Saturday, August 21, 2021

Back to Work: Changing Focus

 In two weeks, Labor Day weekend will be here and Summer will unofficially end. For me, and I suspect for many Americans, this vacation season was something of a reckoning.  The pandemic gave too many of us a feeling that life was at a standstill.  So many times, we were told that hopes and dreams, even responsibilities, had to be put off until a single, nasty virus was wrangled into submission by modern medicine.  For a few short months, it even seemed like life would follow that plan and go back to normal.  Except it didn't. 

At the same time that we dealt with a new unknown, the World was given a gift.  Some of us took this time to reevaluate the direction of our lives and how cultural mores warp our vision of the future. Now, even as leadership and media tells us otherwise, people are beginning to understand COVID was never more than a naturally occurring illness that has been a part of the world since the beginning of time.  Like all pandemics, this one has highlighted the weaknesses in civilization and taught the world lessons it would not have otherwise learned.  The bottom line is that we are human but we are not invincible. Nature is the ruler here and we must remember that. Understanding our individual place in this mix has great potential for improving human existence globally but for now we must focus on chipping away at what doesn't work here and now.

It does not take a psychic to see a change of focus is in the offing for the months and years to come. There will certainly be political posturing implying effective handling of this situation that was, and still is, out of our control. There will be businesses that come to a sudden and sad end leaving their owners heartbroken and financially wounded. There will be fewer products to buy and higher prices for them. To be expected, public health advocates will want to mandate masks and vaccines for every illness and, sadly, the medical community will side with them rather than admit their miscalculations during this crisis.  It is not surprising that the media never focused on those who adapted and kept this country going? How do the resilient millions who quietly paid their bills, managed their jobs, fed themselves and battled the disease feel about politicians and journalists who still focus on the emotional upheaval it created? What does that say about American values? Is a change of focus in order?

With Summer ending, there will be time to attend to the everyday details of life. People will begin to see the slight increases in bills for no apparent reason as companies change their policy to force customers into paying higher costs.  Food shortages will continue as product lines are cut  and distribution goes to large companies rather than small local suppliers.  Gasoline and heating costs will go up as climate advocates seek to limit production on natural gas and other fossil fuels. And, of course there will be the social guilt and petty penalties for refusing the unapproved and barely tested vaccines which would not be allowed on the market under normal circumstances. As families realize their stimulus payments are being eaten up by the need for corporate profits, the ultimate response may not be reluctant compliance but strong and stubborn defiance settling into a basic and hearty distrust of American leadership. 

This pandemic was a gift to the World--a chance to see society for the economically motivated system it has become.  Now it is time to make use of that gift and change the focus of what is important. Question higher prices. Shop local small businesses whenever you can and tell the owner when something isn't right?  Buy quality instead of junk and build wealth, not only by paying down debt but by refusing to be herded into services that have no long term gains.  Look for alternatives and stand up to the quilt and pressure of those who want your business for their benefit instead of your satisfaction.  A change of focus is just what is needed and it is time to say goodbye to getting back to "normal". 

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