Caged No More

by Lisa Longo, 5/28/14

My mom told me the news that Maya Angelou had died and immediately my mind flew to her most well know title, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Why did this poem resonate with so many of us?

Why? Because we felt like caged birds. The 1% caged us, kept us in debt, in poverty, and in ignorance. They did this by forcing upon us a lifestyle that lacked many things. A lack of health care, a lack of food, lack of security, lack of birth control, lack of disposable income, lack of child care, a lack of options, a lack of affordable, quality public education, a lack of mobility and a lack of civility. We are not only the have nots, we are now a nation of lackers.

We are not slackers. We are not lazy, or stupid, fat, ignorant or dependent. We have been lied to, manipulated, marginalized and manhandled. And we should all be livid.

We should be that bird with the fearful trill, making noise and escaping that cage to soar. Instead too many seem to relish the cage, or ignore it. But I am going to expose those bars. I am going to force you to acknowledge they exist, to honor this woman who made me see, living in a cage is not a life worth living.

We are on the edge of being caged no more, of taking that leap to freedom, and I want to be free. And I want you to be free. I want my daughter to be free. I want us all to be free.

I am sick and tired of all those who shrug and say, oh well, this is just the way the world is.

NO. No it is not. This is the way the world has been disfigured and manipulated. The way we have been forced to work against our own best interest. I don’t accept it. I won’t be quiet so others can feel better about their own caged existence.

When children die from starvation or gun violence, when girls are raped and kidnapped, shot and held captive. When our boys think the only way out is to play violent games either on the sports field or on the video screen, we have done it all wrong. Our boys are both captive and captor, while our girls are both victimized and traumatized; too afraid to leave the comfort of the cage they created, or trading it in for another one made for them by someone else.

It is time to stop accepting the caged life created by others, and start defending our way of life, the one we want for ourselves, our children, and our freedom. We aren’t here to provide consumers to corporations or money to the rich. We are here to live.

I invite you to join me in breaking the bars of these cages. Join me in refusing to live in this constructed contemptible cage created by the craven cowards while they hide in their mansions and yachts, hoarding their money in offshore accounts.

Join me in song. Join me in celebration. Join me in revolution. Farewell Ms. Angelou, and thank you for this call to action. For I too know why the caged bird sings, she sings to bring awareness. She sings to give courage and she sings to be change.

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