Jerry Kremer

Pondering my granddaughter’s future


A week ago, I had a chance to spend a delightful afternoon with my 2½-year-old granddaughter Logan. Logan was fortunate that during the Covid confinement, she had two parents working from home who could spend extra quality time with her, and as a result she’s an articulate and observant young girl. I know I sound like every other grandfather, but during those precious few hours, I wondered and worried what her world will be like in the next 20 to 30 years, and what challenges she will face.
Our current world is one big mess. The war in Ukraine is much more than a regional battle. It is a struggle between good and evil, and in any war there is always a chance that evil will prevail. We have crackpots running countries such as Russia and North Korea who have access to nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. For Logan’s sake, I hope these dying despots will refrain from trying to take the world with them.
Whether you agree or not, global warming is and will be a long-range threat to our quality of life. No sane person can ignore the continuous threats that nature poses to us. Massive forest fires, tornadoes, superstorms and flash floods are constant events here in the U.S. The current world leadership has failed miserably to deal with the root causes of global warming. I hope that Logan and her peers will be willing to do something aggressively to curb these changes, assuming it isn’t too late by then.
If you think technology is moving fast, just consider the past five years of changes and then try to imagine what our world will be like in 2040 or 2050. Most of us know little, if anything, about artificial intelligence. It will eventually dominate the way our society functions, and could eliminate millions of jobs, despite what the technology geeks say. Will there be a place for Logan in such a fast-moving environment? Women in today’s business world understand what the term glass ceiling means. How hard will it be for Logan to advance when she’s ready?
There is now an ongoing debate about how well our children are being educated to face the challenges of the future. Are we preparing them for the rapid changes that lie ahead? Will their families be able to afford the right education? Will they have a chance to be competitive when they face a new-age job market? Will the courses they take match what advanced technology will require?

I want my grandchild, and everyone else’s grandchild, to be ready to join a much different world than the one we live in now.
The past two years have been a terrible period for all of us as we struggled through the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. Home confinement and remote learning have dealt our children a psychological blow that will take years to wipe away, if it ever can be. The scientific community has done a brilliant job of creating medicines that challenge Covid-19 and many other viruses, and we all hope they will be available to children at every grade level. Maybe, just maybe, when Logan is a full-time student (if not before), we will have vaccines that can protect against any type of unanticipated strain.
There is so much more to hope for for Logan and her peers. The current divide in American thinking over so many issues is tragic. There are few, if any, normal discussions about our society’s problems; those discussions have become heated debates. Added to this frustration is the rise in prejudice and hatred against so many individuals and groups. This division in beliefs won’t disappear overnight, but if America has any hope of remaining a democracy, it has to end.
The few precious moments I had with my grandchild made me press my mind’s fast-forward button as I wondered what the world will be like a generation from now. I am hopeful that for all the children and grandchildren out there, their world will be a safe, happy and adventure-filled place.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?