More than ever, the world needs a deus ex machina, a word derived from Latin and used to describe the point in an ancient Greek tragedy where a God was dropped onto the stage by a machine, sent down to fix an otherwise unfixable problem and provide the audience with a happy ending. The machine that did the dropping was called the deus ex machina, but it also came to represent divine intervention in solving the unsolvable problems that lowly mortals were unable to fix on their own.
Most days it feels as though we in the 21st century are in the middle of Greek tragedy with an untenable future and no real consensus on how to make it all work out. How will it end? Will the heroes be reduced to dust while the bad guys win the day? Will mankind be able to pass this tale of How We Saved the Planet down to our grandchildren’s children? And for Godsakes, where is our deus ex machina?
I believe that it’s not divine intervention, or aliens, or a prophet, but our children that are going to save us. Children like Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old climate change activist who knows that we have been dragging our feet on dealing with the worst of our issues — carbon that is heating up the planet — and is not afraid to tell us what she knows:
Or the Parkland high school kids who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida to become gun safety activists, and in the process, inspired a slate of gun safety legislation across the county — 67 new gun laws in 26 states passed in 2018, an unprecedented amount of legislation all thanks to a few kids who simply wouldn’t give up.
Or what about my favorite candidate for president, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, who, at least for me, stands out in the crowded democratic field because of his clear-eyed look into the future with the realization that the present will need retooling if we are going to make it there in one piece. Okay, he’s not a teen, but he’s young, still learning, and willing to evolve. If elected, he’ll be the youngest president ever at 37.
I’m not saying you have to be young to know how to fix things — we all know that kids can totally screw things up just as easily as adults — but we need to think young, and look at problems in a new way if we’re ever going to fix the mess we’ve created.
To youth-led activism and the deus ex machina kind of changes their energy and enthusiasm will provide.
Today is Day 25 of the #AtoZ blog challenge. I can see the finish line!