A man is reading a book beside a gently gurgling river. Suddenly a drowning baby floats by. True to his nature, the Samaritan jumps in and saves the child. Pretty soon, another drowning baby floats past. He saves that one too. And the next. And the next. And the next.
A few hours later, his chest heaving, his arms exhausted, a cold dread settles over the man. He has realized the inevitable: There will come a time when I’m too tired to save even one more drowning child. That’s the point at which he looks upstream and sees someone throwing the babies in. Of course, any sane person wants to save drowning babies. But to discover why they are in the river, drowning, and do nothing is insanity.
Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden: “ There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” The fellow throwing babies in the river is the root.
The current movie Wonder Woman has some memorable lines. One that strongly struck one of my nerves: “If you see something wrong, you can do nothing . . . or do something.”
So, so, so much evil and injustice thrive because nothing is done to mitigate them. The British parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, put it this way back in the19th century: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
No one can do everything, and generally one can only do small things. (See my 30 June post: Think Big – Act Small) But the surest way to ensure that nothing happens is to do nothing.
Pick something – whatever ongoing injustice that strikes a nerve with you – and do something! The is a plethora of causes and opportunities. Add your two cents . . . or ten cents. Write a letter, or letters. March. Give monetarily. Join efforts with an organization. Be creative.
Many babies are drowning. And in many cases, we can see who’s throwing them in the river.