This exploration of what equal rights means in our world shows mainly how far we’ve drifted away from that goal. Many people set course for it during and after the Enlightenment in the 1700s, but in recent generations there’s been the assumption that all the hard work has been done.

Not so. Autopilot isn’t working. It’s past time to get back on track.

I see the future in grayish terms. We’re not doing anywhere near enough to avoid disaster, so we’ll walk into it. We’re headed for a dark age and who knows how long it will last. That depends on how bad the environmental damage will be and whether we react to the trouble by pulling together or falling apart. It could be many decades, or it could be centuries. If the worst case climate change comes to pass, it could be millenia.

After the death of earlier empires, what’s emerged from the rubble has been better. There’s no reason to assume it will be different this time. So, even though I’m not enough of a seer to know what lies on the other side of trouble, I’m pretty sure it’ll feel like waking from a bad dream.

I’ve set these thoughts down in the hope that they can help toward bridging the dark time. Maybe they’ll be lost too soon to do any good, but this is all I can do. I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do much besides think.

This work is dedicated to all of those who have more of what it takes than I do, who’ll carry us through the time of trouble to the other side.