Change is frightening.
Sure, it can be exciting proposing or planning for change, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the actual act of change, it’s scary as hell. In fact, for some the prospect of change is so frightening, they’d rather face the prospect of hell — but that’s another column for another time.
Think about, for example, moving. You can plan for a move. You can be excited about the move — maybe it’s to a bigger or nicer living condition — but when it comes to moving day, there are realizations that things are never going to be the same.
There’s the immediate issue of the change that you’re going through — the moving itself — to deal with, but there’s also the pending anxiety of everything else that is going to happen.
Many people spend their entire lives padding out dens of comfort that shield them from change simply because they can’t handle the thought of it.
And, when confronted with that change, those people often react harshly because they’re being confronted with the one thing they’d rather avoid.
Here’s the big kicker though — change is inevitable.
And, boy, are we facing a lot of change now. Politically, socially and economically, the way things “were” are not the way things are going to be anymore and perhaps that’s why our current discourse is so fraught.
And part of the issue is that, I believe that, very often when we look at the past to establish the baselines, we’re looking through “rose-colored glasses.”
I’m not quite astute enough to be able to say exactly where this period of change will end up — which of the parties, individuals and groups currently vying for the opportunity to guide our society will take control. But what is assured is that change is going to happen — big change.
One thing I think that will help us move forward is if we remove our “rose-colored glasses” and take a real look at our history.
Several years ago, as this period of change began to get underway, I can remember that there was a some tension in my home community of Pikeville over the direction the community was headed. There was a large number of people who wanted things to return to “the way they used to be,” and abandoned progress that was proposed at that time.
I get that pull to return to the past. But I also had a thought at that time — growing up in Pikeville when you weren’t part of the elite or rich “back in the day” wasn’t always easy. Don’t get me wrong, I had an incredible childhood, but I have to be honest, I don’t have the same memories some of these people did of the “good old days.”
I am a conservative in many ways. I believe progress can and should happen but it should never be at the cost of foundational or fundamental aspects of our society. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that we’ve ever fully lived up to some of those foundational or fundamental aspects that we espouse — such as liberty and equality.
But I also recognize that change happens and it will sweep under those who are unable to adjust to its demands. I hope that some of my fellow United States citizens who lean more toward the conservative side can adjust as well, and hold the lashing out and violent reactions until they understand exactly what’s going on and what it means for our future.
After all, the direction changes regularly. We’ve just got to make sure the flow doesn’t pull us under.