Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Change is the one constant in life I know - but in the larger world this period seems to be one of greater than usual changes. Some kind of seismic shift is occuring. In Joanna's words "a changing of the guard". The generation that fought World War II is dying off. The concentration camps and the dropping of the atom bomb are history. The Viet Nam veterans are gray haired now. Greenspan just announced his retirement and Sandra Day O'Conor is leaving the Supreme Court soom. There have been so many deaths people whose names were icons, household words (whether you liked and aproved of them or not) Arafat is dead and Sharon is incapacitated by stroke. We've buried Reagan and the Pope, Rosa Parks, and, just this week are burying Corretta Scott King. I remember her as the handsome young civil right's leader's pretty pregnant wife. But its more than the individual deaths. The baton is being passed and I'm not quite sure to whom or where they will take it, or what my role is int his period of passage. I feel shaky - on shaky ground - and I hope the next generation does better than mine did with its power.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

I love your words here---I know I feel unsettled by it too. I'm very much afraid of what my generation will do. I wish I knew better how to be a part of it--an important part. I feel like a spectator and I'm not sure how to become a participant.

DianeS said...

I have to stand up for our generation. I don't think we've done that badly! Think about it. We've made great strides on racism and sexism and most of the other isms. We're tackling heterosexism, even. We told the government that we would not back just any war they decided to wage, and made it stick then; still working on now. We've really worked to bring *all* Americans into our constitution, rather than the well-to-do, middle-aged, white male it was originally written for. And I believe there are great strides that have been made in other countries as well.

Not that we're done. We're not. There's much for our children to do. But we made gains our parents never dreamed of, never considered. And our children are better. So many of our children actually don't see race, where we've (generally) learned to ignore it. Our children think they have a right to decide about civil liberties for all people. They've got work to do. But our best work is that we equipped them to do it!

SeaStar said...

You are right Diane. We have made considerable progress in our generation and I am proud of that. I agree that having equipped this new generation to continue the work is a great accomplishment. I don't know what I expected when I was thirty and a young mother - more - I know that - more compassion, less self interest. There is much that's good. For instance, Corretta Scott King is lying in state in Atlanta (or wasbefore the funeral) the first woman and the first African American to do so. That is something.

Chris said...

I keep hoping it's a case of two steps forward, one step back. But I also wonder if we're running out of time. Corporations have gotten bigger and more powerful than ever before. The gap between rich and poor has grown. We're running out of natural resources, and our environment can't take the strain we're putting on it. Climatologists are saying that even if we stop production of greenhouse gasses today, the temperature will continue to rise for a while. I'm afraid we're running out of time.