Roger Marolt: Time to remodel the old school
We’re going to be OK. The country’s future is in the hands of the young.
It’s not only their nimbleness of minds, objective views, and fresh ideas that will win the new day. Their biggest asset is simply being young. In about 20 years we older people will take a lot of nonsense to the nursing homes with us. Shortly thereafter, it will be buried. We made the mess. We can’t let it go. The young are moving on. We need to get out of their way.
They are another generation removed from slavery. Distance allows a broader view and sharper perspective. From that distance the darkness of slavery in America looks exceedingly foul, and not just like an unfortunate chapter in our history.
Distance in time is stretching romantic connections with the antebellum South to the breaking point. The closest relatives to this generation from the time of slavery will bear the titles “great, great, great” before “grandfather,” “grandmother,” “aunt” and “uncle” about whom no mythical stories will be remembered. Those characters will be strangers. For a nation further removed from the scenes of the crimes, there will be less to be denied and much more to learn through dissection of history and how our nation was infected in its heart.
Our kids will understand that we may not necessarily have to writhe in eternal guilt for the sins of our forefathers, but neither should we be too proud of all our heritage, either. They will wonder how we learned more about the extermination of buffalo on the Great Plains than we did the slaughter of Native Americans.
The next generation will not fear white people becoming a minority race in the United States. It will happen. They will shrug. Discussion of racial majority will be statistical trivia. They young will live in this diverse country, capably managed by a multicultural electorate. It will seem silly that some of their parents worried about such nonsense.
Nobody but a few nuts will deny global warming two decades from now. As the next generations take over, arguing on climate change will not be over its existence, but rather what still needs to done about it. The aim will not be focused on saving skiing. It will be about protecting the poor who bear an outsized burden of climate change damage.
Fewer young people will look to fossil fuel industries as career options. Fewer yet will know a coal miner. People going into these industries will not do so blindly, assuming roles in these will carry them through retirement. They won’t be jobs worth political animus.
The majority of people under 30 do not find sexual orientation or gender identification remarkable.
A gun. Those younger than 50 are more likely to picture an assault rifle than Davey Crockett’s musket. It is less and less a symbol of freedom and more an anachronistic icon of senseless death.
The young will bring with them into their dominance of political culture the logic and perspective they have gained watching how our generation does democracy dirty. What they roll their eyes at now will be tossed into the composting bucket for undigestible rhetorical rinds and fat trimmed from the meat of common sense.
They think it is ridiculous that Democrats only agree with Democrats and Republicans with Republicans on every last issue. That mode of behavior is a fiction created by us to deny the complexity of human identity. It is completely illogical, statistically impossible, and irrefutable evidence that we have stopped thinking for ourselves. It is not surprising to the young that we so enthusiastically replace news with conspiracy theories to avoid having to think things through.
The young understand the cyber word far more than we do. Yes, the Internet creates problems, but have we noticed that the vast majority of them are right-clicked into existence by those over 40? We don’t get it. We believe everything we see on it. We have weaponized it. Our kids shake their heads. We worry what Facebook is doing to them without realizing it is we who are already brain-numbed from it.
The young understand that complete consensus on any issue is impossible, but also that we can find things to agree on with anyone, and it doesn’t even take much effort.
Kids are rebellious. The older they get, the more they notice and pick at our faults. For a parent this is a pain in the rearing. But, for the planet, it may be a natural phenomenon necessary for survival.
Roger Marolt knows that it is time to remodel the old school and it will take the efforts of the young to do it. firstname.lastname@example.org