Imagine a child who has been told by a playmate that years ago white people owned black people like a family owns a lawn mower. She is appalled and approaches Grandpa to discover if it was really true, why it happened and how it ended. Grandpa does his best to explain how adults did things that children by instinct know are dreadfully wrong.
A couple decades from now-say the year 2032-a very similar conversation might go like this:
“Grandpa, is it true mommies used to kill their babies in their tummies?”
“Yes, Hannah. That was a sad time in our history. We are still dealing with some of that pain today.”
“Why, Grandpa, why? How could mommies do that?”
“You ask hard questions, Hannah. Many people back then thought that babies in mommies’ tummies were not real people. Our Supreme Court said that a mommy could kill the baby in her because it was not really a person but just bodily tissue, like a wart or a mole.”
“But Grandpa, how could they think like that?”
“Well, back then Mommies and Daddies got confused in their thinking. They said things to themselves like:
My boyfriend won’t stay with me if I have a baby
A baby would get in the way of next year’s vacation
I just can’t handle a baby right now
We have family problems. My child would be happier dead.
Part of the sadness is that the people who could have helped us solve our problems and made our lives happier never lived. Perhaps a Dr. Sara Winter would have discovered the cure for cancer. Secretary of State Randal Crest would have used his diplomatic arts to prevent the last war. The heartwarming novelist Linda Post would have soothed our broken hearts. But all of them, the friendly baker and funny car mechanic, were never born because their parents killed them before they could be born.”
“What stopped mommies from doing what they did?”
“Many of us thought if we could just change the laws we could stop it. We were partly right. What helped most was when people learned to help mommies who felt overwhelmed care for their babies. Others adopted children whose mommies felt they could not take good care of a baby. But what finally stopped it was our money collapse and the war.
Hannah, 50 million children were lost because of what confused mommies and daddies did. That’s a big number. They never grew up to help our government care for the weak and elderly. Our Social Security system collapsed. We were missing the people who could have defended us when the war came to America. Many of us died before the war was stopped. Only God could find a way to recover all that was lost. We are still missing those who could have been born to help us.”
“Grandpa, I don’t understand everything you said, but it makes me feel like crying.”
“Hannah, America has learned from our history and we are overcoming the pains. Every one of your playmates, and all of us, can be grateful that it’s over.”
Steven C Johnson
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