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THE AGE OF PUSHBACK

In the past several years, I’ve been somewhat disturbed by what appears to be an alarming trend.

This trend always involves people, information and questionable decision-making.

The scenarios are too numerous to count, but for our purposes here, let’s just focus on natural disasters and what we’ve seen on TV. It involves hurricanes targeting the Carolinas, wildfires scorching almost any part of California and volcanos erupting in Hawaii.

The scenarios are always devastating and life-threatening. Forget about the certainty of mere property damage, we’re talking about human lives that are often hanging in the balance. You can get another computer or big screen TV, but you once you’re killed by a tornado, you’re definitely down for the count. You’re done.

I was just watching a meteorologist explain that a hurricane is moving toward the Carolinas where both state and federal officials are telling people to evacuate the coastal region.

In short, they’re saying, “GET OUT!”

Look … meteorologists and state and federal officials are not perfect people. Like all of us, they can be wrong, but when an informed professional tells me to “GET OUT!” I’m going to get the heck out of dodge. This is not a movie. It’s real.

Officials aren’t trying to be cute when they send out these warnings. They’re trying to prevent the loss of human lives. In fact, one of the federal officials sent me scrambling for my keyboard here when he stated that as a culture, we’ve lost our ability to be prepared.

If that’s not a stinging indictment, I don’t know what is.

“I’m staying here,” I heard one guy tell a reporter while standing outside his home. “Everything I own is in my house!” “It’s all I’ve got!”

We all understand what that man meant, but at what point do we decide that LIFE is really all we’ve got? When do we cut bait with things and focus on survival?

It seems that we’re living in what I’m calling, “The Age of Pushback.” We’re living during a time when we feel we’re getting too much, relentless information from too many sources. It’s constantly coming at us like bats out of hell and we’re simply overwhelmed.

As a result, rather than processing this information and using it for our best outcome, we’re literally shutting down, becoming stubborn and pushing back. That’s if we’re not putting our fingers in our ears and humming some childish tune.

Years ago, I recall reading aloud the results of a health study to a relative. It was an important study published by a reputable publication. After reading the report, my relative said …

“Oh … I don’t believe that!”

“What’s there to not believe?” I replied. They’re simply telling you what they found after studying this for years!”

These days, it feels as if we’re pushing back on things that come from the most reliable of sources while completely falling for the conjecture of con artists.

It feels like a reality show smackdown. The Age of Enlightenment versus the Dark Plague. They’re locked in battle and rolling around on the wrestling floor for dominance.

Not too long ago, I saw an interview with Melinda Gates in which she expressed the importance of data. Paraphrasing here, she stated that data is extremely important because it helps us figure out what to do and where to go next.

Data doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Data is US. We need data to figure out who we currently are and how to continue to live.

However, we’re currently experiencing major hostility toward data and people who report and share it. When people hear something they don’t want to hear, what’s the first thing they do?

They kill the messenger.

In some cases, journalists are literally losing their lives, but more often than not, folks who provide and distribute information often deal with a more subtle form of murder.

They are mocked, discredited and demonized. They’re called liars and creators of “Fake News.”

When Paul Revere – according to legend anyway – went on his famous gallop shouting, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” was he just doing that as a prank? Was he just seeking the limelight?

Don’t you wonder what might have happened had the people who got word from Revere gave him push back?

“Oh Paul, please! Yeah, we know. We’ve heard it all from you before! Whatever. Go have a seat please!”

Had that happened, we might not even be sitting here having this conversation. Fortunately, the people back then were wise. They trusted Revere and got their butts in gear.

That’s the whole point of information … to help us get our butts in gear.

If you had to choose, isn’t it better to have too much information than too little? Yes, it’s both a moral and philosophical argument, but isn’t it also very practical? Regardless of debate, the problem isn’t going away.

Pushback is a symptom of apathy and lack of vision. Yes, some pushback is good. We don’t want to take everything at face value. We should question information and its sources. Yes, some information CAN be pure propaganda and just plain wrong. However, for the most part, information from reliable sources CAN be trusted.

Reliable sources can be dicey, but so is a volcano spitting lava on your back patio.  

I really think this age of pushback is also a by-product of the “Disney-fication” of America. Reality is hard. Reality is sweaty and bloody. Reality can be a drag. Isn’t it better to have fantasy? Wouldn’t you prefer a cartoon dream over a raging wildfire?

Aren’t we nearly obsessed with trying to shield ourselves from the realities of life? This is where the value of fantasy really kicks in.

Fantasy helps us pushback. If you don’t like what you’re seeing and hearing, just get defiant. Dig in your heels and pushback. Call it “fake news.”

With that, don’t worry. You’ll be fine! Just hop on board the pushback train. After all, everybody is doing it. Pushback is more than a trend. It’s a way of life.

What? Hurricane? “Oh … HURRICANE, SHMURRICANE!”

You know how they exaggerate.



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