EDITOR’S NOTE – DON’T SELL THEM SHORT

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As COVID gradually recedes and leaves us to assess the damage and rebuild, I can’t help feeling that the traditional media will be there – as it always is – selling us the story of doom and gloom which has been their one-wood for so long now.

Yes, it’s inevitable that unemployment will be up. Many people, if they haven’t already, will lose their current jobs and livelihoods, businesses and even industries will likely fail, and in the short-term at least, opportunities may be severely curtailed.

I particularly feel for young people who are already having it drummed into them that their future is grim and their potential has been cruelly clipped like wings that haven’t yet had the chance to even fully extend.

Well I’m calling BS here and now.

I know I technically work in the media, but let’s be real, this is The Westsider, a community-run, social enterprise media platform, it’s hardly News Corp. None of us here are beholden to mega-corporations, and we can remain as impartial as we are independent. Neither do we need to sell the ‘society can’t afford it, user pays’ myth to the working class, as we do not own or have ‘significant interests’ in the systems and infrastructure that the wealthy so desperately want others to pay for and help boost their profits.

The negative messages that ‘big media’ broadcast daily about how our recovery will unfold over the coming months and years shouldn’t necessarily be seen as “truth” – how can they be if none of it has happened yet? It’s all conjecture until the day comes when we can look back, reflect, analyse and cast judgement, until then all these messages do is under-sell the younger generation’s resilience.

I’ve seen this before – my generation allowed themselves to be conned too. When I was a kid I had it drummed into me that I wasn’t special, so inevitably the key takeaway from my classic Gen-X upbringing was that I wasn’t worthy. It felt a bit harsh at the time, but no doubt it helped me develop a clear perspective and healthy resilience. Then through my early working career all I heard was how I had to be a ‘winner’ and escape the ‘rat race’. What did that even mean? Who knows, but it sold papers and TV advertising, and gave me yet another thing to stress about, work my way through, and eventually rise above, at least in terms of my own self-worth if not my bank balance.

Similarly, today’s young people will also prove far more resilient than we give them credit for. We haven’t given them the chance to show it yet, considering they aren’t allowed to roam far and wide after school or dodge cars playing games in the street.

Let’s not sell them a pup too, we can and will return to some sort of positive state, and the power of optimism will be a factor in how it looks and how long it takes.

In the meantime let’s just offer them that message instead.

Derek Green,
Managing Editor, The Westsider

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