January 12, 2017

Goodbye to sanity, cogency, and rational dialogue.… Hello to absurd verisimilitude, incoherence, and inconsistent pronouncements from on high.

Goodbye to the illusion, and in some cases the reality, that politics is public service…. Hello to politics as the rawest form of self-promotional spectacle.

Goodbye to mere creeping, inertial, self-replicating oligarchy.… Hello to blatant, rampant, self-congratulatory oligarchy.

Goodbye to polar bears and walruses, arctic foxes, pikas, trees, pristine landscapes, and salmon…. Hello to industrial machinery, empty landscapes, and the inexorable encroachment of salt water.

Goodbye to the belief that the future will somehow be better, that all of today’s dysfunctions can be fixed or might fix themselves…. Hello to cynicism and the daily search for something hopeful.

Goodbye to the comfortable distance you’ve previously felt when reading or watching dystopian stories, the implicit understanding that they are mere maybes…. Hello to the reading of dystopian stories as coping manuals.

Goodbye to the luxury of spending long periods of time indulging in political apathy…. Hello to the duty of active civic engagement.

Goodbye to 1000 or so hours per year one might spend, say, birding or watching baseball…. Hello to 1000 or so hours spent reading, writing, and talking about the past, present, and future of the country and the world.

Goodbye to the secondary status of our life missions…. Hello to the renewed primacy of our central goals, which might be to investigate people in power or spread kindness far and wide or offer pro bono legal aid services or help cast light on how to live, learn, and engage with others in ways that promote dignity and justice.

Goodbye to the myth that bubbles protect us…. Hello to the myth—or maybe, just possibly, the reality—that bubbles can be bridged.