I received an email from The New York Review of Books, though I do not remember signing up for their mailing list, advertising gifts for the Class of 2020. Enclosed in the email was a catalogue of thin silver bracelets with quotes from famous authors. The advertisement’s featured bracelet had a quote from Thoreau in a handwriting-like font that said: “Go confidently in the / direction of your dreams— / Live the life you’ve imagined.” I will not be buying one of these silver bracelets, nor have I learned, these past few months, how to bake sourdough.
These actions mark a critical and pivotal moment in the story of Western democracy, specifically in the interconnected world of the 21st century. Never before has my generation—a generation that has grown up in the so-called globalized world of “time and space compression” in which everything has become within our grasp—faced a situation where our individual liberties were curtailed for the good of the many.