Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How will we explain ourselves to future generations?

How are we going to explain ourselves to future generations? What are we going to tell our grandkids when they ask us why we allowed things to get this fucked up? (Full disclosure, I have no kids, so it will be my grand-nieces and nephews I'll have to answer to.) When they ask us why we allowed mass shootings to become a regular occurrence, what will we tell them? That we knew how to stop this, that Australia had provided the blueprint for stopping mass shootings with military-style assault weapons, but we chose not to act? Why? Why did our generation decide to accept this as the norm? What are we going to say/ "Well, we had a ban on these horrific death machines, but we made a conscious choice to let it expire? Because a very small group of people thought that being allowed to stockpile weapons of war meant 'freedom,' and we were afraid of offending them? It was better to let one of these lunatics snap and murder a few dozen people every once in a while than to have a serious adult discussion about the limits of freedom?"

What are we going to tell them when they ask why the government didn't do anything to help? "Well, kiddo, you see, a bunch of Congressmen and Senators were getting money from the gun lunatics, so they wouldn't do anything to stem the flow of money into the gun makers' pockets or the flow of death and misery onto the streets of America?" And when they say "why didn't you just vote these guys out and vote in someone sane?" What will we say?

Will we tell them about all the thoughts and prayers we sent after each mass murder?

And what will we say when they find out there used to be a time when it was unusual for large parts of the US to be underwater? Will we let them assume that we didn't know any better? Or will we be honest and tell them that we knew exactly what was happening. That we had scientists who spent their lives studying this exact phenomenon and they warned us what was going to happen and we just sat there and watched it happen? Will we tell them that there were some people who chose not to believe the experts? And that as a society, we made a conscious decision to humor them? That we decided to pretend that there were two sides to the story and each side should have equal weight? That the men and women who had spent their adult lives studying climatology were given the same weight as your Facebook aunt who says that global warming isn't in the Bible so it can't be true?

And when they ask "were the people who chose not to believe such a huge majority that their willful ignorance could not be overcome?" Will we admit that they were actually a minority? That most of us knew better, we just decided it wasn't worth doing anything about?

How will we look them in the eye? How will we justify our inaction? What defense will we offer when they curse our stupidity and cowardice? What will we tell them?