Monday, June 28, 2021

Dan Rather's Views on AIDS will now probably be true for Covid Survivors

It was a late night in 1994 when I was driving myself from LAX home to West Hollywood. Mark had recently passed away, and my friends were dying at a truly staggering rate. I remember because it was one of those perfect LA nights. Cool, after a hot summer day. Driving home at around 11PM, windows down, radio up very little traffic on the 405.


And that was when Dan Rather spoke on an editorial that changed my mindset.

Dan said, I am paraphrasing: Dan's team did not have the actual recording when I asked them. He said, What we do not know is how this will change an entire generation of gay men. Do they give up? Do they change their worldly priorities? Is the work / friend / life balance change? We will find out in the coming years.

And, it did change for us, not just us "gays", but everyone who had to live through death and pain and collective grieving.

We became more compassionate but also more demanding of acceptance and respect. Most of us changed to living a bit more and working a bit less. Many decided (and are following through) with retiring earlier.

And now, the world has gone through something very similar. 600,000 dead in American from COVID touches a lot of lives. And we are beginning to see some changes throughout the country. Jobs that were okay before, are not acceptable now. People want a different balance. A year of not leaving your home, not seeing friends reminds you of what is important. And non-stop work pressure isn't it. 

The pandemic of 1918 - 1919 brought on the roaring 20s. In the United States it was a time of hedonism, rule braking and speak easys. People moved around, unionized and enjoyed themselves. The piety-bound of the day passed Prohibition, leading to a wholesale breaking of the law.

I don't know what our 2020s will bring, but I am interested in seeing it. And, it is interesting seeing the world move a bit towards my priorities veiwpoint.

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