This spring the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is emptying its cages and folding up its big tent forever.
When I was in my early twenties I nearly joined Ringling Bros. circus. A job was waiting. Well, a job was waiting for Billy Grummel but we both knew Joey, the "one time with a dime" guy who ran a ring toss game on the midway and our mutual lover. Billy could work on the midway. I dreamed of taking care of the elephants. But all that's another story. My point is, I too once loved the circus but today I celebrate its demise.
I didn't know then what I know now. I didn't realize that elephants who, in the wild, might enjoy a 100 mile stroll before breakfast, are tortured until their spirit breaks then sold into a life of slavery. Except for when they perform, give rides to tourists, haul logs, beg on the street or at a temple etc. they live in chains.
So good. Ringling Bros. circus is closing. It only took 36 years of petitions, protests, legal wrangling but finally, finally it's closing. Thank you to all who wrote letters, signed online petitions, sent in a few bucks, explained to the kids why "we aren't going to the circus", joined a street protest when the circus came to town, talked to a friend about it, blogged about it ... whatever ... cared. The voice of compassion has been heard although, of course, it was the loss of revenue that carried it to the ears. It's all good.
And now . . . .