Wednesday, January 2, 2019




We Have Entered A Dangerous Moral Universe

What futures can we imagine when we no longer trust our senses?

A friend of mine has a new habit of sighing, “I’m so glad I’m not 10 years old.” ...She’s worried about the encroaching climate devastation, the current administration’s relentless denialism of reproducible fact, and our nation’s increasingly exuberant geysers of zealotry. —before which time toxic air may be suffocating us into extinction anyway...

Recently, I went to a restaurant and ordered haddock. I was served what appeared to be a nice rosy slab of grilled salmon. “This isn’t haddock,” I said. “Yes, it is,” said the waitress. But it was late...
“How was your haddock?” the waitress asked later as she cleared my table. I faltered: Should I not notice that I’d been invited into a continuing lie? Or maybe it was some genetically altered version of a haddock, one whose normally … I doubted myself.

Our political moment is as Orwellian as that fish... in the pending federal-court case of Juliana v. the United States. The plaintiffs are 21 children ranging from 11 to 22 years old, and they have alleged that the destruction of the earth’s atmosphere is a violation of substantive due process and equal protection, because it threatens their very future... Surely this insistence on the right to be is what also drives the stateless millions around the globe fleeing displacement by war, toxins, climate change, flood, famine, and drought.

Meanwhile, in the land where haddock is not haddock and climate change is not real, we tolerate other misnomers and strange loops of meaning...

As we walk farther and farther down an ideological path where we see one another only as data points for disaster, we will end up having abandoned some of our most fundamental commitments: to hospitality as humanizing, to children as our future, and to earth as our mother.