Guess what, the old-timers are right, we actually did get more snow and cold here in the NoCo during my childhood, in the '60s and '70s, than we do now - climate change is, indeed, a thing (even though it doesn’t feel that way today as a snowstorm swirls outside my window, while I write this). Back then, we also had cars that were built like tanks, and there were not nearly as many of them on the roads. Not to mention that there were far fewer obligations and activities to get to, and hardly any overly aggressive, angry, impatient drivers.
We also had Danny B, the weather guy on WWNY in Watertown and Byrd B at WPTZ in Plattsburgh (North Pole, Burlington) standing in front of chalkboards with the low-pressure lines (I remember, they looked like little triangular flags on a curved line) drawn on (yes, with chalk). These guys were our versions of local celebrities (Danny even had a Saturday morning kids show), but let’s be clear – they really didn’t have the tools to know what the hell was going to wallop us 24 hours in advance – never mind 3-4 days before hand. And, I don’t think either of them would have known what a polar vertex was even if it hit them upside the head.
Sounds cheesy, or, maybe even like an excuse, but it really was a simpler time, filled with prejudices and biases that were accepted, without argument, as normal. It was an age when most women stayed home with their children, men were out earning the family income (and, were welcomed home with a kiss on the cheek and dinner on the table), I was told that “boys will be boys” and that I should behave like a “lady” and obey all adults (call them: Mr., Miss, and Mrs., please), no matter what. Gloves and hats were worn in church – except by the boys who had to take them off as a sign of respect. Books were an absolute luxury (of course, Amazon didn’t exist); with the exception of the collection of “Little Golden Books” at my grandparent’s house, I had a total of five (well loved – to the point of falling apart) “chapter books” my entire child/teen-hood. Looney Tunes, Merry Melodies, and Hanna Barbera took over the Saturday morning airwaves with “violent” cartoons. There was no ethnic diversity up here to speak of, and let’s not forget that the only references to LBGTQ were putdowns in Junior High, behind the teachers’ backs. Nixon and Watergate occupied my parents for months (or so it seemed), when they devoted an inordinate amount of time to watching the hearings on our little black and white Zenith TV in '74. Even in that context, I, personally, had no idea what Watergate was - besides the pistachio pudding and Cool Whip “salad” served at holiday meals – until I took a History of the 20th Century class at Cazenovia College, ten years after the fact, and watched All the Presidents Men.
Before the Vietnam War protests, most folks didn’t believe or even understand that they had any “power” to change governmental process (except for voting), but even then, the protestors were labeled, “those crazy (no good, slacker, stoned) hippies” by the majority of the population. We were a country brainwashed and held hostage by clever propaganda devised during and after WWII that hid the multitude of atrocities executed by the US Government. They said, it was all in the name of combating the spread of communism. Indeed, it was an era when the news was delivered to our living rooms in a ½ hour long series of soundbites, interrupted by commercials, painstakingly chosen for our consumption. My parents and grandparents got all their news either from the Watertown Daily Times (of which I delivered for 6 years) or the above-mentioned television stations; although, for a while, all we were only able to watch was CTV or CBC on that little black and white. They firmly believed, as gospel, everything Walter Cronkite of CBS, Chett Huntley and David Brinkley, and then John Chancellor of NBC, told them in those nightly reports.
Therefore – No! As a citizenry who has, 24/7, access to media (over-flowing with a new brand of propaganda), quite literally, in the palms of our hands, we are not alarmists or wusses, as we have been accused. We are merely responding, accordingly, to life in a completely different era: where weather updates, including a radar map, are accessible to even the least scientifically minded, where the words “friend,” “like,” and “follow” have a whole new meaning, where “digital” doesn’t only refer to a type of clock, and where even the youngest of our kids are very aware that equal rights, civil rights, social justice, drug, gang, and gun culture, hunger, homelessness, lock-downs, and, yes, hashtags are “a thing.”
And, more importantly, we live in a time where there are a host of ever-evolving technological advances that completely change our reality on the daily. Instant connection is the norm. Time has undeniably sped up and there is no going back. Which in no-way means we have to throw out the old technologies and stop using them – we, simply, have to acknowledge that being receptive to change, builds the connective place where respectful dialogue and hard work meet to make positive transformations.
Meanwhile, there are folks who relate to the world as if it was still 1974, resisting and raging against social reform and change, while living in their cozy little bubbles made possible by all of those convenient modern technologies. Their perceptions of reality are derived solely on the illusion that our underlying culture has gone unchanged for the past forty-five years. As demonstrated earlier, we are light years away from what we were, even, fifteen years ago. We no longer have the luxury to claim innocence or naivete.
To insist, today, in 2019, that everyone make life choices based on societal norms of the '60s and '70s is irresponsible and down-right dangerous. This is how inbred radicalization begins. If we are going to move forward (survive) as a culture (or, a human race), beside embracing change with a completely open-mind, we also need to supply this generation with a toolbox filled with, not only the latest technologies, but, natural curiosity, confidence, kindness, empathy, and the courage to take on all of the challenges, instead of ridiculing them and insisting that they behave as if nothing has changed since we were children. Then we need to allow them to use all those tools (again, without, contempt) in the vanguard, as the change makers, creating positive, outside the box solutions for a healthy, sustainable society.
Please plan on joining us February 12th from 6 -10 pm at the Buccaneer Lounge for the DRC Shiver Me Timbers Silent Auction. Check out the items on the website (the list is updated almost daily) and purchase your ticket here.
If you would like to donate an item to the auction - please get in touch!