The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of the SB News-Press. I'll update this post if/when it's published. (My first version omitted Iraq and Afghanistan as national crises, which I added by an amended letter to the editor. I surely hope they publish the amended version, because the omission of those two items by me in the original draft shows how deftly those issues have dropped from the public's--and my--consciousness, from crises to mere blips on the national psyche.)
Update: The letter (somewhat revised by the News-Press) was published on March 17, 2010.
Because the News-Press limits the length of these letters, I’ll try to squeeze my list of current global and national crises into 250 words.
Global crises: Atmospheric and oceanic warming. Declining oil reserves. Destruction of rain forests. Increasing species extinction. Diminishing saltwater fisheries. Decaying coral reefs. Shrinking natural habitats. Melting glaciers and icecaps. Increasing freshwater shortages. Growing wealth inequality. Spreading international terrorism and militarism. Ongoing nuclear proliferation. Worldwide overpopulation. Rising religious and immigrant intolerance. Continuing scourge of AIDS/malaria/poverty. Unabated political corruption.
National crises: Meltdown of financial sector. Rising unemployment and declining wages. Increasing homelessness. Continuing media consolidation. Impoverished local governments. Skyrocketing federal deficits and borrowing. Growing corporate influence over elections. Declining value of dollar. Continued outsourcing of manufacturing/technical jobs. Spreading child and adult obesity. Shrinking middle class. Widening income disparity. Restriction of civil liberties and growth of government secrecy. Congressional gridlock. Diminished charitable giving. Decline of retirement savings and real estate values. Ballooning home foreclosures. Increasing privatization of the military. North Korea. Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. Crumbling infrastructure. Increasing costs of living, credit and health care.
Well, I did it. However, I’ve listed only conditions that have appeared lately in the media, and only those that strike me as critical. There are likely scores more, depending on the knowledge and viewpoint of the observer.
My point is this: All these crises have arisen on our watch, while we American Boomers enjoyed the most sustained period of prosperity the world has ever known. Anybody besides me feel guilty?