Decade by Decade – True Change is Slow

Approaching my first New Eve’s middle of the century

Yes that little lump of flesh was me on my first New Years. That year was also the decade that marked the halfway point of the 20th century. I now measure societal advances by the decade rather than the year. A year doesn’t really provide a long enough period to gauge change. Decades, on the other hand, tell us more about how we are advancing from a social anthropological point of view.

Now seven decades later (I’m older than most of the “orphan wells” we have sitting around the province) we are into the third decade of the 21st century. We are well into a decade where we welcome in the newest generation of voters, the Alpha Generation (known as the iGeneration) to the voting pool. This generation will be the new voting force by 2025 and will represent almost 2 billion people worldwide. Why is this important? This is the generation who will be impacted the most by whatever “post-pandemic economy” comes about and they will vote accordingly. Again, it will take a good decade to fully see how this will affect politics, not only in Alberta or Canada but the world in general.

Anyway that is yet to materialize but, for now, let’s briefly review our history. I have engaged with too many Millennials of late who know little of the history that has brought us to this decade while showing little interest in understanding the details. Those “little” details are important so one can tap into the demographics of where their voter base falls.

Where are you? Which generation? Keep in mind this chart was produced in 2005, almost a complete voting cycle between generations.

Where do you fall? Where does your history begin? How aware are you of what has brought you here and where all of those protections you take for granted come from? I can tell you because I lived most of them.

There are now more voters who never know life before the Charter or the massive advances in technology than the generations who actually fought for those advances. As a life-long activists, I experienced the effort that went into the fight for rights.

The only way to survive with a disability in my life-time meant being aware of policies and regulations that supported “ware-housing” the disabled rather than integrating us into the community. We had to fight for those rights and I’ll be damned if anyone thinks I will “go quietly into the night” while watching the erosion of fifty years of my battles. “Rights” are only as effective as your knowledge to make them work. I don’t have time, anymore for reinventing the wheel, so maybe it is time people started paying attention to “details’ rather than being led astray by “optics”.

Your trauma is valid.  Even if other people have experienced "worse".  Even if someone else who went through the same experience doesn't feel debilitated by it.  Even if it "could have been avoided".  Even if it happened a long time ago.  Even if no one knows.  Your trauma is real and valid and you deserve a space to talk about it.  It isn't desperate or pathetic or attention seeking.  It's self-care...nothing and no one can take that away.  Quote by Daniell Koepke
Trauma is perspective and how we deal with trauma is personal.

I have decided to make 2022 the year of storytelling. Short tales of how my perception of issues came from living them. It took me almost fifty years to come to the realization that “lasting” change requires decades and doesn’t happen overnight, despite what social media would have you believe.

It has taken us decades to get to where we are today. A true understanding of “change” requires decades, not weeks. This pandemic has brought us to a pivotal period in this decade and the future of those yet to come will be affected more than previous generations. Before we go ahead making changes that will probably take decades to fully appreciate, let’s first make sure we understand our most recent history. Knowing how we got here can only strengthen what steps we take next.

If you would like to be part of a solution check out a relatively new organization, the “Alberta Activists Collective“, a place to learn and participate in social justice. Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum however as those people that fought for the rights many take for granted, we need a new generation of to step forward as the new “change-makers” of today. Check out the Collective and consider being part of the process…

Happy New Year.

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