Imagine If Becoming Exemplary Ancestors Became Our Primary Aim

Imagine If Becoming Exemplary Ancestors Became Our Primary Aim

Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a man who never should have been elevated to that position in the first place — has suggested we designate the violent MS-13 gang a terrorist organization. Fine. But what would you call Trump and his gang of Republicans who have eviscerated the Environmental Protection Agency? Thus diminishing our already slim chance of saving this perilously polluted and plundered planet.

Nine years ago, a book titled Becoming Good Ancestors – by David Ehrenfeld – was published. I didn’t like that title then; and I still don’t like that title now. Why? Because it sets the bar far too low. If we are to be successful in terms of saving the planet, we need to aim towards becoming exemplary ancestors. This Trump administration only makes that task seem even more Sisyphean.

Additionally, let me briefly mention two articles in yesterday’s Newsday that caught my attention. One had to do with Trump; the other, didn’t. But I’ll mention them both.

Lane Filler, a member of Newsday’s editorial board, had a great line in his opinion column — which I’ve truncated here: “Trump no more understands history than a giant panda understands particle physics.” This was in response to something Trump recently said about former U.S. President Andrew Jackson. (“In the minefield with President Trump / There’s no defending his mortifying behavior, but his defenders try and try” May 3, 2017)

The other article (The Associated Press, “NY bill would ban declawing of cats” May 3, 2017), reports on a proposed New York State law that would ban cat declawing (or the severing of tendons) for non-medical reasons. Australia and several European countries, according to the article, already have bans on cat declawing. Jennifer Conrad, a California veterinarian who founded Paw Project, a group pushing for the ban, is quoted in the article as stating: “It’s the amputation of a cat’s toes to protect a couch. None of us went to vet school to protect couches.” I did a quick online search and found that there is a 56 minute film starring Conrad, titled The Paw Project. Of the 71 reviews on, 97% give it 5 stars and 3% give it 4 stars. That’s quite impressive.

Getting back to the topic of Ehrenfeld’s book, imagine the kind of world we could create if we made becoming exemplary ancestors our primary aim. If we are competitive creatures by nature, imagine if we let that aspiration be what drives our competitive spirit. Just a thought.