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WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: The Messes You Leave

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I wrote this perspective on the morning June 6th, the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord that began the liberation of Western Europe. I also just recently completed my 30th year working with high school and middle school kids. Those two events, one monumental and one definitely not, have got me pondering the messes that one generation leaves for another. 

 

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The Normandy Invasion was necessary because of the mess created in the 1920’s and 1930’s by the ruling powers in both Europe and the United States. The result was tens of thousands of Allied soldiers sacrificing life and limb to literally save the world.  

 

Each passing generation has a bad habit of leaving its own version of a Normandy for following generations to fix. The kids who graduated from the high schools, trade schools and colleges and universities across this country this year certainly have their work cut out for them. My generation, as result of a combination of myopia and head-stuck-in-the-sand syndrome, has left them with a planet on the brink, oceans full of plastic, emboldened racists, an economy even more rigged in favor of the super-rich, an energy system still based on fossil fuels, and a crumbling infrastructure.  

 

But, with all that said, I believe these kids and young adults will be up to the task. They are more attuned to social and economic justice then they are given credit for. They are not the hothouse flowers the “old” folks say they are. And most importantly, they are not likely to back down from the challenge we have left for them. 

  

I’m Andrew Nelson, and that’s my perspective. 

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