Friday, June 25, 2010

Will the Last Generation on Earth Rouse Themselves to Save the Gulf Of Mexico?

Back when this sign was posted, whether it was in the hallway of a church basement, or the sub-basement of an elementary school, it was understood: Save Yourself. Here's a sign to point the way, but its going to be up to you to know for yourself the news and its urgency. Then the signs, and shelter they offer will take on real meaning. Today the signs are gone. But look at the baby boomers, the children of the time of of the threat of the nuclear armageddon, and hence, the first generation to believe that they might be the last generation on earth. They still act accordingly. In an emergency, they will still reliably go to ground.

"Fallout" was the radioactive dust raised by the atomic explosion, and lofted into the air. It would drift about in the upper atmosphere, until it fell out into our neighborhoods onto the grass and into the trees, so even if we didn't get blown-up we would all die a slow, painful death unless we had taken shelter underground. There, with enough clean water and emergency rations, we could hold out until the radioactivity had (hopefully) abated and it was safe to re-emerge into the new world of civilizational obliteration. It wasn't at all clear that we would, however, or how  the world above would ever be safe again. The "Doomsday Clock" told us the planet was in its last few minutes. A nuclear exchange might happen anywhere, anytime. We might all be destroyed.

So the baby boomers acquired an innate fatalism as a coping mechanism, while growing up under these conditions. We can see how it is playing out on the Gulf of Mexico, how the ennui of a generation coming to maturity under the numbing and indefinite threat of total destruction has undone its innate sense of urgency, how the clarion call to action can sound unheard. If the world is to be destroyed, one must remain calm and unruffled. There is nothing to be done but to save one's self..

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