Tempo Editor Lynne Robinson

Lynne Robinson, Tempo Editor, Taos News

Art can't be canceled but apparently the Paseo can.

J. Matt Thomas' tagline since COVID-19 made its appearance, has, like many other fast-held beliefs, gone by the wayside; in fact, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that art can be canceled, along with music, and these days, practically everything else besides.

With both the Gary Clark Jr. concert and PASEO canceled recently, yet the Big Barn Dance allowed to go on, with very little social distancing evident in the photographs taken by Nathan Burton (Page 32), one wonders at the reasoning behind these decisions. As with everything else, nothing makes sense anymore.

Nothing is safe anymore, the world is on fire, and clearly, if we, as a species, don't get off our narcissistic, self-absorbed high horses, and begin to make speedy changes, both personal and collective, we are most probably doomed.

Which is perhaps why we have our billionaire class building phallic rockets to take them anywhere but here. These same billionaires are accused by conspiracy buffs, of being part of the "reptilian" takeover, which includes the current vaccine program, designed, they say, to depopulate the "reptilian slave planet."

Well I have a little news for these folks; these dudes don't want to kill you, they want your money for more rockets. Amazon stock anyone?

Which brings me back to the reality of what in fact is happening. We are seeing these various mutations to this already insidious virus, because of misinformation and ignorance. Vaccines have in the past, saved lives; by helping contribute to the growing numbers of naturally immune (from infection) people, bringing the global population slowly but surely to herd immunity. The problem with this virus and its mutations, is that the scope is bigger than ever before; the planet is more populated and virulent spread is inevitable.

It's imperative that more people are vaccinated, but perhaps the approach needs to change, rather than playing on people's fear, appeal to their common sense; vaccinate the elderly, the infirm, the immune compromised everywhere, especially Third World countries, first. Chances are, we'd get to herd immunity a lot faster, with far less resistance.

Recently I was reminded of the frog in the boiling water analogy to describe what it has been like for the past year and a half. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. Currently, we are like frogs who have been living in hot water that's been brought to a boil slowly, and not yet fully able to realize the level of sustained stress we have all been under.

We know we're stressed, we know life has been difficult because of COVID's global impact, but to the degree that it has worn us down, I don't think we will fully comprehend until we are well beyond it, and can look back.

With this in mind it's not hard to understand the levels of emotion people are grappling with on all sides of the political divide; times are confusing at best. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and Texas' vote on abortion is an indication of how polarized we are. People are so emotional they cannot even agree to disagree any more, forcing issues into law; rationale has gone out the window, and women once again, suffer the greatest indignity.

Locally, as our numbers rise, let's at the very least, remember to be kind to one another, no matter your deeply held beliefs or shattered perceptions; ultimately we are all in this together.

Right now, with fires raging, borders shifting, barriers breaking, everything around us changing, it's a watershed moment for humanity, a moment we can grasp or lose; science is not the enemy, money is not the enemy; it's how they are used. Let's use both for the betterment of mankind, as well as our precious community.

With another winter of hunkering down looming, let's spend our money locally as much as possible. Support our museums by shopping in their gift shops, spend time exploring the galleries and boutiques all around Downtown Taos, that you imagine are only for tourists. They aren't, and you'll be delighted with what you discover.

Ignore the call of Amazon Prime and go for a walk in town instead, kill a few birds with one stone; fresh air and exercise plus gifts for all your loved ones. Damn the rockets!

Support art and artists -- they are the cartographers of our future -- and with any luck, next year the Paseo can return to bring life and light back to our streets.

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