When I was a kid, in the Viet Nam era, young couples began to worry about bringing children into an ever more uncertain world. Gone was the optimism of earlier times, buried perhaps in dad's backyard bombshelter (no, my dad didn't have one, but he would have, if we'd had a backyard).
The watchwords of the day were "Stop the War," "Energy Crisis," "Whip Inflation Now," and "Population Explosion." Interesting how little things change. Of these, I s'pose that inflation (outside the realm of energy and real estate prices) is not the monster it once was...yet has been replaced by an even more Godzilla-like national deficit.
But now every day, as our baby inches closer to this world, I read about a cadre of new threats, not least of which is Iran's push toward becoming a nuclear power, with promises to sell the technology to anyone in the Arab world who wants it. To paraphrase 1960s comic songwriter Tom Lehrer, "We'll try to stay serene and calm...when [Hamas] gets the bomb."
Now I am not here to cast blame. I'm sure there are some very nice Muslims...somewhere. They just don't make the news because they are teachers and mechanics and doctors and grocers. And because they don't have "blow myself up and take a lotta people with me" penciled into their datebooks for next week. And I know that our Administration has a way of making enemies around whe world with unmatched ease (to again quote Tom Lehrer, "They love us everywhere we go...When in doubt, send the Marines!").
But hey, WE HAVE A BABY COMING! Could everyone please try and keep the fear mongering and death threats to a minimum. And this means the press too. Mad Cow... Avian Flu... Global Warming... and meaningless stats like: "Tall people are more likely to have heart attacks." There's nothing we can do about ANY of this. (Even Global Warming is supposed to have tipped the scale in some kind of feedback loop that means that even if we all stopped running our cars and factories right now, there still wouldn't be any polar ice caps by 2012.) Ok, well then. We'll just have to deal with these things when they ACTUALLY HAPPEN, won't we.
I'm not naiive enough to believe that our child will pass thru this world unscathed, untouched by fear, hatred, cowardice, or violence. But it seems to be that we (as a nation) could use a time out. So let's take a breath, America. Let's stop scaring our own citizens. Let's stop trying to force the uni-culture down the gullets of nations who neither need nor want it. Let's see perhaps where we could actually do some good.
It would be refreshing if the world we handed over to our children were more than a burnt match-head.