The last time I saw a movie in a theater had been almost three years ago. Yesterday, finally, my wife and I returned to the theater for our favorite five buck Tuesday date. We sat, at the edge of our seats, through Top Gun Maverick. It felt good. It felt normal, almost. Remember when this whole Covid-19 thing was going to inconvenience us for a few weeks, maybe a few months at most?
Here we are two and a half years later. Some things are back to normal. Some aren’t. Some might never be. I could say the world has changed, and many will profess that very sentiment, but the truth is we changed. We have changed the way we do so many things. We have changed the processes. Many of us have changed the way we socialize, where we socialize. Most of us have come through this with a different outlook. For some, more positive. For others, more negative.
The pandemic has challenged our perception of freedom. It has made some of us demand our rights, while sadly, being willing to suppress the rights of others. We have always seemed to be a divided nation, but the pandemic seemed to push us even further apart. It seemed to focus our anger and then the isolation seemed to cause us to direct that anger outward, and often at the wrong people.
We have so many issues to deal with as a nation. Equal rights, not just for a few but for everyone, black or white, male or female, gay or straight. Climate change, whether you want to call it global warming or just admit that the climate is in fact being changed by our very behavior, our insatiable desire for everything fast and convenient, for our unwillingness to pay the price of doing it right. For common sense gun laws to protect us from ourselves. And please don’t tell me its the bad guys that have all the guns even as you tell teachers to arm themselves against the next potential attack. Why are we not dealing with these issues? Why are we at the very least, still dragging our feet. How has Congress become so isolated from the reality of who it is they are supposed to represent. When did it become only about the party and the money it took to get them elected? When did they forget that they are supposed to represent us? When did we all get so distracted?
I will not blame everything that’s wrong on the pandemic. It only focused things in an all too often negative light. I will also not blame a lone individual for everything that doesn’t work out my way. I will leave that last one to politicians and their political ads that attack and blame while offering no solutions or the plans needed to implement them. I will, however, hold people responsible for their actions, whether they directly impacted it through their involvement or just incited it by their rhetoric.
The solutions to our nation’s problems, our world’s problem, start with our own actions. If we want equality for all, then let’s start treating each other as equals. Let’s see the person, not their color, their sex, or their religion. And if we want to slow down or maybe even one day stop global climate change, then let’s each agree to do our part. Recycle, reuse, maybe pay a little more for products made with our environment’s well-being in mind. Let’s do business with businesses that take steps to protect the environment. And let’s speak with our votes. If the candidate is living in reality denial, has no solutions, is unwilling to compromise for the good of the nation, for us, then we vote them out. We are far more powerful than we think. And when we act together, we can become a force for change.
It might have been serendipitous that the first movie I saw after that long pandemic break, was one chock full of testosterone, speed, and comradery, but it seems it was the nudge I needed to break out of my latest episode of writer’s block. Just one more step toward normal.