Lexington, Kentucky is known as the horse capital of the world. The rolling fields of bluegrass are home to beautiful thoroughbreds bred for perfection. Each horse farm hopes to find the hidden gem; the next Kentucky Derby winner. During training and racing, some thoroughbreds are made to wear blinders, but as I found out, the horses aren’t the only animals wearing blinders in Lexington.
I found myself walking amongst hundreds toward the holy ground known as Rupp Arena on an unseasonably warm Saturday in January. My husband and I were excited to take in a University of Kentucky men’s basketball game and continued to bounce stats back and forth as we trekked the umpteen blocks to the arena.
As we got closer we began to hear it–a chug of an engine that just didn’t want to start. We spotted the stalled car about a block away, sitting as the lead at the busy intersection. Again the driver tried to start the car, and again the vehicle refused. Traffic was beginning to back up and frustration with both the driver and those in cars behind her was also mounting. We continued to walk towards the car all the while assuming a Good Samaritan would stop and help before we could get there.
Of the hundreds of people walking by before we reached the young woman, no one stopped to help. My husband and I approached the vehicle and the young woman had explained she ran out of gas. With her at the helm and I directing traffic through the busy intersection, my husband by himself began to push the car. You could see the strain in his face and the determination to get the vehicle rolling to safety; however, those passing by still did not stop to help him get the car through. Finally after what seemed to be an eternity, another gentleman came over to help get the vehicle moved. Apparently the horses are not the only ones that wear blinders in Lexington, Kentucky.
Blinders, when worn by race horses, help to prevent the horse from looking behind and also from getting distracted from the crowd. Apparently those going to the game on that fateful day were wearing blinders, unable to get distracted from that going on around them and see those who need help.
ABC looked at this very issue, what would people do in sticky situations. Below is a clip from one such incident:
In a way, as a nation we have worn blinders for years now. We get in the race, set our sight on the finish line, and pay no attention to anything going on around us. We find ourselves in a dash for the cash; make the most money in the least amount of time. The blinders hinder our perspective and create an atmosphere of inequality.
I had driven by the Occupy movement on my way home from work every day. I never honked and I snickered as I thought their efforts to be futile, but after that fateful day in January I never looked at the Occupy movement the same way. The Occupy movement is a liberation of sorts that requires the removal of the blinders in order to help others.
Those involved in the Occupy movements across the nation are working to benefit the communities they are a part of. Although Occupy Providence was dismantled after over 100 days of encampment, the removal of tents is not a sign of failure. Occupy Providence worked to remove the blinders of its citizens and city officials to bring to the spotlight the needs of the less fortunate.
Occupy Providence agreed to leave Burnside Park, where they had camped and protested in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, on the condition that a day center to help the homeless through the winter months would be established.
As a nation we need to continue the conversation, examine our own lives and remove the blinders that have inhibited us from rising to the occasion and becoming the leaders we need to be. Life without blinders may be a little unnerving, I know it has been for me, but ultimately taking it one step at a time we can all make a difference and move the world forward.