Dear American Kids,
Here is a partial list of the ways we have fucked this country up for you. For starters, we commercialized everything from basic human social interactions down to the schools you attend. This is why birthday parties require lots of disposable crap and gifts you don’t want or need, and why the schools you attend are filled with advertising and offer Coke and Pepsi at discounted prices. Somewhere along the way, we abandoned the idea of public goods and decided that everything has to pay for itself.
A little while after that process began, we learned that the Earth is heating up in a way that will kill and displace an uncountable number of people and make most of your lifetime a lot less pleasant than it otherwise would be. That was about thirty years ago, and in all that time we haven’t even attempted a solution on the scale this problem requires. Mostly we’ve sat on our hands because we like silly things like giant houses that require giant air conditioners and cars that can be mistaken for armored vehicles. We could’ve done more, but it would’ve required some small alterations in our lifestyles. I know that seems crazy, but you’ll understand when you’re older.
We decided not to be prejudiced against people because of their skin color, gender, or who they like to kiss, but also didn’t really do anything about it. Paying girls the same as boys is a nice idea, but it’d cost a lot of money and hurt some people’s feelings, so we sort of lost interest. Ditto for making sure that brown people have places to work and live that are safe and nice. When you grow up, maybe you guys can think of a way to make money by solving those problems.
None of this stuff is any one person’s fault. Mostly it’s a few jerks who dig in their heels on one thing each, and then the rest of us just sort of ignore them. Let’s say there’s a kid named Billy, and he always wants the swing at the end of the set. If anyone else is on his swing, he pulls them off, and if anyone tries to get him off that swing, he punches them. Pretty soon, you’d just ignore that swing, right? America works kinda the same way, except instead of a swing, it’s oil drilling, or charter schools, or prescription drugs, and instead of just one Billy, there’s thousands of them, enough for every swing.
If the rest of us all got together, we could get the Billies off the swings and take turns like civilized adults, but the Billies all look out for each other and kick *hard* when we try, so we mostly don’t. The good news is that most of the Billies are old, and some of them are even getting tired of hogging the swings. But we’ve left them on there so long that your lives are going to be a lot harder than they needed to be, and I’m sorry for that.
But cool stuff can still happen. I wrote this because a stranger on the internet asked me to. Her birthday’s coming up, and this goofy, pointless group of words is what she wanted from random people on-line. It won’t make any money for either of us, but it was fun, and doing something nice for someone — even if it’s silly — is pretty much always a good idea.