And make no mistake; it is a self-defense mechanism. If you don't reach you cannot fall. It's true. And if you don't fall, you won't get hurt. And you'll never have to make a hard decision between two choices that suck.
But I can tell you how to change the world.
You enlighten people, one at a time. You feed people, one at a time. You heal people, one at a time. You free the innocent and convict the guilty. One at a goddamned time.
You write one page a day. The pages add up. In the end, they tell a story. Incremental effort piles up.
You bring a welcome basket to the colored family that moved in down the block. You tell the office comedian that you don't find her man-bashing jokes funny. You nail a letter to the church door. You write something like "Babi Yar." Or Silent Spring. You direct a movie like Brokeback Mountain. (and then you get shit for it, because if it's good art, then it's not going to fit anybody's agenda.)
You find a way to change a mind. To humanize the Other. If it changes one mind, if it lets in a little light, it makes a difference.
You cast a black man, a woman, a Jew, an Asian, a queer, a convict in a starring role. You give a speech. You give somebody your seat on the bus. You refuse to sit down when they tell you not to stand up, or to stand up when they tell you you can't sit there. You refuse to check the box on the form. You buy a heifer for a village in India. You donate books to a school library. You give two years to the Peace Corps. You change churches, and give your community and your money to one with an AIDS ministry and an open-door policy, or a soup kitchen and a daycare program.
You take a day off and go to the park. You fly kites with your nephew. You go out for pizza once in a while, and give yourself permission not to feel like a terrible person for eating off styrofoam plates. You compromise. You do what you can. You can't do it all.
Some people have more to give than others. Some of those people share. Sometimes the people who share the most are the ones that can least afford it. The world doesn't change on television. It changes in your hands.
From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.1
It's not fair, you're right. It's not fair at all.
But it's just.
The strongest goose flies point for the flock.
And what does the goose get out of it? Well, not much other than neckstrain.
But the girl geese think he's hot.
1. The problem with communism is that the workers, in general, don't particularly give a shit about controlling the means of production. Most people do not want to work that hard.