As I thought about this edition of Sidebars,
I became worried about all of the disturbing topics to choose from. The world
seems so precarious, the future so worrying.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s destruction
of the White House continues unabated. I just had the privilege of seeing the
play Hamilton and was reminded of how
former world leaders wrote thoughtful, often elegant, beautifully crafted and
historically preserved letters. And then there’s Twitter!
I wouldn’t know how to describe this man’s
personal attacks from the Oval Office on the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
the institution that, in effect, protects him. And, yet, it seems like many
people are getting used to Trump or ignoring him. Is he, perhaps, becoming
At home in Canada, the Indigenous community
is angry, and the accommodation paths ahead are worrying. Provinces are
disagreeing with each other on the use of natural resources.
On the world stage, Russian leader Vladimir
Putin menacingly struts after cementing his tenure in a questionable election.
He laughed at allegations — indeed, mounting evidence — that he or his agents
had anything to do with the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter on
Trade wars, climatic weather disruptions,
famine, the quiet rise of the mysterious China, the North Korean puzzle, Brexit
and nationalistic isolationism all raise real worries for the future of our
world. And then there’s Facebook, stolen privacy and the erosion of trust.
My potential topics all seem so gloomy and
then I remembered the powerful demonstrations and articulate comments by young
people in their determination to rise against the proliferation of guns in the
United States. A sense of hope took over.
We obviously worry about our young adults.
We worry about our young adults being
addicted to social media. So much time is spent glued to their electronic
devices. Even at meals, it seems we should set another place for the iPhone.
Snapchats of the meal have replaced grace.
They seem to us not engaged, disconnected
from the present, disinterested in the future and perhaps missing something.
So, I reached out to a few young people between the ages of 18 and 23 to get a
It’s me that’s missing something. They are
incredible. They are informed and have well-thought-out opinions. They believe
that the borders that used to divide everyone have pretty much crumbled as they
are exposed and connected to different cultures and people around the
They are less racist — or, at least, much
more open and accepting of social issues.
They reject the label of laziness and
rather explain their creativity in finding simpler ways of doing things.
They are not slaves to technology, but they
see themselves as the first generation to resourcefully grow up with, adapt to
and understand it. They emphasize the positive impacts of technology in health
care, science and the environment.
They see humans as human, rather than silos
of race, gender or status.
Young women have new, vibrant, important
leadership voices. Their circle of real friends seems to be wider.
These young people embrace and value
education and are imbued with a sense of achievement and innovation.
Confronted by the reality of mental illness
in their own peer groups, they talk about it openly and support each
I think they have moral compasses and lines
in the sand. They know how to party, but they don’t drink and drive. There is a
respect for the poor, the sick, the disadvantaged and those of different sexual
identification. They recognize injustice and are not afraid to take a stand. They
see through and reject the politics of propaganda and soon-to-be-broken
campaign promises. They want affordable and substantial change.
There is something else. It is difficult to
define, but there seems to be, although a rejection of organized religions, a
sense of spirituality about them. They are not rigid; their love and awareness
of life is clearly evident. Perhaps we should listen to them a bit more. They
will challenge our misconceptions. Indeed, we may worry a bit less. The kids
are all right. I hope a lot of them go to law school. I suspect we will be in
good hands going forward.