It’s hard to believe what’s going on in America. It’s like the second half of the 20th century never happened. Did I miss the episode where the plot got shifted to an alternate timeline? I hate it when they fuck with the timeline.
Seriously. I thought that legalized meant settled, as in no longer open for debate. I thought I could count on an America where abortion would always be safe and women would remain in charge of their own bodies. I thought that access to and use of birth control would never again be seen as anything other than sensible, especially in light of the now-legal alternative.
I thought that history equaled lessons learned, as in we’ll never make that mistake again. I thought that after the Great Depression, I could grow old feeling safe in the knowledge that I won’t have to sell apples in the street if I live past seventy – or blood if I lose my job. I thought that after the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the sixties and seventies, after the Children’s March and Kent State, police officers would never again attack peaceful American citizens exercising their legal right to assemble.
I thought that science and rationality had won the battle with magical thinking, as in we don’t believe in ridiculous crap anymore. I thought that since antibiotics were an accepted thing, so was evolution, since they’re based on exactly the same principles. I thought that since the melting of polar and alpine ice and the flooding of low-lying lands is patently obvious to anyone looking, let alone living there, people would accept the fact that the climate is changing. I thought it was pretty clear that there isn’t a giant white man living in the sky somewhere, making all of this happen.
Clearly I was wrong. I encounter ignorance and arrogance on a daily basis, in the news and among my students. Ignorance of history and arrogance of belief. I’d like to believe that the sequence of history shows a straight line moving from brutality and stupidity toward kindness and enlightenment, but I can’t.
It’s just a jump to the left. . . and then a step to the right.