All my life I’ve been told “change is constant.” And, all my life - 80+ years - it has been. In nearly all ways. But, just because it’s a “constant” doesn’t mean it may always be good change.
I recently got some medical news that’s made me reflect a bit and take note of some of that “change.” For much of it, I’m not happy with the review.
The media has changed. As someone who spent a good portion of his life embroiled in it, that change has been one of my greatest disappointments. In so many ways.
For one, nearly all media outlets turn off the lights Friday evening and don’t show up till Monday morning except for weekend sports. We live in an area of about 4-million souls, “served” by a lot of media outlets. Still, this week, an airplane crashed locally Saturday morning and there was no account of it - or the deaths involved - until Monday mid-day. Anywhere.
Newspapers - and even some broadcast outlets - routinely “report” a story with the words “...according to a news release” prominently displayed. Might be a mainline water break or two 18-wheelers meeting head-on or a jailbreak. Makes no difference. Wait for the news release. Even in our 4-million+ market.
Don’t get me started with spelling errors, wrong picture ID’s, words dropped from sentences or headlines, an over-abundance of “fluff” and a neglect of real news.
Coarseness in our language is another disappointing “change.” Been to a sporting event lately? Or a restaurant? Even movie theaters. Or how about Facebook? Have you listened to teens - or 2nd graders - talking? Sounds like a coal miner’s workplace. Even network TV shows and some of our political speeches. Lots of #/@+.
Churches have changed, too. You can find a good number these days with “answers” to your every question. The historic, individual search for faith and connectedness is now too often met with “our way or the highway.” Some even try to overrule laws or political principles with their narrow, self-serving views of things “religious.”
Adherence to laws has, for far too many, become old fashioned. Especially on the highway. Rules of the road seem to be thought of as “suggestions.” “I’m here and I’m going there so get out of my way.” See it everyday.
Lots of disturbing “changes” in law enforcement as well. Elected, professional lawmen refusing to enforce one or more laws they don’t agree with, cherry-picking what they see are acceptable ones and ignoring those they don’t like. Or, ones that might have a bearing on their next re-election campaign.
There are many more examples of changing social norms and customs that aren’t for the better. But, none more so than national governance.
Possibly the most unacceptable “change” politically has been those in office - especially federal - becoming a self-perpetuating ruling class rather than representatives of the people. Somewhere along the line, our issues became less important than their fanatical desire to stay in place. Too many officeholders look upon the electorate as a means to their own ends rather than acting as people we’ve chosen to temporarily deal with our national needs.
“Town Hall” sessions and other constituent events are, in the eyes of many pols, things to be avoided. No phone calls. No meet-and-greets. No direct contact if it can be eliminated. Idaho, especially, has a couple of Senators for whom those are the rules, not the exceptions.
In my life, I’ve met too many politicians who’ve said, “If you knew what I know, you’d agree with me,” Time and time and time again. Too damned many. We’ve lost the ability to have our legislative desires dealt with. We’re often treated as subjects rather than citizens.
And, of course, the Internet, fraught with change. Some good: access, education, communication, medical, et al. Some bad: communication. While the I-net has enhanced nearly every aspect of our lives, it has also exhibited and communicated hate, bigotry, danger and outright criminal behavior for millions. While most of us have learned to use it as an ever-changing tool for good, it’s also had a concomitant effect for criminal and immoral activity.
Sometimes, it’s the resistance to change that’s more troubling. Idaho, for example, has a vocal group of “anti-changers” vowing to cut the operating budget of Boise State University for instituting gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Loudest voice is a “legislator” from Eastern Idaho who was thrown out of a Boise restaurant for carrying a rifle with him at lunch. Methinks payback is more on his little mind than who uses what bathrooms at BSU 250 miles from his home.
That old saw “change is constant” is as apt today as it was when the first Neanderthal muttered it. While there are many examples of change not necessarily for our betterment, it’s safe to say most has been beneficial. The continuing evolution of change is, actually, about the most constant thing in our lives these days. There’s really not much we can do about it except to take the “hits” and keep on going. Resistance - even in bathrooms - is futile.
You might have noticed I haven’t included our miscreant liar of a President in these musings about change. Deliberate, I assure you. After all, not all change has to be permanent. And he’s the textbook case for the necessity of c-h-a-n-g-e.