Not deferential enough: After the apocalypse

Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: After the apocalypse

by Gina Hamilton

Every time I see the word 'apocalypse', it brings to mind Jamaican dancing on a warm beach in Bermuda shorts, accompanied by happy melodies and bongo drums and sweet rum drinks made in hollowed out pineapples with little paper umbrellas, lighted by a bonfire and those fruit shaped lanterns.  I really can't help it.  So if I didn't take the 'Mayan calendar apocalypse' terribly seriously, sue me.  Besides, if we were to get that upset everytime someone needed to buy a new calendar, we'd all be in bad shape.  I personally have four calendars in my house that end within a week.

Don't break out the steel drums yet.

The fact that we're all still here, and not molten puddles of flesh and bone, suggests that the end of the world isn't all that nigh. 

That's not to say that there isn't stuff we ought to be doing, and soon, to improve things on our planet.  This week some rather grim news about western Antarctica came to light.  Apparently the ice sheets there are melting rather faster than anyone thought they could. (But western Antarctica? Shouldn't it all be northern Antarctica? Whatever.)  The Greenland ice sheets are going, too, and the sea ice in the region formerly known as the polar ice cap seems to have melted.

The oceans are warming up, the corals are dying off, and then, this week, a very odd thing happened ... a bunch of dolphins researchers were following reportedly vanished.

Poof.  Gone.

Now, anyone who's read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy knows the implication of this.  The dolphins leave the planet just before the Earth is blasted into smithereens to make way for a hyperspace bypass.  So while everyone else was freaking out over an obscure precolumbian engraving, I was looking around for a lovely gray bowl engraved with the words, 'So long, and thanks for all the fish'.

I didn't see one, but there's been a lot of cleaning going on down at Turning Tide Cottage, so it's possible that it got packed away or moved elsewhere.

There are other things we have to deal with.  The ability for any idiot, homicidal or suicidal or both, to get hold of a weapon of mass destruction needs to be firmly dealt with at a federal level.  The fact that we have legislators in greater thrall to an organization that thinks kindergarten teachers should be packing heat than they are to the parents of America is a related problem.  Or in thrall to any corporation that doesn't have the best interests of Americans at heart, such as seed companies that want to put bacteria genes in your corn, or fish genes in your tomatoes, or drug companies who don't seem to notice the connection between underarm testosterone and little girls growing facial hair after drinking the water. 

There is a line from "The Clampdown", an anthem by The Clash in 1979, in which we are exhorted to "Let fury have the hour, anger can be power.  Do you know that you can use it?"

I think it's time for us to get angry.  I don't mean angry about minor things, but about real, important things.  Like about the fact that the dolphins are dying off.  Or the fact that you could get cancer from eating an ear of corn.  Or the fact that your legislator might be bought and paid for by a gun manufacturer.

What I wish for everyone in the new year is some righteous anger, and the will to act on it.  It's time ... it's long past time ... for real action. 

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