, Gloucester, MA

September 7, 2013

Letter: Troubling signs with the passage of time

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Well, another one has bitten the dust — a summer that is.

I am not sure why, but I’ve long marked the passage of time not by my birthday or the New Year’s holiday, but by Labor Day.

That may have something to do with the annual childhood memories and rituals of closing up the beach house, saying good bye to life long summer friends from other parts of the country, and returning to the “real world” of the academic year.

Whatever it is, Labor Day is my marker for the passing of yet another year. It is a holiday full of nostalgia, memories, and, in recent years, unsettling thoughts about what lies ahead.

For example, this Labor Day, as the world seemed to be moving at near breakneck speed on so many fronts, I found myself, for the first time ever, almost glad my life is more than half over.

The day after this year’s holiday, the banner headline in our local paper read — “Command post, GHS”. My initial reaction to the headline was, “How sad and troubling. We are not only militarizing our domestic police departments in ways that are truly unprecedented, we are also converting our halls of public education into ‘command posts’ as that militarization process plays out across the country.”

On the same front page, another story detailed the explosion in the squid population, along with other warm water marine species, as local ocean temperatures rise at historic and unprecedented rates.

Yet across the country, in the halls of Congress, and in board rooms of more than a few corporations, there are those who continue to deny science and insist climate change is not real, not exacerbated by human activities, or anything but a socialist plot cooked up by evil leftists to destroy American capitalism.

Then, of course, there is our undeniable, societal addiction to technology. Just look around. Growing numbers of people seem, literally, almost unable to function or communicate without some form of the latest electronic gizmo clutched tightly in their hands.

Any terrorist looking to wreak havoc on American society doesn’t have to kill anybody anymore. He or she just has to have the technological know how to disrupt the “gizmo junkies’ ability to get a fix.

Yes sir, Labor Day is always a time of reflection and looking ahead.

Sadly, with all that’s going on in the world, reflecting was a much more pleasant and comforting exercise this year than looking forward.

I suppose that’s why the idea of spending a few months in a mountain village in Guatemala this winter is looking more and more appealing all the time.