As I sit here writing this post, I look out my office window at a gentle, soothing rain. It's a comfort, this soothing rain. I like the sound of it. I like the way it slows life down from a frantic pace. No one is mowing a lawn. Traffic is lighter. Everyone has retreated indoors.
There is much to be grateful for.
There is, also, a lot to worry about.
I have never worried about my country as I do now. I fear the future. Will our democracy survive? Will we split into two parts? Will hatred define us? Is anyone able to hear over the shouting?
Greed is, as always, at the root of it all. The richest among us aren't satisfied. They want more. And more. And still more. They feel entitled. They want to run the country. They think they know better than the rest of us lowly souls, so they give huge sums of money to our elected officials. Bribes, to be blunt about it. All this money is floating into the pockets of public servants – not all, but many - who are supposed to represent us.
So we have greed. We have anger.
And we have self-interest. All of us, not "just" the wealthiest. One person's freedom is more important, apparently, than someone else's life. It's all about "me" rather than "us." Gone are the days of my childhood when we were taught to wait our turn, to share, to respect our teacher. Gone are the days, I guess, when young men like my father enlisted to fight in a world war to keep us free.
People are complicated. We're all a product of the times in which we live. We will always have greed, anger, and selfishness, but right now we seem to be giving in to it, even celebrating it.
And yet there is one more failure – a huge one – that may define us more than any other. We have not prioritized the importance of the gentle, soothing rain. We aren't appreciating the gifts of nature and, tragically, we're hurtling toward the days when there will be nothing but drought, on the one hand, or the kind of fierce, isolated downpours that cause destructive flooding.
We aren't doing anywhere near enough to fight this crisis. There is much we could do, but we haven't. I believe, therefore, that if humanity survives, our era will be remembered for one thing above all: squandering the opportunity to address climate change.
To the next generation and the one after that: I'm sorry.