Honestly, this kinda upsets me, so I doubt this will be a long blog. But, it will be an honest and possibly insightful one.
Yesterday, my sons came home from school and told me about the drills they did at school. They are the typical drills - fire and earthquake/disaster drills, just as I did in school in the 1990s. The difference, of course, is the active shooter drill. This is when someone is in the school trying to kill as many people as they can, usually because of bullying or bruised ego, before either being arrested or adding themselves to the body count.
I was reminded when my oldest son came home a few days after his first days in kindergarten telling me about an active shooter drill he had to do that day (Apparently, at his new school, they just discuss what to do, but don't actually go through the drill.) My first thought was how he learned how to avoid an active shooter before he learned how to write his name. My heart broke that day and reality really set in - This is a Brand New World.
I try to go back to May of 2002 when the greatest concern was graduation from high school. About eight months prior, the terror attacks of September 11th happened and I realized that the world was going to be different. Fast forward eight months and I didn't really see a change. I was aware enough of politics and world affairs to understand that many things were going to be different from what I had previously thought adulthood would be. I hadn't really traveled by plane at this point, but since then, I've flown quite a bit, and the changes, while seemingly extreme, are still in place 20 years later with good reason all things considered.
The lesson, if any in all this, goes SO far beyond "Check the shoes for bombs". The World in 2021 is much different than the World in 1998, or even 2002. The World has Changed and we, as a society, can either change with it or get left behind.
One change worth discussing is social media. This is a big one so I'm just going to address it first and get it out of the way.
Social Media is here. There is no point in being mad about it. Instead, just be smart about it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and the like are all platforms the average person can utilize to gather information, share thoughts and feelings, and connect with other people who have similar interests. Chances are, if you're really this, you saw a link posted by one of my social media accounts. I'm not popular enough that people just come to my website to see what I have going on.
The blessing of social media is also its curse. The fact that anyone can log on and say anything that crosses their mind, usually with very little, if any, vetting or proper fact-checking, opens the doors to bounds of misinformation flooding the populous. Aside from that, the same algorithm that helps you find friends, groups, and clubs that match your pre-established tastes and interests, creates an echo chamber where all you hear is the same bits of information over and over again, leading to Confirmation Bias, which hinders one's ability and/or willingness to consider other viewpoints. If all parties are incorrect or if the information is inaccurate, people will continue to blissfully exist surrounded by a cloud of ignorance. See: Beware of the Misguided Middle-Ground
Best solution: Surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. Whether that's politically, spiritually, philosophically, or even just someone that has had a different life experience than you, having those people around you will give you insights on a topic that you may not be able to otherwise acquire. Trust them. Listen, don't just hear.
Okay, this is becoming one of my long ones... Sorry, not sorry.
Another change: COVID-19. Now, I've talked about it already here and there and I have a blog post about it. See: The Moon and COVID. Since I've talked about it, I don't need to go all out about it here, but this is the point: COVID-19 is here. COVID-19 is dangerous (whether you want to believe it or not), it's serious (whether you want to believe it or not), and it's not just going to go away, (whether you want it to or not). This all translates into: Life has changed, whether you want to accept that or not. Maybe this will help:
I had a regular customer years ago - we'll name her Abby. Abby was married to... Billy. Billy was in an accident, last I hear, was paralyzed. Life changed for them. No choice in the matter. No amount of yelling, kicking, screaming, or fussing was going to change that. They had to adapt. Another customer, another accident. Carl (shrugs) was in a car wreck that took his arm. Life changed. No choice in the matter. Nothing he can do about it. When something happens and life changes, you have to accept and adapt. It's just the way it works. I would LOVE for things to go back to the way things were in the Summer of 2019, but the reality is, that world is gone and it's not coming back. We can shape this world into something very similar, but it will be different. We must accept and adapt.
The best solution: Accept and Adapt. And I can hear people now calling me a sheep, insinuating that I'm just going to do whatever I'm told to do, but hear me out - Whatever else is there REALLY to do? When security changed in airports, we accepted it and adapted. This is another societal change. Accept, adapt, and move on.
But what about my FREEDOMS!!!!!??????
They're not gone nor going away. In reality, the framework of our society is changing with the circumstances. That's how life works. Always has been. Simple as that.
