So it’s back to the scene of the crime...
It was 19 years ago when a few friends and I went to New Orleans in early February to attend the world’s greatest party, Mardi Gras.
Some may debate me, as I describe the event as the "world’s greatest"... and they might be correct as I have never had the opportunity to attend Carnival in Rio, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, or the Melbourne Cup, celebrated in all corners of Australia.
I do, however, have some experiences attending other spectacles such as the Super Bowl, World Series, the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, Presidential conventions, and the Rose Parade and Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Mardi Gras along Bourbon Street, is as wild and crazy as it comes. It is an event reserved for the young (and young at heart) who have the capacity and fortitude to drink and dance from sunset until sunrise. It’s a "party until you drop" environment where hordes of revelers fill the bars, saloons, and streets; throbbing music fills the air, and the exchange of beads for skin is found every few feet.
The Mardi Gras of the French Quarter is the decadence and debauchery of an ancient Roman orgy.
This week, I find myself back in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
However, on this adventure, I don’t imagine that I’ll be stepping foot in the French Quarter after dark.
My family and I have been graciously invited to experience the other side of Mardi Gras.
Where Krews (local social organizations) decorate floats and parade through the streets of the city, throwing handfuls of beads to those lining the routes; where the pageantry of royal courts fill the ballroom of hotels, where the women wear floor-length formal gowns and the men wear white ties, white gloves and tails rather than tuxedos.
This is the Mardi Gras of rich heritage, that sows its seeds in the French occupation of New Orleans, and that has been carried forward for some 213 years.
This is the Mardi Gras that concerns itself with customs, traditions and a significance of pomp and circumstance, many of which have been carried forward by generation after generation.
This is the Mardi Gras of the social and financial elites. Many of the Krews are devoid of women members and people of color. These are private organizations so they are not under any obligation or directive to be inclusive. This is also tradition.
Innovation is the sworn enemy of tradition.
Traditionalists are afraid of change. They want to go back in time... when things were simpler and clearer to understand... when ideas and concepts were not so complicated...
Traditionalists harken for the days of less choices and options. Everything could be compartmentalized, categorized and easily described... they have no interest in fifty shades of gray... or purple... or brown...
They often speak of "getting back to the fundamentals or basics".
Living in the past also helps them to relive their glory days... when they were the alpha male of the herd... the top salesman... the captain of the football team.
Back then, they were somebody... a person of power and of influence... they knew the right people... and they belonged to the right clubs.
Most of us were taught at a young age to respect authority and the laws. We were told to never question our parents... our teachers... our civic leaders... our bosses.
Theirs was the final word which could not be debated.
They were morally and intellectually our superiors. To question their authority would be to advocate anarchy and chaos.
A call for change would be considered heresy and dissenters would be punished for their actions.
...but then something happened...
Whereas the ideas and actions of a solitary person were easily rebuked and admonished by the establishment, those same ideas and actions brought forth by a large constituency could not be ignored.
Individually or divided, the group is weak... but united by principle, they are strong.
Using the ideas of civil disobedience, the rules began to change... slowly at first... and then as an avalanche.
The structures that were once laid on the solid foundations of society were being razed and replaced with these new set of rules and laws.
At first there were great rationalizations as to why the old ways were still better than the new.
The old ideas were tried, tested and true... why should we change when the traditional ways had worked perfectly fine since the beginning of time?
If it’s not broke why try to fix it...
...but that’s just it... the system was broke and it needed to be fixed.
Which brings us to the current state of the world...
Today there are still a great many injustices being perpetrated against inhabitants of the earth by those who have the power or by those who desire power...
Many of these injustices are rationalized by fundamental religious or governmental doctrine, where the ruling class imposes its will by creating laws that ultimately strip the people of their inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The technology of today, including internet connected cameras, smart phones, and social media, has allowed those fighting against tyranny to better organize into a cohesive force by casting a light on the injustices and sharing them through a globally connected network.
These technological advances have allowed people to unify into a cohesive and united front when the cause is right and just.
No longer do we feel alone in our fights. We are all connected (or will be in the near future).
Traditionalists (along with fundamentalists) are under siege. No longer can they hide in the shadows as technology continues to a beacon of light casting truth in all directions.
The informed are beating down the doors of intolerance, ignorance, and others attempting to force their will unto others.
It’s only a matter of time until they succeed.
Welcome to the new world...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where open and honest communication is one of our core values and helps to make the world a better place to live by allowing its population to thrive.
Jim Kalb President
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