Tertulia: Hope


A Letter to the Next Great Generation

We’re sorry. We’re going to have to ask you to grow up sooner than you expected.

Consider it “advancement.” We’re moving you into a new position that has recently come open – well, actually it’s been vacant for some time but we thought we could get by without it and we’ve been sort of floating along, you know, hoping we could manage by, you know, not managing, and I’m afraid we might have let it go a little long.

You understand, these things just take on a life of their own. We got distracted by all the little details that can demand so much focus and anyway we’ve never really considered ourselves a “big picture” kind of generation.

And I guess that isn’t really fair. It isn’t. It’s grossly unfair, now, to come to you and say, “Here, take this, it’s what’s left.”

We should be saying, “Here, take this, we made this for you.”

And in truth we did but not intentionally. It just sort of happened.

Well, ok, there were warnings and signs and reports and commissions and those scientists – God, don’t you hate the big words they use, can’t they just say things simply, in language the rest of us can understand?

But they were all like “Traumatic Climate Shift” and “Severe Polar Vortex Syndrome ” and “Substantial Global Species Eradication” brought on by “Precipitous Decrease of Resources” and it was just so much alarmist rhetoric amid the theories and guesswork and contradictions. We didn’t know who to believe, Fox or MSNBC.  Those two always hated each other anyway and so it was “No, Black is White” whatever position was the polar opposite of what the other had said. Just words, back and forth, all the time. Arguing over semantics and the personal interpretation of what it all meant. What we needed it to mean. That’s what got us here, I think.

But anyway, by the time it all got, you know, “apparent” well, it was just a mess. So that is what we’re giving you, we know and we’re sorry, so sorry.

And we’ll need you to fix it. Quickly.

I don’t know what we were waiting for.

I mean there was a lot going on prior to the tipping point: wars and the economy and Facebook and Twitter and Grumpy Cat and Game of Thrones. It was a lot to take in.

We got so caught up in the ongoing argument of the hair-trigger Internet and taking a side that we forgot our lives were at stake. And suddenly it went from “what are we doing?” to “what have we done?”

In darker moments I think we shouldn’t survive. I start to believe Bill Hicks was right when he described a human being as little more than “a virus with shoes.” We certainly seem to infect things.

We have been the victims of our greed, our short-sightedness in committing to a system that values work but not the worker, that screams “Get a Job” but refuses to endorse a living wage, and that is on a suicide mission to harvest every scrap that can be exploited from the corpse of this planet.  A virus, spreading and consuming, until nothing is left.

But that analogy is unfair to you. You didn’t create this world. You will go on to add to it in some way. Everyone born has an impact. Sadly, we haven’t done enough. We had opportunities that we let slip away. I think we were shopping online at the time. Mostly shopping. Or posting Selfies. Staring at a computer screen instead of life.

It’s an easy habit to develop. I urge you to look up at the world around you. That cell phone display is a limited view.  And “liking” and “sharing” are not the same as taking action.

That said, I think it is important to tell you that I believe in you.

We need you. We need a new Great Generation to save the world. Not to redeem us; we don’t deserve it. We did too little of what we should have, too much of what we shouldn’t. We wasted our energy on argument, trying to be artists of persuasion, as if that were a noble achievement. We were seduced by the Sophists. Now we need you to be a follower of Cicero; be good men and women who are dedicated to knowledge and seek to speak well.

Every great generation is born of some trauma and necessity. That is the burden of being great.

But I believe in you. I do. And we’re sorry but we’re going to have to ask you to grow up faster, and be smarter and braver than we were. We’re going to need you to listen, and pay attention, and focus on everything and fix it. We need you to not get distracted, like we did.

Please, grow up and take over. It’s our only hope.


Kellie Salome