EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK: Flip the calendar, it’s 2001
I had surely thought we would at least have jet-powered hover cars by now.
When I was 10 years old or so, the year 2001 seemed unimaginably far away to me.
I did some mental arithmetic and figured out that I’d turn 30 in 2001.
At 30, I imagined, I would cut a dashing, adventurous figure -I would show up at my high school reunions clad in safari clothes, one-eyed and grizzled by the wild world, with a parrot on my shoulder and speaking a kind of Creole dialect no one but me could understand.
Sadly, I ended up not quite so grizzled at 30 – but I did go to Montana once.
What kind of world would it be in 2001, I wondered then. I figured we’d have gone to Mars and met aliens and yes, have jet-powered hover cars.
Instead, all we have are computers that surf to Belize or Botswana in an eyeblink, cloned sheep, cell phones, weather satellites and space shuttles, and there are fewer of us who’ve ever had to churn butter or pluck a chicken to get their evening meal.
We have it pretty easy, all things considered, even without the hover cars.
We still scuttle about trying to undermine the heights we are capable of, though. We still keep killing each other, in Israel and Indonesia and Manhattan and Los Angeles.
A 31-year-old man named Benjamin Belasco died at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day in the City of Angels, killed by a bullet that fell from the sky after being fired into the air by some neanderthal celebrator.
Benjamin Belasco got to see less than a few hours of the year 2001 before he died, and surely the pointless stupidity of his death occurred to him, and perhaps he thought a little less of his fellow man as he slipped away into the next life.
Happy New Year, Benjamin.
We are capable of the heights of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, the astounding beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge flashing scarlet in the sunset, the sweet little chorus that highlights the Beatles’ “In My Life.”
We can do great things, when we aren’t shooting guns into the air and killing total strangers.
This isn’t a plea for gun control, though, or a rant for the left or the right.
It is a plea for, as Abraham Lincoln called them, the “better angels of our nature” to fly higher, think longer, and dream deeper, at least a little bit.
We are kinder, I think, as a race than we were in 1901.
We should all try to be a little kinder, in this brave new century, and with luck and grace our children’s children’s children will cross another arbitrary dateline in 2101, entering a world better still than the fine one we gave them.
Sierra Sun Editor Nik Dirga
grew up in Nevada County.
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