Scoundrel Time

How It Ends: Wonderland/Wasteland

I was raised by a father who self-described as a “realistic optimist” and a mother who oscillated between bracing for the apocalypse and buying outfits for the award ceremony. So it’s no surprise that my own predictive tendencies are tangled up in the dark blue of nightmare and the bright blue of heaven. While plenty of us are asking if we can expect to survive this administration–both literally and metaphorically–-I admit that I already have complicated issues with that s-word. It seems to me that humans are evolving in both directions at once–the worst of us worsening and the best of us improving. We are all still dragging ourselves up from mud onto land, still carrying around a heavy skull cradling both the impulsively destructive lizard brain and the supposedly reflective prefrontal cortex. I measure our celebration-worthy progress (marriage equality; climate agreements) against our dismal reversals (white supremacists on the march; immigrants on the run). In my view, America keeps verging on wonderland and wasteland. Could it be that this gorgeously fragile planet will be better off without our species around at all, despite our contributions of the Golden Gate Bridge and Beyoncé? Since I’m not a parent, maybe it’s easier for me to voice dire warnings–the ones that can’t quite be tolerated by those holding out fervent hope for their children and grandchildren. Still, I am the aunt of a half-dozen nieces and nephews who possess gifts enough to help save the world. Just for today, my wishful dreaming pushes a tiny glimmer ahead of my terrors, in favor of the eventual victory of infinite compassion and global justice. It ends with peace, in other words. Inside and out.