No more prevalent has the phrase “everything you say can and will be held against you” been than now. And because of this being taken more literally now than ever, it’s caused a tremendous rift in society. While “free speech” is something all of us should respect and believe in, speaking freely has more drawbacks now than it ever did. You’ve got the old school people (sometimes me) who think that society is way too sensitive and that we should relax a little bit. And then you’ve got the over the top people who analyze every breath, whisper, and body movement to detect if a person needs to be “canceled.” The reality is that we’re probably somewhere in the middle.
I mean, do you really think that the show Archie Bunker was racist? By today’s standards it was one of the most racist shows of all-time. But back then? Back then it was seen as satire. It was seen as a show that was making fun of just how ignorant some people are. Does that make it right? It doesn’t for today. It did back then. But it also doesn’t necessarily make it wrong for that time either. For today yes, for then no.
When it comes to topics like sexual harassment, certain things people said and did 10-15 years ago was somehow acceptable. Today it can ruin a career or a life. I’m not here to say whether it was right or wrong 10-15 years ago, because that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t matter how you feel about a particular topic. What matters is that you respect how other people feel and that you adjust to where society evolves on subjects, whether you like it or not.
Frankly there’s not much any of us can do about something we said or did 10 years ago. If that indiscretion comes back to bite us in the ass today, that’s the burden we have to live with. It sucks and in many cases I don’t believe it’s warranted. But that doesn’t matter. We cannot control the society we live in. This is my point. Of course we can try to change it, and we should. However, at any given time the rules are what they are and you can either play by them and try to get your advantage, or you can not evolve and lose out. It’s that simple. People don’t think it’s that simple, but it is.
You don’t make the rules and you never will
You don’t like cancel culture? I may not either but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist. That doesn’t mean that consequences aren’t real. Agreeing or not makes no difference. It’s almost like the law. I may not agree that I should get a ticket for driving 75 miles an hour in the 55 should warrant a speeding ticket. However, if I get a speeding ticket for driving 75 mph I’m still breaking the law.
If you say something homophobic or racist today, it’s likely going to have far more repercussions than if you said something homophobic or racist 30 years ago. In both instances you may have said the exact same thing, but the results of what you said are going to differ entirely in two different time periods.
You don’t like trans culture? That’s fine and it’s your right, but don’t be surprised if you are utterly destroyed by criticism because you decided to make it known that you don’t accept that transsexuals actually exist or should be allowed to exist.
Adapt or die, it’s your choice
The reason I bring this up is because some people are just too inflexible and that’s going to be their demise. Some businesses are always going to be “stuck in their ways” and some businesses are going to adapt. Some parents are always going to be stuck in their traditional parenting ways and try to teach their kids the way they were taught no matter what’s going on in the real world. And some parents are going to pay attention to the real world and try to prepare their kids for the real world, not the one they grew up in. It’s the people and businesses who are going to continue to evolve and adapt that will make it.
Remember where you are and when you are
We live in a society where you have to think twice about what you say and do more than ever. I didn’t choose to make society this way at this very point in time. Neither did you. But that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t matter. The point is that where we are is real and it’s always real. You must be aware of this when you decide how to live. And you must also be prepared to accept the consequences no matter how much you disagree with what reality is at a given point in time.