I grew up in a time when it was ok for kids to drink coca-cola. To prove it here is a picture of my cousin and I drinking coke in glass bottles circa 1981. Fast forward to 2020 and this is now considered some form of child abuse. I wonder what we will be saying about our parenting choices in 2050?

So this clever meme of mine not only made me laugh but made me think back to my own childhood and how much things have changed.

COVID-19 has given us all some food for thought and many are saying we have entered a dangerous time reminiscent of Nazi-type government control of how we live our everyday lives.

Since when did we become such a Nanny state? These days we are seemingly governed by so many rules, laws and regulations I have started asking myself have we gone too far? As we have all blindly accepted these new rules as law without so much of a bat of an eyelid.

Let us take a minute to reflect and remember what it used to be like for a child growing up in Australia.

I personally remember walking to school by myself in primary school so probably aged 8-12. It was a long walk (about 40 minutes) up a massive hill called Pitt Street in Eltham. Now there is no way I would let my son do that now! Nor would this be considered acceptable. My parents were pretty free and easy and they also allowed me to swig from their drinks pretty much at will. In fact, I remember being asked to “grab my Dad a tinny” most days. Even this is now considered taboo. Children should not be exposed to alcohol they say, but are we shielding them too much from the reality of life so that when they do get exposed they become the kids spewing all over themselves at the Blue Light Disco? Because it is such a novelty and also their parents gave them no education about how to drink in moderation let alone responsibly?

I grew up in a court, so we were allowed to play outside on the street every night, ride our bikes, play footy or cricket on the street until nightfall. This is also no longer safe or acceptable and as children are more sedentary than ever, iPad’s and Xbox’s have now replaced running on the streets with friends. All because it is not safe.

I was born in the ’70s so my mum had a few drinks when she was preggers, my husband’s mum drank and smoked when she was up the duff with him! They both ate ham, soft cheese and runny eggs. I was also pretty relaxed when I was pregnant. I had the occasional drink, ate runny eggs and even ate sushi. I had women coming up to me and telling me that I was a disgrace and should be ashamed of myself. My response you can imagine was not a pleasant one.

Things were certainly different back then and there was much more freedom and much less judgement. My mum fondly tells me stories of me sitting in the front seat from age 3. In fact my aunt tells me that my cousins slid around on the back seat of her Valiant in a papoose (much like a little soft baby carrier!) Like WTF with no seatbelt??

Now I am not saying that this was right but Jesus we seemingly did not have a care in the world. And yes it was a different world back then. But fast forward to now and we live in a time when I see people judging me for taking my son to the supermarket during COVID-19. Like people giving me death stares. For gods’ sakes people he’s a kid, yes they do exist and he needs to get out of the house too. I’m feeling pretty relaxed about our current situation in Australia and needed to shop with him in tow. When did we all become so “judgy?”

Many claim that Millennials are all snowflakes and part of the nanny state problem. Too sensitive, too entitled, too perfect. Who knows, but much of this political correctness seems to stem from our white-haired male pollies who love to tinker with our human rights all under the guise of our “collective safety”.

To give you another example, my husband is an avid mountain bike rider and track builder. He spent years crafting what some claim to be the best downhill track in Victoria. Until the Victorian (DEPI) got wind of it after complaints from a resident who lived at the foot of the State Park in Warburton. So due to one dickhead who decided to drive up the dirt ride at speed and throw his tinnies out the window, around 5 years of hard work sweat, and tears was destroyed by the government. Like literally chopped down. This was one of the best riding sites in the state, and boom it was gone much to the utter disgust of the mountain biking community. No consultation, no warning just finished. The council has now granted some pro building firm the contract to build a new track in the same forest. But hang on wasn’t there a perfectly functional track already there?

My point is that sometimes people (normally governments) make stupid decisions based on the needs of a few. I know we all need protection, that is our basic human right, but has this all gone too far?

I personally feel that the current situation and COVID-19 is a slippery slope and I am starting to ask myself when will this all end? Like having to provide proof to law enforcement agencies of the reason we are out of our houses seems a little over the top don’t you think? Have we turned into a communist state? I understand the premise of why this has to be in place now, but when will these rules be relaxed? What if this pandemic ends and a new one starts?

Bertrand Russel was a famous British philosopher, social critic and political activist. He once said…

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.     

It somehow feels that we have arrived here very willingly and based on the recent actions of the sheeple who all seem to buying into the fear and hysteria I am not sure how we will ever come back from this. This is not only alarming but scary given Millennials are supposed to be the disruptors and rebels. I hope the rebellion is yet to come and welcome a change in the global political climate where some younger leaders will hopefully inject some new ways of thinking into our world. Just look at Jacinta Ardern she is 37, a Millennial and a force to be reckoned with. And yes New Zealand acted early but they did so in an empathic, caring way and I have no doubt they will reverse things just as quickly.

So even though we seem to have won the war against this unseen enemy called COVID-19 I beg of you please do not stop questioning and using reason to make rational decisions as we move forward. This is the time to wake up, not collectively bury our heads in the sand.

These times have brought many positives for the environment and humanity as a whole, I just hope we can take these into the future, not just for ourselves but for future generations.

Written by Emily Jaksch