Another change to bring up concerns "-isms". There has been a shift over the last several years where groups of people, previously oppressed and/or marginalized and/or disregarded that are simply over it. Whether it's African-Americans, Latinos, Women, LGBTQ+, the disabled, the Jewish, the Muslim, or whatever, groups are standing up for themselves, demanding proper treatment and respect in the mainstream of society.
This has been highlighted by the recent acknowledgment of Pronoun Usage. As Transgender People are becoming more comfortable in their own skins and living their lives as their true selves publically, people are being asked to recognize a person's new name or new pronoun choice. Whether it's changing from Daniel to Eliza or Florence to Greg, it's not going to hurt any of us to accept their new name and pronoun and keep it moving. It's weird - I have less trouble having people call me Moon than a transgender person has going from Harry to Isabelle. I've heard the excuse that "It goes against my religion!" and to those people, I say the following: Bullshit! No one is asking you to practice homosexuality or to live your life in any way different than you choose to. All they are asking you to do is acknowledge them and their choices. Your religion has no bearing.
Solution: Accept and Adapt - yes, I can use that twice and I'm using it because that's really the answer. Accept that there are people who live a life different than you do. Accept that there are facets of American life that you don't know about no matter how much you think you know about it. I think a comedian mentioned that, paraphrased, "...yeah, we're all American, we just live in different Americas." Accept that, whether you've seen it first hand or not, people are oppressed in America. Accept that people don't have to live THEIR lives by YOUR standards. Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean I can't have a doughnut. Once you're accepted that, adapt your mindset, your attitude, and your language accordingly.
Lastly, personal accountability and sensible disagreements seem to be a thing of the past. No one wants to bear responsibility for their own mistakes or shortcomings. It's why parents are now coming in getting mad at teachers for the failing grades of their students or people are weakly performing at work and when confronted, instead of learning from the mistakes and trying to do better, they threaten their employer with lawsuits ranging from wrongful termination to racial discrimination.
Also, people can't just disagree anymore. People who disagree over anything nowadays either leads to violence or deep-seated hatred. What happened to, "Well, it seems we won't see eye-to-eye on this topic." and you move on? What happened to two people discussing an issue over dinner or drinks? What happened to two drivers getting upset and just wearing out their horns instead of pulling over and threatening each other with guns? What happened to fights on the playground and accepting the win or loss and calling it a day? What happened?!
And this topic will NEVER make sense to me - Parents leaving babies in hot cars?! Really?!! What in the ENTIRE fuck is going on here?! According to the US Dept. of Transportation, 906 children have died in hot cars since 1998. 906! Nine Hundred Six!!!! CMVI (that's Roman Numerals) 22 kids have died THIS YEAR!!!!!!! In 2019, 53 children died because they were forgotten.
They were forgotten. Forgotten. By their PARENTS!!! (Stats from here ) The most recent, according to the National Safety Council, the most recent was September 9th in Harris County, Texas preceding Orange County, Florida on September 7th - both only a year old.
The super frustrating part is that instead of solely holding parents responsible for their CLEAR NEGLECT, they want automakers to install sensors in their vehicles to prevent this from happening. Retails stores like Walmart have posted signs reminding parents to double-check their cars. Why is it up to ANYONE to remind you to care for your own kids?
Solution: Prison. Period. A minimum prison sentence of 20 years. Accidents happen. Some of these cases are actually cases of kids getting into cars on their own and getting stuck in there. Not a whole lot can be done in prevention minus locking your doors. But this "Oh I forgot they were back there" bullshit just can't be. BE A FUCKING PARENT!!! You have to be responsible - that's just how that goes! If you can't handle that, call up those Pro-Life people who care so much! ;-)
In closing, the World is a different place. It just is. There are two different kinds of people in the world. There are the people who see the world changing, accept this change, and adapt to it and there are the people who see the world changing, don't like change, and fight tooth and nail to keep things in a safe realm of familiarity. I understand the stress that comes with adaption and with the familiar becoming not-so-familiar, but truth is that you can't stop change. Many of these changes are long overdue and are indeed for the better. We'd settle a lot of our issues by understanding and accepting that change is happening and we should just adapt to it; enjoy the New World forming right before our eyes.
- The Moon