You Just Changed the World: May it Be, Kodi Lee
Did you see it? Did you watch Kodi Lee on America’s Got Talent last night? He’s a 22-year-old who is blind and autistic and also has an incredible voice and ability to play the piano. His cover of Donny Hathaway's “A Song For You” blew away judges and viewers alike and earned him the Golden Buzzer, sending him straight to the live semi-finals.
Lee was escorted on stage by his mom Tina who said, “We found out that he loved music really early on. Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world. Because when you're autistic, it's really hard to do what everyone else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”
Following his performance judge Julianne Hough said through tears, “I know that everyone needs a voice and an expression. I really feel your heart, your passion–your voice blew all of us away. I just want to say that I heard you, I felt you and that was beautiful."
I’ve never actually watched America’s Got Talent, but the clip of Lee went viral today and I joined in with millions of Americans watching, crying, rejoicing in the beautiful gift he delivered. The crowd's reaction to his performance was nothing short of exultant, jubilant, electric. He’s an American hero. We cannot get enough.
As I wept with the crowd all I could think was, this—THIS—is who we are, America. Deep down, we love the marginalized. We champion the differently-abled. We always cheer for the underdog.
You see it everywhere. It’s the storyline of the shows and movies we cherish. It’s the moral of our favorite books. It’s unanimous amongst us: we see the good, the ability, the potential in everyone.
So why do we also hunger after abortion rights and legalized assisted suicide? Why do we fight for the right to end lives before they start and before they’re really over? I don’t get it.
On the one hand we rejoice when Gerber chooses a baby with down syndrome to be the face of babyhood in our nation. Then on the other hand we abort as many as three-fourths of babies who have down syndrome. What gives?
In one breath we revere the aged, we make room for the disabled, we do our best to make wishes come true for those who are ill. And in the next breath we cast our votes to make a way for them to die prematurely.
Do we love the marginalized or do we wish to rid them from our ranks?
When judge Gabrielle Union, who granted Lee the Golden Buzzer, hugged him at the end of his performance she said, “You just changed the world.”
May it be so. May one viewer after another watch Lee and weep, and remember that all God has made is very good. May we view it over and over and over and remind each other, remind our national conscience, all lives have value and worth and dignity and must be protected and celebrated.
I really believe this is who we are, America. Thank you, Kodi Lee, for the reminder. You are a gift. May you change the world.