Two months of 2020 have ticked by. We leave behind some events that we want to stay in the past. But we also want to learn from what may not have been our finest times. In reflecting on the impactful moments and events that shaped the past decade, it is important to note what we take away from the 2010s. With so many changes to society, we need to consider the experiences and knowledge learned in order to improve the future.
In the past ten years, the rise of social media platforms gave us a new way of connecting with others and a new way of life. Instagram came out in 2010, with other similar platforms following. The inception of social media quickly initiated a bigger online presence from important people. It also elevated average unknown people to the status of celebrity as they became Insta-famous or YouTube stars. The world also used these forums to discuss, sometimes not so civilly, social and political issues.
The down side of these useful apps is the pressing issue of people’s inability to live without them, along with the worrying that comes with it. The constant flow of information makes it hard for some people to tear themselves away.
Sophomore Emily Radick said, “I really enjoy using social media to connect with people I might not see all the time, like family or old friends, but sometimes it can get really stressful.”
Mass shootings began to dominate the headlines. 2012 brought two mass shootings leaving Americans furious, distraught, and confused. In July, a gunman killed 12 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Then in December there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them being children.
These shootings, and the many others that have followed, have Americans debating gun control rights, a conversation that is still going on now. As a result, people are learning to become more vigilant of their own security in places like schools and public places.
Since the start of 2020, there have already been numerous shootings in America. Shootings are happening so often now that people are becoming less shocked. Atrocities like these cannot go unnoticed anymore. A child should not be scared to go to school and people should not be scared to go out to the movies or any other public place. This is one issue that needs a solution in the next decade.
Diana Cavanaugh, history teacher, said, “The way I teach about mental disorders in my Human Behavior course has also changed by focusing on current events such as Sandy Hook and how if you see something, you should say something. It might be a subtle change or habit that changes in a person, but it's worth it to at least have a conversation. The shootings and threats were definitely a reality check and have changed my overall perspective of coming to school, especially the way I react to those types of drills.”
One step that should continue to move forward for the future is America's increasing acceptance of all people. Allowing for a more inclusive and equal country, the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage on June 26, 2016. Junior Matthew Kazanecki said, “To be able to experience such a monumental achievement like that was awesome. It was cool experiencing a part of history.”
Politics began to equally unite and divide the nation. Barack Obama became America’s first African American president, elected in 2008, and was re-elected into his second term of presidency in 2012. In the controversial 2016 election, people were divided and couldn’t seem to agree on anything. Republican Donald Trump won the electoral vote beating Democrat Hilary Clinton. After the election, the country remained divided on many of the political issues. As we move forward, the politicians and those who support them need to find a place to meet in the middle.
In just 10 years, society has changed so much. But history has shown that it has the tendency to repeat itself. If we don’t learn from what advanced us or held us back as a society, the same issues could arise in the 2020s. Now that the 2010s are behind us, we should prepare ourselves for what the next decade has in store.