Say Grace, and Then Get Busy
Everyone is thinking about the "new millennium" and looking to the future.
Twenty years ago, the Texas Observer asked some of its writers to consider the future, twenty-five years ahead. The start of the year 2005, in other words. Here is what one of our favorite writers had to say then.
by Georgia Earnest KlippleIn 2005 my splendid grandson will be 30 and my lovely granddaughter, 25 years old.
If I could have ten (or so) wishes, I would wish for my grandchildren ...
(1) That all groups, colors, places had it so good as we do. How? I don't know, of course.
(2) That my grandson will not come back from a current war in a plastic sack. How to avoid war? I don't know. You figure it out.
(3) That my granddaughter will not be raped and murdered alongside the highway. How to prevent crime? Perhaps by more attention paid to the wise rearing of children. Or by greater concentration on mental health, on the mental illness that walks unseen among us until a corpse -- or 18 corpses -- turn up. Recognizing mental illness early. (Should we train teachers in abnormal psychology?)
(4) That starvation is unknown and slums eradicated. How? perhaps it would help if we narrowed the money gap. The ancient Greeks said, "The Golden Mean--nothing too much." Maybe that would still hold true for 2005.
(5) That cancer and other incurable diseases will be curable and preventable. That our psychiatric hospitals will be empty because the mystery of mental illness will be solved. Already 1979 Nobel Prize winners Allan Carmack and Godfrey Hounsfield have invented the computerized brain-scanner which shows the connecting fibers of the brain hemispheres in schizophrenics to be in partial atrophy, as if by certain malnutrition.
(6) I wish for my grandchildren that their rivers and creeks run free of sewage. And that their own bloodstreams flow free of drugs. That their air refreshes. And that their own lungs breathe clear of fumes. That their soil nourishes without deadly chemicals. That their nuclear waste is detoxified. That their cities engage in full recycling -- with pickup and recycling facilities handy to the people.
(7) That their educational system educates in greater depth. We need to realize there's more to death than keeping the graveyard smooth. More to life than the profit. More to self-respect than the white collar. More to courage than macho. And on. A simple place to start is to cut down on consultants, supervisors, administrators, buildings, texts, tests, and cut the classes in half. My grandson attends public school kindergarten with 25 others in his class. Can you imagine being cooped up in a room with 26 five-year-olds?
(8) That their churches appreciate the beauty and grandeur of this world and this life as much as, if not more than, they emphasize the life to come. My uncle used to say,"Take care of this one and the other one will take care of itself." Even Jesus said,"The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and I believe Him.
(9) That their national budget is balanced and they are not encumbering their grandchildren as I am mine with a Tantalus-debt. We can build a pressurized, oxygenated Moon City and fight Earth problems too. We toss millions of (paper) dollars around as if they were bubblegum wrappers -- $1 million each to Betty and Gerald Ford to appear on television, $2 million for a Jane Fonda movie, $1 million a year to Barbara Walters, $l million for unwritten books. Our education needs to help us rearrange our priorities.
(10) That it is fashionable to be kind and generous rather than sophisticated and competitive, but that they can be unpretentious and still have a healthy respect for germs. That their causes will be worthwhile and their protests thoughtful. That their justice will be served by the spirit rather than by circumvention of the law. That their media will accentuate the positive rather than the negative. That their television will be a more uplifting living room guest. That they do not feel sorry for themselves and whine and complain but say Grace over what they have and then get busy.
Georgia Earnest Klipple, schoolteacher whose searching articles have appeared in the Observer through the years, lives in Austin.
What's your reaction? Or, tell us your views about 25 in the future!
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