That’s a word I’ve been struggling with in the past week after some encouragement from a retired friend who believes younger generations will make the world right again.
I so want to believe that. I so want to feel it deep inside.
Maybe it’s my line of work as news editor. While a reporter might write one story per day about some social injustice or tragedy, I can edit up to 20 such stories per shift, craft headlines for them, write excerpts, photo captions, etc. It’s a lot of negativity, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
I have to be somewhat jaded — along with objective — during my working hours. I can’t dwell much on all the pain in our reports.
Outside of work, it’s a different matter — no doubt, as regular readers here have seen in my various blog posts. Sometimes for me, it seems there is not a lot of optimism for a world dealing with a pandemic and multiple environmental catastrophes along with civil unrest and myriad other problems.
I can cry here about the state of the world, virtually speaking. And I can point you to articles that should make us all cry, if not during working hours. Such as one by Jordan Salama recently.
My heart was broken when I read his piece on the Scientific American site that started with this:
I’ve never known an Earth that wasn’t on fire. I’m 23 years old, and I’m not alone. My entire generation has come of age in a world so defined by climate change and human destruction—by forests burning and glaciers melting, by extinguished species and rising seas—that it’s sometimes been hard to fathom what an even more dismal future might look like.
Jordan points the finger at older generations, not so much for the mess we’re all in, but for the fact that so many seem to be shrugging off the “apocalyptic fields of ruin” left by wildfires, hurricanes, floods and more. For his generation, he says, it is all “a constant, excruciating worry.”
Yet, God bless him, he ends his piece with a note of hope — and that makes tears well up in my eyes again. There is still time. Things can turn around, he says, much like my aforementioned retired friend believes.
I want to believe it on this Canadian Thanksgiving Day, when I am truly grateful for all the blessings in my life — including my job.
I want Jordan and his generation to be able to give thanks for blessings throughout their lives, too. And the generations that come after him.
I want to be optimistic about that.
I want to feel hope.
Finger pointing is an exercise in futility. It only serves to make the finger pointer feel self-righteous.
Somehow it is always all the older generations fault. Give me a dollar for every internet blog and post and tweet post hating on my generation and more specifically on “old white men” and I won’t need social security to make ends meet any more. I’ll be wealthy beyond my dreams.
Fifty-odd years ago the world was about to end in nuclear holocaust. (There are several times we came within a hair’s breadth of making global warming irrelevant/) We were mired in an interminable war in Vietnam, with *60 thousand* American dead, millions of Vietnamese dead, and not a damned thing to show for it. A President who was doing black bag operations on the opposing party and an FBI busy destroying his opponents.
That older generation passed the 1964, 1965 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts and enacted LBJ’s Great Society legislation. The Civil Rights marches of the 60s were much riskier than today’s BLM protests. My generation created the modern environmentalist, feminist, and gay rights movements and held the line against Soviet expansion until they collapsed. Oh yeah. Roe v, Wade also happened under our watch.
And I remember clearly how much the older generation was dissed back then. Don’t trust anyone over thirty was a common buzzphrase. In the 60s we called it the “generation gap.”
Of course THAT was the generation that spent its life struggling through the Great Depression, passing FDR’s New Deal, defeating Nazi Germany, integrating the Armed Forces, stalemating Stalin and Mao, bleeding in the mountains of Korea to keep the South free, rejuvenating a destroyed Europe with the Marshall plan and generally allowing the liberal democracies of the world to survive and thrive. It is the generation that gave us Brown v. Board of Education.
But they were the evil bastards who caused all the problems I lived with when I was growing up. The younger generation was goong to make everything perfect as we swept away the old world. 😀
Sigh! There is nothing new under the sun.
The world will keep turning. CO2 emmissions will drop, perhaps not as fast as one would want. We’ll adapt to climate change. Great powers will continue to bluster and shake their sabers. and there may even be occaisional skirmishes. In the context of what humanity has faced just in the last 100 years, COVID-19 is trivial. Technology will advance to fix physical problems. I see nothing to threaten the species but there’s always the potential for rough spots.
The real problems are those of the human heart and those have been with us since the dawn of the species. They will never be solved on a mass scale but some individuals will continue to strive to be the best person they can be. It is the only road to being happy.
Dear Jill, I too have a lot of faith in the new generation. They’re so couragous and willing to make it right, despite the awful state in which we’re leaving the planet, against all odds and despite the lack of support – or, to be frank, the shameful hate and contempt they have to face from those selfish hypocrits who preceded them. And they still have the good humor to love their parents…