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Dr. Wayne Willis

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” —Steven Rogers

Dystopia is all the rage in the media these days. The polar opposite of utopia’s optimistic vision of a near-perfect time and place, dystopia imagines a dark period of oppression, corruption and misery just around the corner. Many books and movies the last few decades, like “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Hunger Games,” paint a grim, dystopian future.

Last century, it was British futurists George Orwell and Aldous Huxley with their pessimistic outlooks. Orwell, in “1984,” published in 1949, working from what humankind had just experienced under Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, foresaw new totalitarian dictatorships arising, bearing the image of a boot stamping on a human face. Huxley, in “Brave New World,” saw a society destroying itself from within with an abundance of pleasure, lulled into complacency with drugs, sex, consumerism and superficial entertainments.

Here we go again, entering a whole new decade. This decade one century ago carved a name for itself in history books. We refer to that decade as “the roaring ’20s.” When I went off to college in 1960, one of our textbooks my freshman year was titled “The Placid ’50s.” You wonder, in 2029, how historians will look back and summarize the ’20s of our 21st century.

Will the planet’s air and water be dirtier or cleaner than now? Will cancer be cured? Will most automobiles be driverless?

Globally, few, if any, of us will make much difference. “Que, Sera, Sera,” Doris Day sang in 1956 (“Whatever will be, will be.”)

All we control is our individual attitude.

Just give hope a chance.

Happy New Decade.

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