By BILL WATANABE
My granddaughter just turned two years old and our family had a nice but contained (due to COVID) birthday party for her. As a proud grandfather, I have to admit she is an exceedingly cute, friendly, and happy child who loves to laugh and sing songs and play games.
Sometimes, as I observe her going through the learning stages of walking and talking, I get an ominous anxiety attack about what kind of future she will grow up to inherit from us.
Our society seems to be tearing apart through intense political animosity between political parties. Naked racism, which lay mostly hidden under a thin veneer, is now coming out into the public arena, with white supremacists parading and displaying slavery-supporting Confederate flags.
Trumpism is threatening to destroy the very foundations of our democratic society and move the country towards an authoritarian state where one party rules and dissent is not tolerated.
Our climate is changing due to greenhouse gases – and we are, at a quickening pace, destroying the ecological balance of life on Earth as we know it – both on land and in the seas. The process may have passed the point of no return and no one can predict how bad it will become. Glaciers and the polar ice caps are melting and disappearing at a significant rate and this process is not stoppable at this point in time. The oceans, once thought to be so vast and limitless, are slowly dying and once-plentiful fish are being depleted.
Resources such as clean water, and adequate healthy food production, may become sources of conflict leading to battles between the haves and the have-nots.
Mass shootings have become so commonplace that they no longer surprise or even alarm us and this will continue as long as our lawmakers are more protective of guns than of people’s welfare.
What kind of a future will my beloved grandchild and the entire next generation face?
ON THE OTHER HAND
The racial conflicts of today may eventually decline as America becomes a minority majority nation and a new norm of accepted racial and cultural diversity can take place.
Perhaps Trump will end up in prison and his legion of followers will be ostracized for their foolish and blind loyalty to a sociopath.
Perhaps the political enmity that now exists will disappear when it becomes all too obvious and undeniable that the world is heading for climatological disaster and people of all political persuasions will be forced to unite to battle for human survival on planet Earth. Perhaps the next generation will reject the short-sightedness of this generation and reach out to everyone on the planet to work together as world citizens.
Perhaps research being done by Bill Gates and others in seeking safer nuclear power with less radioactive waste will answer the need to do away with fossil fuels – it could happen and global warming can eventually decrease.
I hope all the grandchildren of this next generation will do things better before it is too late.
There is an old Chumash saying: We do not inherit the land from our fathers; we borrow it from our children.
Bill Watanabe writes from Silverlake near downtown Los Angeles and can be contacted at email@example.com. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.