Future Shock is Here

When I was a girl, Alvin Toffler wrote FUTURE SHOCK, which made me aware of the disconnect that can occur when you get too much change in too short an amount of time. I watched my parents struggle with new innovations, first VHS and later DVDs. My father died before the ‘ i ‘s and ‘ e ‘s arrived, never seeing a personal computer, listening to an iPad, or reading an eBook. My mother was battling her way through until it all got to be too much. Now when something doesn’t work or needs reprogramming, she phones one of her children or grandchildren. Soon she’ll have to rely on the younger ones and my siblings, as the new technology is quickly passing me by.

I have never used a smart phone, instead sticking with my old dumb one because I know how to make it work and I don’t want to be less intelligent than my phone. I don’t understand the difference between an iPad and a mini-laptop with a disconnecting keyboard. I can’t Twitter, I can barely Facebook, and I don’t know if I have any Pinterest. Like my mother before me, I’ll be relying on my granddaughter to get me through each new step into the future until it all becomes too much for me and I settle for whether the ‘darn thing’ turns on or not.

So it is with some understanding, if not sympathy, that I will watch those people of Minnesota who worked so long and hard to keep marriage only between heterosexuals, struggle with their new way of life. Their churches are surely up in arms, the self-closeted among them sending up the loudest lamentations. Public businesses will have to treat their customers without discrimination, a right they’ve never had, yet hold most dear. The fun is over, and there will now be consequences for their hateful acts.

Because I don’t for one minute believe that they’ll stop exhibiting the ugly, discriminating, belittling bullying that defines their interaction with LGBTers. They’ve been doing it for far too long to give it up over night. A deep resentment will grow with each new arrest and lawsuit, and fester with each conviction and reparation payment.

Backlash will occur, as sure as spring follows winter. New Yorkers are living through the proof of my statement as this is published. This last week there were a string of attacks and a cold blooded murder, all obvious hate crimes aimed at LGBT people. Blood is being spilled in the war for equality; freedom from fear will be hard won.

In response to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage do I think there will be hate crimes committed against gays here in Minnesota, where Nice is the state’s middle name? Maybe. We’ll have to keep our eyes and ears open, protect each other as we always have, and be vigilant against hatred. This seems to be the classic ‘two steps forward, one step back’ pattern during social change, and I doubt Minnesotans will be much different.

Although I hope with all my heart that I’m wrong about that. If there’s any state in the union where it’s possible that spring won’t follow winter, it’s Minnesota.

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