Wide Awake, but not Woke

I’m wide awake… but I’m not “woke”. That’s not even grammatically correct. Frankly, I find the latest trends to be a joke…
an insult to my intelligence, my compassion, and my life experience.

Our country, our culture, has lost some pride, some purpose… I travel plenty, and chat with people from all over the globe, because I am kind and friendly. I am honestly embarrassed by the perception of our nation and the current shift in philosophy, this new pattern of blame, shame, entitlement, disrespect, violence.  We are the great United States, a melting pot of cultures, of pioneers, of adventurers. Not whiners! I have deep concerns about our future generation… their work ethic, their compassion for ALL others, and their perspective on what’s right, and what’s relevant… 

My parents raised me to be kind, inclusive, to work hard, to helps others, to respect others, and to keep private things private. “Treat everyone with dignity.” It’s simple… I taught my kids the same… be kind to EVERYONE, work hard, play hard, make friends, love your family, be pleasant to strangers, take care of your health, stay fit, … be unapologetically the best you can be.

When I pick up a magazine, or watch a show now, I am now bombarded with violence (I’ll touch on that heavy topic last) and a skewed representation of our society. Firstly, I am frightened that our media is promoting people who are dangerously overweight, obese, in their campaigns to sell clothes and products. Mind you, I grew up with Kate Moss as a fashion model icon, and that was the other dangerous extreme – bordering anorexia, pushing unhealthy body imagery. Now we have this “fat-itude” on the covers of fashion mags, celebrating plus-sizing and under-exercising. I don’t think it’s wise to champion being oversized… what happened to the medically-backed message that carrying extra weight (excess BMI) is not healthy for one’s heart? Heart disease is the number killer in our country, not Covid – for which we had mandated vaccines without knowing its consequences. Why aren’t we warning people of the grave dangers of being overweight, eating unhealthy foods, and not exercising?

The LGBTQ+ movement has also been over-played IMHO- In My Humble Opinion. Hooray for gay, it’s great, and I love that people no longer feel they need to hide their feelings. But, I don’t need to know about your sexual preference, habits, or your “pronoun preference” in your email salutation. Do we seriously need to attach this private personal detail to every communication? Besides, “THEY” is plural… and I am not going to call “you” “they” just because “you” want attention, making a deal of your homosexuality, bisexuality, gayness, non-binary, trans, pan, thrupledom, polyamory, whatever. Not relevant, and also not grammatically correct. I shall call you by your name, and respect you – period. You do not need to gays-plain your sexual activities to me.

A 2022 Gallup finds 7.1% of U.S. population as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something other than straight or heterosexual. Interesting, right? Did you think it was higher, based on what we see in our media daily? True that the percentage has doubled since Gallup first started measuring LGBT identification in 2012, but still – its less than 10% – and our media focuses on it as if it is 30% !

Ad campaigns and TV shows now often feature as many or more blacks than whites – which is a significant shift. Our country’s best athletes, musicians, politicians, designers, the list goes on, are black – a wonderful important part of our culture, the fabric of our nation – let’s continue to recognize and celebrate that.  Blacks are 13.6% of our US Population. Meanwhile, Hispanic/Latino in the US has increased to 18.9%, while White population is on the decline – but still 59%. I merely ask for a bit more balanced representation based approximately on population. And I ask that we not be so color-conscious, judgy, biased, Black-White-Asian-Hispanic-Gay, we are equal. Let’s not go back in time to racism and divisiveness. Dear Disney, Ariel the Little Mermaid is – and always will be to me – a redhead with fair skin (due to her time underwater). Did you know gingers are the 1% and we are frankly endangered? Also, Snow White is…well…white!

Lastly, and I’ll end my rant… our media and Hollywood need to stop promoting violence! Stop displaying violent crime scenes over and over again (fictitious or factual). The news and Hollywood are sensationalizing shootings, and profiting from violent movies and videos games. The result: desensitizing our youth, our population! TV, movies, video games are encouraging horrific behavior, by airing this, with no accountability. I hold the media producers, players and actors, responsible. I believe we are seeing serial copycat crimes, repeat mass-victim shootings, because of this media spotlight and glorification. Wanna be famous? Here’s your ticket to be TOTALLY seen with a semi-automatic. We need gun reform. Absolutely! We need mental health awareness and increased counseling (in schools, churches, law enforcement, hospitals). Absolutely! But such programs and efforts will take time to make an impact. Meanwhile if we could stop promoting guns and killings in our everyday culture, that might curb violent conduct among future generations.

This is my opinion, I am entitled to my opinion, and my freedom of speech, that’s all I feel “entitled” to.
Don’t tell me “you can’t say that”… see The First Amendment.

Let’s refocus our attention…from “woke” to wake up and return to basic principles, common decency which is no longer “common.”
Kindness, respect, and dignity for all. Pride and patriotism, a “we’re all in this together” mentality.
How about, “how can I make this world better?” versus, “here’s what the world owes me!
Use the manners your mom taught you, and if she or he didn’t, then be better, rise up and improve your next-gen!

Do your job, do your best, be kind to everyone (unless “they” prove unworthy). Take care of you and yours, be your best self, and leave the world a better place. We are blessed with limited, but meaningful, time on this awesome, beautiful planet!

Or, if you don’t wish to salute our flag, consider finding another.

Less attitude, more gratitude! 

Thank you for listening to me…
with love,
mom, daughter, sister, friend, spouse (see what I did there?), world-traveler, travel journalist, lover of our country & our planet

Footnote: My kids both called me upon reading this (within a few hours – I didn’t know they read my work), taking issue with the points I have made here. Well, at least my kids call me.