Will The World Ever Get Back To Where It Was?
I am an optimistic realist in my day to day living. Even in the worst of times, I can usually see ways that things move forward, progress, and grow. I think most people are generally like this, without even realizing it. it’s why I found an article from Studyfinds to be a bit off putting. The claim is that 3 in 4 Americans think we will never end up back where we were in 2019. On the surface, it generally goes against my normal day to day feelings, but deep inside I think they may be right.
I also think that it’s not COVID that is actually causing that change, only magnifying it and making it ever so much more obvious.
In simple terms, I think we reached the peak of what our current civilization and world organization can handle, and that we have actually been in a slow downward spiral for at least the last 10 years or more. In many ways, technology is the driver here. Communication via the internet has made the world in many ways like one giant community. It has also allowed extreme fringe groups that might only have one member in each city to come together to be more powerful players in the age of information and disinformation.
The internet is an extremely powerful tool that has the effect of leveling the field for all sorts of speech and activity. The teenage girl living with her parents potentially has as loud a voice as the leaders of the free world. The marginal racists of the deep US south have as big a potential audience for their hate as Halcyon has for his pink for bicycles and hugs. The good for guys like Halcyon is offset by the amount of hate and misinformation that flows unchecked into people homes every day.
I don’t have a ton of friends on Facebook, I am in many ways a very private person. But I guess I have 100 or so people I consider friends, repeat acquaintances, and so on. For as long as I can remember, most of them have been pretty normal people. Yes, those of us who work or have worked online are perhaps a bit more open minded, but there has always been a level of stability. Most of them I consider smart enough to spot a clearly fake story and run away from it.
These days, many of them re-post and share what can only be described at total bullcrap. It’s the type of stuff that can be disproved in seconds, the most recent being the “Obama in Wuhan lab” pictures. That was pretty amazing. The whole process has been a real eye opener. I can tell you that since before Trump was elected, the web has been turned into a cesspool and more and more of my friends are swimming in it and loving it. Or hating it, because they seem to argue a lot more now.
COVID-19 has been more than just the icing on the proverbial cake, it has been more of the pie in the face. COVID has exposed Trump as such a poor leader that even his most loyal disinformation source at Fox News is questioning him live on air about his lies. His answers are more lies, which is funny in itself. COVID has push everyone to boil over. Add in Black Lives Matter and the movement to defund the police, and you have a pretty good pile of fun to deal with.
Videos of people getting mad because others don’t wear masks. A woman having a screaming fit because she measures less than 6 feet between two groups. People peeing on the floor in shops because they are asked to leave for not having a mask. The best is anti-abortion types getting upset and saying ‘my body, my right” not to wear masks. Yes, some went there. It’s amazing, really. The BLM movement has dominated so much of social media and meat space as well, with protests and arguments and more violence, looting, and what not. The difference this time is that those who oppose are also equally as violent and nasty in their opposition. It actually scary to watch.
So forget international travel. Forget your work place, shopping malls. movie theaters, restaurants, bars, and all that stuff. Those things will be changed forever anyway. There is no getting around the economic impact of COVID on each of those things and so many more. Forget all that, it’s not the most important fundamental change to deal with. The real change here is that for many people, the truth no longer matters. Being free of the truth is how Trump got elected, and a big enough percentage of people have decided to follow along down that path with a self righteous attitude and an I know better swagger that is both overwhelming and comical.
The truth is often painful. Most of us have coping mechanisms that help us to put aside certain things that are too painful for us to deal with directly. But even then, over time we accept that a loved one has passed on or a job has been lost or whatever it is that happened. We come to accept the truth even if it is painful because supporting the lies generally are more painful over time.
The lies in the political space, in the online information spaces, on social media are so pervasive and so powerful stated that people are no longer having to deal with the painful truth. They can find enough people to agree with them and to accept the same set and series of lies and distortions that they actually think they are right. It’s how people can ignore nearly 150,000 dead people and walk around without a mask on, cough on people and peeing on floors, because they are right and all these people online say they are right too.
The difference now is that thankfully a majority of Americans and a majority of those in the Western world at least are coming to realize that these people are living in a fantasy world. We are learning to understand the harm and destruction they have caused and we are willing to work to negate their lies and move forward with the truth, no matter how painful and how hard it is to deal with.
Black people in America have been the victims of racial injustice for all of their lives, and all of their parents, grandparents, and so on lives. It is a fact. We can no longer lie about it. We need to deal with it.
Donald Trump is a liar. Everyone with a brain and three minutes can prove it. He has lied probably 20,000 times since being in office. We can no longer tolerate it. We need to deal with it.
COVID-19 is a serious disease that will kill more people than any other disease, illness, or accident this year in America. We can no longer ignore it. We need to deal with it.
After all of this and many more challenges ahead, we will never be the same. Trust has been lost. Comfort has been lost. Fear has be instilled. Ignorance has been promoted and pushed and it takes generations to make that go away. 2020 has been horrible, and there is no going back to 2019. We must follow the road ahead and take on the devils we meet along the way. It will never be the same, and that may be a good thing.