When Perspective and Ideology Diverge…

Imagine, for a moment, that you are ten years old and lying in a hospital bed. The kid in the bed next to you is eight and you are watching the life drain out of him. In less time than it takes to slip a face covering on the life had evaporated out of your eight year old bunk mate. For some, that sounds like a scene from a movie, to me that was my youth.

Peter was an eight year old who had contracted polio almost five years after the introduction of the vaccine (2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the polio vaccine). He contracted polio from a family down the street who hadn’t bothered to vaccinate their kids. Peter paid the price because the system was so sure polio was being eradicated now that a vaccine existed. Unfortunately there were still people who couldn’t accept the idea of vaccinations, that same type of mentality that keeps people from wearing masks today. These are the memories that I built my belief system on and includes practicing “responsible” behaviour when it comes to threatening other peoples health.

Flash forward almost sixty year and we are inundated with another health pandemic, COVID19. In less than six months Canada has experienced over 8800 deaths to date and climbing. The world has over 603,000 deaths and yet we continue to ignore such a simple action that could cut down those deaths numbers by who knows how much. WEAR A MASK! It’s really that simple. You don’t need to just accept my word, check the World Health Organization (WHO) for current figures. Take the political ideology out of the spin numerous politicians are using to make this a political issue and not a health reality. This is where perspective comes into play. Are you a sheeple or a rationally thinking individual who is truly concerned for your neighbour.

I do my best to be open minded and supportive of everyone’s right to personal choice. However I am also very aware of the threats to others who may not enjoy the privilege many attending the “anti-mask protest” in Calgary today do. You can do what you want but when what you do threatens other then you are infringing on their rights to a safe environment. I have about as much patiences for those refusing to wear face coverings as I do antivaxxers, drunken drivers, or street racers.

I will never regret getting older. I know too many people who never had that privilege

I had too many childhood friends who never got past childhood because other people made choices that cost my friends their lives. They never had the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of “aging”. And they never enjoyed that privilege because so many others felt they knew better. Our healthcare system was no where as refined as it is today so many of these deaths would be averted today because of a change in perspective. We, at least for now, live in a time where we respect science and facts. Contrary to what many “leaders” would have you believe this is a “health crisis”, not a “political rally”.

We have the tools we need to beat COVID19 or at least keep it in check. We don’t need a repeat of the Spanish Flu which cost almost 50 million lives however everyone has a role to play. The inconvenience of wearing a mask is a lot easier to handle than picking out a coffin. For god sake people we live in Calgary and I don’t see a lot of people complaining about face coverings on a -25 cold winter day.

This continual flow of misinformation on the “non” issues of having your face covered all day is crap. Nobody is insisting you spend your life in a mask just when you go into a busy public place. You know, as well as I do, that there are limits to “social distancing” so use the common sense whoever you believe granted you and wear a frigging mask. Why do you think we have drunk and driving laws? To protect the innocent, the mask is no different. If you are that concerned over your rights think about those people who never got to experience those rights because of the neglect of others.

Yes this pisses me off. I survived polio, a lot of my childhood friends didn’t. Contrary to what you might like to think you are NOT the centre of the universe, show some of that “compassion” I keep hearing about and think of those around you. If you had put as much energy and thought into wearing a mask in the first place we wouldn’t still be having this discussion. Perspective people, think about it. Take the ideology out of it and use some perspective. COVID19 isn’t the real problem, your refusal to fight it is…

For any hanging around that protest who agrees with the simplicity of wearing a “mask” grab some pictures with that fancy phone. Post a few and identify those you know, shame is easier to deal with than death. Post them, put them on your Facebook page (that seems to be how democracy works these days), “Oh I read it on Facebook, it must be real”, grow up and fact check. If you post them hashtag them #WearAMask, I’d rather see my picture on a hashtag than in a nice portrait above a coffin…

Thanks for reading, now show me you are listening…

The New Extended Family – Facebook

People that know me know what a techie freak I am.  Since I am from the border generation (those over 55) people tell me I am an anomaly when it comes to technology with many of my friends coming to me for advice in regards to their computer issues.  And for the uninitiated, the world of computers has as many specialities as health care.  Just because somebody is very good using Word (as an example) does not mean they are a techie.

A computer to them is kind of like a car to me.  I can strip down my computer, install new audio or video cards, put in extra memory, reset or create new settings, etc etc.  If I were so inclined I could access your computer, record your keystrokes and you wouldn’t even know I was there.  The only thing I can do with my car is use the ignition key, make sure it’s kept fuelled and take it in for its regular maintenance.

With that said your computer requires maintenance as well and can be just as dangerous as a car if you don’t know what you are doing.  It can also be a useful as your car when it comes to getting things done and staying in touch with people.

When I was a kid dad would pile us in the car and off we would go to see relatives, yes relatives, members of our extended family.  In today’s day and age you wouldn’t throw the car keys at your kid and tell them to go for a drive without first making sure they were prepared.  The same is true when it comes to technology, proper preparation to computer use and social media is definitely a requirement.

Because I went back to school in 2004 to complete a two year program on e-commerce and business application in a digital world I was able to access Facebook in its very early days.  When it was first released in Feb of 2004 initially it was only available to university students so I have been at it coming up to ten years.  It has been continually morphing since its inception to what it is today.  From my perspective it has become an excellent tool to help maintain the concept of the extended family, something that has been under erosion for the past thirty years.

Lets face it we are a much more portable society today then we were forty years ago.  My family is spread from one side of Canada to the other.  I have relatives and friends all over the world.  Facebook is my primary tool when it comes to maintaining contact with friends or family.  I understand the importance of that extended family so Facebook has done wonders in maintaining that.  The other tool, Skype, has brought a whole new world to long distance grand-parenting.

So when I see a story like the one yesterday about the declining interest in Facebook, it makes me think of a number of things.  However right at the top of the list is how little importance parents over 35 years of age appear to be putting on the concept of the extended family.  What are we teaching our kids?

When I see a young lady on the news (she was probably around 16) telling the world she is leaving Facebook because her generation uses other forms of social media like Instagram, Tumblr, or any other of like programs which should be anybodies option.  However lets do it for the right reasons.  She went on to say she wants to hear from her friends on how good she looks in that picture or how cool her current activity is.  What she doesn’t want to hear is from some uncle or aunt telling her how much she looks like her mother.

I can appreciate her need for affirmation from her peers but I do hope that is not her only avenue for praise.  To me that is frightening.  But it also tells me that she has no concept of the extended family my generation grew up with.  Facebook has the potential to keep that extended family concept alive and well but when you have teenage users who don’t understand that I have to question the parenting.  What are you teaching your children?

I think people have the right to use whatever tools they so desire as long as others are not being hurt.  But when they fail to recognize the full potential of that tool then someone, somewhere has dropped the ball.  Seeing Facebook solely as a way to receive affirmation over your looks or activities is really very shallow which seems to be the direction our society is taking.  Pigeon holing Facebook as a dying social media because some relative you haven’t seen in years shares a family thought with you does not make it useless.  Limiting the scope of the potential of Facebook is right up there with spending $500 on Photoshop so you can scan pictures.

Not understanding the scope of a tool like Facebook is an indication that parents have even less understanding of it than their children.  Facebook has become the biggest contributor to the concept of extended families we have seen in over thirty years.  And parents, if you are serious about your kids growing up to be responsible contributing members of society then learn a little about the tools your kids are using.

Just one man’s opinion!