Our Zootopia meditations continue with the heart wrenching scene in Bellwether’s office* when Judy quits.
When Judy turns in her badge, the word on the badge directly facing the camera is “Integrity.”
Really, it’s the only word you can readily make out in that scene.
It is also exactly what Judy exhibits in that moment, and it is exactly why she quit.
Integrity isn’t about morality, or being a good person. Integrity is about honouring your word as yourself.
Judy sees what her actions had created in the city, the fear, the divisions.
Judy sees her beloved police force devolving to cater to the fears, the divisions.
Both are a disconnect and an affront to who she said she would be in the world, and to what she said she was out to accomplish.
In the face of that, she can no longer be an officer. She quits.**
She honours her word.
It’s also why the first thing she does upon her return to Zootopia is to go clean things up with Nick.
It would have no integrity to (or even try to) heal the rift in the city between predator and prey if she doesn’t first heal the rift she caused between predator Nick and prey herself.
Judy is being the embodiment of integrity.
And when she, and we, act from, and with, integrity, who we know ourselves to be and our actions are in perfect alignment. There’s no hidden dissonance, and that makes us peaceful, free, and feeds us power to accomplish what we’re out to do.
Like heal the wounds and clean up the messes to begin a new day for a bunny, a fox, and Zootopia.
* Bellwether, in that scene in her office, thought Judy could be brought alongside in her scheme, but she misread Judy. She only understood the world from her view, one of dominance and influence and control. Integrity to one’s self didn’t even occur to Bellwether. She assumed that Judy’s ambition was borne of the same place as hers and that any saying about “making the world a better place for all” was either just a manipulative slogan, or was something that Judy would be willing to give up in a heartbeat if it meant amassing authority and stature. She was wrong.
** This scene is also great in that Judy quitting is another sign of her growth. “[Gideon]*** was right about one thing… I don’t know when to quit!” But compared to that scene at the start of the film, here, she does know when to quit. And irrespective of her learning what night howlers really are, honouring her integrity in this moment by quitting is what gives her the space and the power to solve the crime.
*** It’s also wonderful that Gideon is the one who actually ends up helping her fulfil her true ambition, an ambition that’s in tune with who she creates herself to be. In the space she gains from her quitting, when he gives her the info she needs to solve the case, he also gives her the opportunity to choose freely to be an officer (explored earlier in detail here). As a jerk he set her on a determined path to be an officer, but as a kind adult, he helps Judy truly become who she wants to be.
For earlier parts in this series on Zootopia: