Fundamental changes of the American Culture. Recovering from a pandemic.

Podcast Episode 021721
Published on January 26th, 2021
By: Alaskan Outlaw

It’s a brand new year, and the COVID vaccine is being distributed far and wide in an attempt to ensure that all Americans are safe from the microscopic serial killer that has traveled to every small town in the country. With a reported national death toll reaching over 480+ thousand, we suspect that this pandemic will cause fundamental changes to many of the world’s nations, and we think that some of these safeguards will become more prevalent in the American culture. With the new administration taking up the reins and driving the resolution to the pandemic through to its completion, we ponder the policy shifts that will be mandated. Although we are still being asked to social distance, and mask up, for now. We know the ultimate freedom is just months away or is it. Many private businesses are instituting their own rules in an attempt to keep their potentially recruited employees safe. While other businesses brace for what could become a financial burden impossible to carry as insurance companies begin their mastery of the whole recovery situation that most find themselves in.

Greetings my friends, family, fellow veterans, Alaskans, and Americans, wherever you are. Welcome to the Alaskan Outlaw podcast. I am the Alaskan Outlaw, and I hope to be your guide in a quest to understand, what I think, will be a fundamental change in American societies, and our culture for the foreseeable future, if not forever. Exploring the safeguards that we have used over the last year in an attempt to slow the roll of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, hopefully will give us some ideas as to the lingering effects from a cultural perspective. In addition, thinking about the effect this pandemic has had on those who want to be prepared for the uncertain future.

Let’s talk about American culture, then contrast it against other cultures from around the globe to potentially determine what the American culture might look like after we emerge from beneath the dark shadow of the pandemic of 2020. All things considered, the world has begun to shrink when it comes to the separation between peoples, and more specifically cultures of those peoples. The internet has introduced people and cultures from very diverse geographical locations to each other with the benefit of transferring some of their cultures all around the world. Every day we, here in America see imported goods, and cuisine is brought to the public. Each community has become an inclusive microcosm of the world’s cultures, obviously, much of it Americanized for public consumption.

Let’s talk about what it means to be American. Of course, there are many different definitions, depending on who you ask, so we’ll cover just a few. The other point here is that we are talking psychologically here, but there are always translations that lean either way. What is the definition of American culture?

  1. As perceived by other cultures, we can be arrogant, boastful, and loud.  We have higher expectations, even when traveling abroad.
  2. We like our personal space and can get rather touchy about being crowded.
  3. Many Americans appreciate a good handshake or a pat on the back. 
  4. We highly value freedom. Freedom to do what pleases us, and the idea that we can say what we feel without governmental oppression.

Throughout the impact of this pandemic, the second-largest topic that comes up during any discussions is our personal space. However, by no means is this the largest impact I think we’ll see going forward from the deepest, darkest corners of this pandemic.

I want to take a minute to talk about the changes that I think we’ll see throughout the next decade or so. One of the most interesting facets over the last year has been the fortunes spent on advertising the most basic of personal hygiene and “washing your hands” part of the whole prevention campaign. Essentially almost every third commercial on the television for several months is one of these PSA for a repeated attempt at getting this safety in place. How much of these practices will remain in place after this pandemic is declared over. This topic of washing hands and hand sanitizer will be equally as interesting as we (as a nation) need to find better hygiene practices. The idea that the filthy hands of a hard-working man can be quite alluring to the opposite sex, those days may be behind us now.

The next piece of the safety precautions was the mask coverings. This one is going to be interesting to watch. As many have fought against the forced approach that many communities took in an effort to keep the numbers lower. As I travel around my city I see that many individuals have adopted their masks into their fashion accessories. Whether their mask is color or fabric match their daily outfit, or many have become marketing platforms for sports teams or other merchandise. I’ve even see jewel-encrusted masks to demonstrate one’s wealth, while others support favorite charities and organizations, I’ve also seen military personnel whose mask matches their service uniform. The mask has become a part of the worldwide fashion industry. So, I think that on many social occasions we will see the mask remain a part of our daily wear for a while after the declared completion. I think there is a much bigger impact than this will have on many communities, whether we consider the impact on dating scenes, or athletic activities, or even nightly social events, or should be interesting to watch it unfold (no pun intended).

