One of the difficulties that always presents itself to those who seek to change social systems and cultural practices is the push—pull tension between what you should do and what you can do.
It works like this…
All social systems (thankfully) have built in “shock absorbers” which make them pretty hard to change.
Imagine waking up tomorrow and finding out that we were all supposed to drive on the other side of the road. What a dangerous mess that would create!
Most social systems, most of the time are able to integrate small changes (some of which really do make a difference to the people concerned) as long as those changes leave the underlying system intact.
We can make these small changes and we should make them whenever we can BUT…
Small changes rarely have to power to alter the fundamental problems that plague us. They address symptoms rather than the disease.
What we can do, however, is use the small changes (and the good they can do) to ILLUSTRATE the root causes of the problem.
For example, too many people living in too many institutions live get enough food and water and medicine but lack the essential ingredients needed for a life worth living.
Amazing things happen when these people get free and open access to simple things like music, touch, pets, children and the outdoors.
That is very nice!
But these successes should always lead us to ask deeper questions and ask more pointed questions.
Why would so many good people be consigned to a life bereft of these simple pleasure?
What are the unquestioned assumptions that led to this state of affairs?
How deep does the rabbit hole go?
When we choose to go down that hole, we find that it is the pervasive bigotry of ageism that at the root of the problem.
While we can and should do the simple, common sense things that are necessary to make life better for the victims of ageism, but we must never be lulled into assuming that is good enough.
The terrible decaying presence of ageism lies at the root of this evil. It is the story behind the story.