I believe I would rather be alive right now than at any other time in human history.
Things are better now to be a woman with disabilities than they’ve ever been. Sure, problems of climate change, xenophobia, racism and bigotry abound but for the first time in my life, there are actual social consequences for being a denial-addled piece of shit. I have an incurable disease for which there is no known cure but there are treatments and therapies available to improve my life (and the lives of literally hundreds of thousands others with multiple sclerosis) that weren’t available when I was diagnosed just 10 years ago.
There are legal and social remedies for dealing with the toxic bullshit flung around by people who want to be left behind in their fairy-tale fantasy world of white, Christian, hetero-patriarchal, capitalist supremacy. There are real movements to reveal to the world that that a dozen billionaires are capable of ending the lives of 3.6 billion people living in poverty. We are living longer and society is going to have to come to grips with the idea that what is possible and desirable in an average lifespan.
When my grandmother was born, her expected lifespan was 60 years. By the time she reached 65, she could expect to live to 71. By the time she reached 75, her life expectancy was 84. She lived to be 88 and only in poor health for the last 2-3 years. This is real progress. These are real gains for humanity. I have reason to believe that we’re not only working to make lives longer, we’re looking for ways to make those lives better and healthier the whole way through.
The issue I have with living right now is that we’re very afraid in western culture of taking the long view. I think this is because no one really wants to sacrifice the modern comforts and relative wealth they have in order to make things better for generations they will never see or know or even care about. Those generations of humans who will not remember their name are in jeopardy because we’re not willing to hold those in power to account or hold ourselves accountable for the consequences of our lifestyles.
We’re okay with fighting for incremental change that doesn’t upset our individual apple carts. I fear that radical change that will benefit all not-billionaires isn’t going to happen until the global issues we face harm and kill a whole bunch of white people.
Even with all of that, I wouldn’t want to be alive at any other time. It’s not great out there, but it’s the best time we’ve ever had.