barks for freedom. He paces, whines, cries, and eventually gives up on life. All this is visible if you but open your eyes to see.
The dogs’ oppressors don’t see/won’t see. They tell you they are ‘happy’ out there. Sound familiar?
What is the biggest lesson chained dog advocates can take away from Dr. King and those who marched with him?
WE MUST GET MORE ACTIVE.
No one will GIVE the dogs freedom without being forced. And the only way to win the freedom which should be theirs already by moral law? Through the use of the collective voice of the many.
Dr. King went to the president time after time for help. He was told to be patient. He was told it wasn’t yet time for his issue. To sit down and wait his turn.
King refused. He gathered his troops (blacks and whites—all willing to die for the cause) and they marched. Some did die and some were gravely injured. But they marched anyway, for they understood the cost was necessary in order to win rights for the many.
When do we march? When do we feel strongly enough about the plight of the chained dogs to STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING?
To go EN MASSE to the site of a chained dog and DEMAND THE DOG’S REMOVAL FROM THE CHAIN? THEY CAN’T ARREST 50 PEOPLE, CAN THEY? WILL THEY KNOW THE WIND IS TURNING THEN? YOU BETCHA.
The bottom line is that lawmakers and authorities will not help the dogs until we MAKE THEM DO IT. They will stand with those in power who tell them the dogs are ‘happy’ out there.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Will we make the dogs wait another century for freedom? How long must they wait?