Another huge hurdle will be the following impact of social distancing. I believe this one will fade fairly quickly. As more of the population receives its dose of vaccine, the need to have body contact with others will return. I am sure of this. Whether it be those hugs that Doctor Zink wanted from her parents or bro hugs at the bar during the football game. With the economic impact on local hospitality industries, the space between tables will again shrink back to pre-COVID distances. I anticipate Gyms and other close contact activity centers, getting back in step fairly quickly. Particularly given the limited success of many primary education schools with bringing children back into the building with significant volume.

Some fears of having immunization “papers” to enter eating places, or being pulled over by the police, even the possibility of police encounters while on an evening stroll. Ridiculous. That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of fear mongers out there spreading this around. Honestly, this section will be interesting as well as there is a multitude of conspiracies surrounding vaccinations and I’m sure we’ll hear the tons of anti-vaxers coming out of the woodworks to have their 30 seconds of fame. It’s actually quite simple, as anyone who was enlisted will tell you, just another shot to go somewhere I don’t really want to.

Of all the carnage left behind by a world-wide pandemic, I would probably admit that the largest is the psychological impact. The constant threat of getting the virus and the repeated lockdowns If I had to guess were the most difficult for most people, especially those social butterflies. I’d say the uncertainty of catching COVID, and the fact that we have been lockdown for months on end may have pushed most people beyond the point of a nervous breakdown. Many governments have banned groups from getting together, and most sports have been placed on hold leading to additional stresses being placed on the psyche. This combined mental trauma that has occurred has been unprecedented for sure.

While I think that the pandemic has left a forever scar on the minds of the Earth’s inhabitants, many cultures (especially) the American culture, will thrive following the return to normal. I ponder what this pandemic will look like twenty years from now, when those children who had to convert to an online learning model, get ready to enroll in college. The socio-psychological impact of the children who had to endure a year of isolation from friends and extended family. The families destroyed by death, or by beyond-exhausted medical community personnel, who were either separated from or too exhausted to function. The lasting impact will definitely be felt for decades to come.

Another interesting facet to the recovery will be to evaluate the enduring economic impact. From diner patrons cooking at home and realizing the cost savings, the workforce’s moving to a virtual model successfully eliminating commercial floor space needed. How will it change the way America does business, especially given the service industry. The number of job losses, some may never recover, so how will America get back to work? There are already tons of opportunity throughout our communities, just got to get people fired back up. I have hope that this will spin up the American spirit, and the work will come.

No offense here, however, we have talked about unnecessary risks, and this is certainly an unnecessary risk. Use a mask, double mask depending on the location, frequently wash those hands, and maintain some distance (even outdoors). When you have the chance, get vaccinated. Why take unnecessary risks with you and your loved ones. When we talked about wearing cold-weather gear to protect us from weather injuries, or filtration systems to protect our lungs from airborne particulates, why not take a shot to prevent the virus from killing us or our loved ones.

For those who think this is some kind of worldwide conspiracy, I want you to really think long and hard about it. Why would our enemies conspire with us to promote this hoax? I have been to other countries around the world and can validate that they are under the same threat we are. It’s real guys. 

Ultimately, I believe that the world will recovery almost completely to the place that existed before the pandemic arrived on our shores. It will be stronger in some ways, and possibly a little more efficient in how it gets things done. Our social world will ultimately recover and just like the influenza virus in the early 1900s, it will subside to an annual number of individuals who either refuse to take the vaccine, or it will combine with something else like the flu does now. But, I have hope. I have faith in humans throughout the planet to be able to rise up, and once again, spread joy across the world.

As always my friends, I am humbled that you took the time to hang out with me today. I will keep all of you in my prayers and songs. Be safe, keep your head on a swivel, and be true to who you are…. peace.

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