COLUMN: Perry Bergson — March 10, 2014

Perry
Perry Bergson
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When you’re young you may hear but you don’t really understand.

Or you may be so “busy” you don’t even hear.

I was thinking about a young person in my life who seems to be drifting a bit and I wondered what I would have told them in a perfect moment.

And with the way the world has changed, would it all still be as valid?

You can argue that the world has changed more in the last 200 years than the 2,000 before that. And you can argue that the world has changed more in the last 20 years than the two centuries before that.

In truth, I wouldn’t want to be a teenager now. The world is going to change in some currently unimaginable ways, including how you make a living.

I have no clue where we’ll be in 50 years and only a mild curiosity about where the next decades will take us.

So let’s go back to my original question.

If you could sit a teenager down and really get a message across, what would it be?

• Would it be how fast the years fly by?

• Would it be how often the people most important to you go away, whether it be by death or by tiny increments until the bond is lost?

• Would it be to spend more time with the people you love the most?

• Would it be how the tiny disappointments and major regrets can eat at you?

• Would it be the danger of getting trapped in the past, in memories and events, and not living in the moment?

• Would it be how important it is to have youthful adventures but to remember that the mantle of adulthood must eventually be accepted by all?

It’s a lot of information for a young person whose brain is changing and beginning to think adult thoughts.

I remember the dark poetry that I wrote at that age and how consumed I was by my impending adulthood. I’m thankful that those years are long ago in my rearview mirror; I wouldn’t want them back even if I could have them.

I wouldn’t claim to have the wisdom of the people who have more life experience than I do but I’m in a good place.

I have all of things that mean the most to me; a great marriage, family, job and friends.

I’m a long, long ways from perfection but I guess we all are. I try to stress out less about the job and do my best to keep my distance from the mood and energy vampires that are lurking everywhere.

It took me years to accept that I would have to let go of the people and things in my life that brought me more stress than joy.

Two weeks ago I celebrated two years in Prince Albert and I can’t imagine where the time has gone.

When you’re 15 years old, 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 look like they are a lifetime away. And I guess in a way they are.

But their day will come. And I can guarantee them that it will come a whole lot quicker than they think.

As the path changes in front of them let’s hope they find their way.

 

• • • 

 

On the topic of change, it’s sometimes amazing to revisit what came before under the gaze of modern morality.

While I sometimes wonder about the level of contemporary arrogance in condemning older ideas and practices, other things seem less questionable.

That brings me to the topic of recent legislation in Arizona.

The crux of the bill was that any person or legal entity could legally not abide by a law because it interfered with their rights to practise their religion.

In it, small businesses would have been able to decline work because they disapproved of the clients.

That sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast.

What if they don’t like other races? What they if they don’t like heavier people? What if they don’t like seniors?

What if they didn’t like you?

The unspoken target was same-sex couples, which some in the increasingly radical right in the U.S. see as a major threat.

Arizona’s governor quickly vetoed the bill after major business groups in the state expressed outrage at it. They didn’t want to be painted with the broad brush of intolerance.

There was even chatter that the state might lose the Super Bowl next year if it passed.

Arizona isn’t alone. More than a dozen other states are considering or have considered similar measures, although they aren’t doing very well. The ones that do pass -- and there might not be any -- will likely be swept away by the courts.

You can agree with me on gay rights or you can disagree. In fact two respectful people can state their opposing opinions and remain friends.

We’re never all going to agree on the same ideas.

But my experience has taught me that most people want things to be fair. If your neighbour wants to do something that isn’t illegal or bothersome to you, more power to them.

I’m profoundly indifferent to the people who I don’t have some contact with; why would I judge their lifestyles when they don’t affect me?

If you can get past the hysterical reaction to the LGBT community -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender -- they are just people too. You might not like their lifestyle but if they’re not breaking into your house, who cares?

I wonder how this topic will look to historians in 100 years. Will it be considered another struggle for civil rights -- like the African-American community in the United States went through -- or will it be seen as a vocal minority with an agenda?

I know which side of that issue I fall on and I know that there are no shortage of people who disagree with me in Prince Albert.

Fair enough. But I have a hunch that history will be on my side.

 

Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca

 

Organizations: Daily Herald

Geographic location: Arizona, Prince Albert, United States

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