June 20, 2006

An Inconvenient Guilt

I suppose many people would call me fickle about my occupational future. Granted, a side affect of being raised in the post-humanist You-Can-Be-Anything era must be the startling number of future dolphin trainers and astronauts among the youth of today, but I suppose some would claim Ive held on to this idealism much longer than most. Up until a few years ago, I had steadfastly believed I would be the future President of the United States of America. I was that little girl with the pigtails and peace sign in every newspaper photograph of a war protest, I was the one spreading petitions to change school policies of attendance, I was the one that wanted to change the world. I had it all planned out, starting in Congress, drafting some revolutionary legislation, and catapulting into the center stage by my late thirties, all while keeping up with writing the Great American Novel, solidifying deals in my blossoming art career, and raising the All-American golden children of the twenty-first century.

Then came Advanced Placement American History, and with it, the ubiquitous coming-of-age onset of nihilistic cynicism. Completely blindsided by the deep-seeded corruption and collusion throughout the whole of American politics, I automatically shifted gears to a new career path, and decided I didnt want to bring any children, golden or otherwise, into a world so resistant to progress. Faced with the newly realized hypothesis that the change I wanted to facilitate was not going to come through politics, I set out to control public opinion directly, through journalism. Through the course of the past presidential administration, Ive sunk deeper into the appeasing promise of my future, confident in my decision to take a left turn off the highway to the White House. I became content with the goal of criticizing policy, seeing as I couldnt face the moral numbness it would take to draft it. Content, that is, until I saw a movie.

Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth startled me in a way I had never expected. I was instantly looking away from my comfort zone of sarcasm and historical perspective, and looking towards the reality of the future. Despite being billed as the most frightening film I would ever see, it wasnt only the scientifically validated impending doom of global warming that gave me chills, it was the revitalization of that forgotten motivation to change the world first hand. As the disturbing realities of scientific facts (The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade) after political ploys (the classification of global warming as a refutable theory and not an undeniable fact) after apocalyptic predictions (More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050) were piled high, I felt myself literally itching to drive myself directly back to that road to influence I had once found myself on.

Though truly frightened by the warnings of Gores stirring film, which I pray will be seen by millions, I was faced with something more that fear. I felt guilt. I felt that my past few years of cynicism had left a breach in the political levy, allowing polluted individuals to filter through the already damaged system. The prospect that international sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, completely destroying densely populated areas worldwide without any political efforts to prevent it, made my abandonment of the political sphere seem completely selfish. For the first time in years, I wanted to be a politician again.

Images of oil companies, military entanglements, and political denial of the inconvenient truth flashed by, both on the screen and in my mind. I no longer want to criticize, I want to take the reins, and I want to be able to apologize for the mistakes of the American Government on a worldwide scale. As reported by www.climatecrisis.com, If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced. I no longer feel content with laughing at the mistakes of our blundering government; I am now aching to change the path on which we find ourselves.

Please find the time to see this film, a work so powerful it was able to lift me out of the oppressive cloud of teenage cynicism, a work strong enough to bring the moral back to the political arena. While I might shift occupational gears again, as the fickle are wont to do, I pray that I will somehow find a way to herald in that elusive change, and hold on to the possibility that we as a nation may again find idealism in the face of so much inconvenient truth.


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