I have a brain that’s somewhat at war with itself. It has two very different ways of looking at the world.
As a teacher of Social Studies I made Current Events a priority for my students. Being well informed about what’s going on in your province, country and world is extremely important, I told them. I kept hammering home that democracy--the only protection for the freedoms we enjoy--requires an informed population and cannot exist where ignorance is too widespread. Ignorance supported by disinformation is a major weapon used by dictators to brainwash their subjects.
Now I’m not primarily a political writer but it’s impossible to write about a variety of subjects without running into social issues. And the many ways people, and groups of people, differ on those issues. So Current Events is still of vital importance to me. “Current” means “now”, not the past or future.
That’s one side of my brain and I spend a lot of time trying to soak up enough news and commentary and fact-checking to keep me in tune with the current--the present.
The other side of my brain, however, is rooted in the past, the old, the traditional. I’m very fond of playing, singing and listening to music. But the names I know of all the current batch of singers, bands and their songs I could write on a square inch piece of paper. I could, though, tell you a lot about Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Carl Perkins, Kitty Wells and dozens more of singers from the 1940s to 1970s. And I can remember the words and melodies of hundreds of songs from that era.
Same with movie stars and comedians. How many of my readers, I wonder, remember Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and many more from those same years.?
I have books about steam tractors, grain separators, Western Canada before Confederation and shortly thereafter, biographies of many famous Canadians and others, and fiction by Canadians, Americans and 19th century English authors.
And I worked hard to make my students realize that it’s also important to know enough about history, to understand the world we came from in order to know how we got here and what that means for our future.
The old and the new. I need to know about both. Do you?
Poor antivaxxers. Barred from so many necessary and fun-filled wonderful places without presenting proof of vaccination. Shouldn’t it just be the backward, undemocratic nations where people are made to show pass cards? Next thing you know they’ll make you get a licence card before you can drive your car. Or medical clinics will make you show a “health card” to see a doctor. Or proof of certain vaccines to board a plane to go to many countries.
Oh, wait, we have to do that now, have had to do all those things for many decades.
“What? Why didn’t our parents and grandparents march and scream about giving up their freedoms to allow those things?
And now they tell us many of us wouldn’t be alive and healthy today without the vaccines we got as kids at school. The ones that destroyed smallpox, diptheria, tuberculosis, measles, polio and other diseases that killed and crippled multimillions in early generations. Look how they’re trying to make us feel guilty. Whatever happened to my freedom to do whatever the hell I want?”
Poor antivaxxers. Such terrible sufferings to endure. Has any other generation had to go through as much trouble to fight for their freedoms as they have? Any other generation? Hmmm…let’s think about that.