Change. It’s difficult for most of us. We are creatures of habit, of routine. When our routines get a bit off-kilter we feel unbalanced. Changing our thinking is much the same. We believe what we believe and that’s that. So, when new ideas, new ways of thinking come to light, we get a bit prickly around the edges, dig our heels in a bit deeper. Change bad – status quo good. Neither is right nor wrong, it just is.
Dr. Seuss, transgender issues, sexual harassment, and racial concerns, not to mention COVID and the vaccine debates, have all had their day in the sun of late. Everyone has strong opinions on their rightness or wrongness – what should be done about the issues, etc. We are never all going to agree, that’s a given. We do need to listen to one another, however. Snap judgments, Bible-thumping, and calls for returning to the good ole days need to be put aside for a moment. Minds need to open just a bit.
When there is a call for change, it is often the young people who rise up, indignant about what they see as intolerance. Is it intolerance? Perhaps, to some degree. The oldsters, like myself, have opinions. Many will lean toward returning to the good ole days, and some will sit back and listen. After all, we may learn something, see issues from a different perspective.
I am one of those that usually sits back and listens to a variety of thoughts and opinions before I form my opinions. When I do voice thoughts and opinions, it is often while pondering challenges to the old way of thinking. Some take my opinions and thoughts as a defense of the new thinking, or they may believe I have lost my mind, and accuse me of being liberal, God forbid. In some circles that is akin to revealing one is an alien sent to destroy life as we know it. I don’t like labels. People don’t fit into nice, neat categories. I’m not necessarily any of the above, for sure I’m not an alien.
I used to be one of those who chose the status quo over new ideas and thoughts. The status quo was safe, reliable, comfortable, and familiar, even though it may no longer be relevant or practical. Somewhere along my spiritual journey I discovered new ideas or thoughts, thus change, weren’t the enemy come to destroy mankind and civilization as we know it. Change is good, no matter how we may perceive it. Change challenges us to grow and adapt, and eventually, we do. I suspect part of the reason some resist change so vigorously is because our thoughts are one of the few things we can control in life. The bottom line is we don’t control much in our lives.
I see change as a pendulum. The pendulum swings back and forth maintaining the status quo until a new thought, way of life, or cultural earthquake causes the pendulum to dramatically swing one way or the other. The pendulum waits until the muck is sorted out from the weeds, then swings back toward the middle to maintain the status quo until the next cultural earthquake hits.
The whole Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head debacle is a bit unnerving. Is nothing sacred? I get it though. Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head were casualties of the cultural earthquake that erupted over racism and gender identification. I think Dr. Seuss was rather progressive in his thinking – inclusive actually. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish sounds pretty inclusive. But, the powers that be say that Dr. Seuss was a racist and anti-semite. At the time he wrote the books, that was the norm, to a great extent, and writers write what they know. I don’t think Dr. Seuss’s audience would pick up on the racist and anti-semetic nuances of his colorful rhymes, but if they did, that would be a good time to talk about why racial and ethnic intolerance is wrong and hurtful. Have we removed Alice in Wonderland from the bookshelves for promoting drug culture? Clearly, Lewis Carroll had gotten hold of the good stuff and wrote about his experiences.
I am concerned, however, there is support for songs like WAP (if you don’t know what it stands for, look it up) and other artists who continue to write and record so-called music that clearly objectifies and debases women. In the face of the recent controversies, allowing further degradation of women is intolerable and unconscionable. We do need to take a serious look at why we allow this but are quick to ban Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. How we treat women does affect the culture.
The pendulum will swing back toward the center in due time like it always has. Change is not the enemy…..