Having to get over anomie and despair
I’m a child of the 70s and 80s, part of Generation X, and I’ve come to believe that part of what characterizes my generation is that we grew up in a world that was largely resigned to nuclear war as an eventuality. We didn’t get the air raid drills or lectures from Civil Defense, that might’ve made us scared enough to act for peace or put us deep in denial, instead we got jokes from the President and movies like “The Day After.” One phrase belonging to the slackers of Generation X is “Why bother?” Why bother trying to build, create, or aspire when sooner or later some guy is going to press the button and blow it all up?
The thing is, though, I’ve got a little girl now, and I can’t live that way anymore. As much as living with anomie and despair for myself and humanity is the easy thing to do, I have to hope for and work towards creating a world for my daughter that has less fear and more joy and love. I have to believe that we can do more and be more, that we can end our wars, that we all can have the same health care we give to our Senators and Representatives, that my daughter won’t have to travel in groups for fear of violence based on her sex, that we can have cars that emit the scent of roses & blueberry pie instead of tons of carbon dioxide. I know that many people get more small-c conservative as they get older, I’m finding that I’m getting more radical.
This post was partially inspired by Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man project, particularly this post that I’ve kept coming back to: The most radical political act there is.