We used to all be in this together


You know, these years could start slowing down now.

I will say that 2021, not the best year ever, certainly went by quickly. The year started and ended with COVID-19 booms, but the time in between felt like about 10 minutes.

That is just a symptom of aging, of course. Time flies faster and faster as we age; flying toward the final act of the play in which we are the star.

Our life.

I think about time more and more these days. Time past. Time ahead. What time I need to do this – what time I need to be someplace. Time is quite the taskmaster in our lives.

It is 2022 now. That just sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Here we are this far into the future, and we don’t seem to have learned much at all. Yes, technology is flying forward. And science is clearly showing us a wonderful path forward.

But people? We seem stuck in the Dark Ages. All of these advances happening all around us and we are still arguing about voting rights. We are not only not moving forward together, but we are also simply not moving forward.

Well, time certainly is moving forward. And I have a feeling that those of us who are still waging the social and political battles of the last 60 years are going to see the tire treads of progress on our backs.

The people making the decisions, people my age and older, are the people who need to step back. The future is not about us, and it shouldn’t be decided by us. We have already screwed things up pretty badly. Let’s give younger people the chance to move up and take charge.

Will they do better? Worse? I am not sure they can do worse.

There is always excitement about moving into a new year, but I also worry. I worry about this country. I worry about its future. I worry about its people, especially the younger people we are handing the future of this country off to. I worry about what they are getting from us.

We are like the kids who got a new present, destroyed it and then just handed it off to our younger brother or sister. Hey, it’s off our hands and I had a good time with it while it lasted.

I have talked about this with friends my age. We are so glad we aren’t young people launching into the adult world right now. The division is truly frightening. The opportunity to really screw everything up is right there for them.

And we gave it to them.

My hope, of course, is that younger people will right the ship. Things are constantly changing, and their change could get us on a better course.

Some people, of course, worry about change. But change is how we progress. Look at gay marriage. It was something not even considered when I was a kid. Then we heard how it would destroy traditional marriage. Well, that didn’t happen at all. In fact, all we have is more married people. The naysayers were wrong.

The naysayers are often wrong, and that is why they need to move aside.

I often hear people say they worry about the kind of world we are going to leave for our children. The truth is, right now we are leaving them a world of denial, division, pollution, anger and greed. We have not done well. We were given the football of promise this country has always had and fumbled it around the 50-yard line.

But as we move into the new year, I will try to look to a brighter future. A future where younger people will learn from our obvious mistakes and try to work together in spite of differences for a better country for all Americans. Yes, all.

We used to all be in this together. I hope one day we can be again.

Brad Jennings is the editor of the Ogle County Life.

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