If somehow Earth and what passes for civilization on it both manage to survive for another 500 years or so, future historians and scientists may have access to the record of our times.
They'll be appalled to learn how low their species once sank.
* Males in government actually wrote laws regulating women's body parts, with rules about menstrual periods (Arizona), vaginas (Virginia), sexual activity and pregnancy protection. Doctors were actually slain for providing health care to pregnant women.
"Barbaric!" some future historian might exclaim. "A law actually requiring vaginal penetration with some kind of primitive stick! Mandated rape!" She searched in vain for laws regulating penises, testes or male heterosexual activity.
*The supreme judicial panel in the land met to consider the constitutionality of a health care law that affected every single person under its jurisdiction, from birth to death -- without bothering to read the law being considered. “You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?” asked "Justice" Antonin Scalia, a member of the same political party whose members cheered when a political candidate, asked about the dilemma of seriously sick people without health insurance, said, "Let them die!"
*The executive branch of the government had the authority to track down, torture and kill any citizen it deemed to have been involved in "terrorist activities" or to have associated with or harbored any person or organization it deemed to be a possible terrorist threat. "Terrorism" and "terrorist" meant whatever the government said it meant. Citizens accepted these laws as "protection" and "homeland security."
* Having somehow survived the consequences of a generation that scoffed at climate science, these future historians and scientists might be horrified to learn that senior legislators and candidates for the highest elective office in the land scoffed at the evidence of climate change as "a hoax" for a greedy few scientists to extort government research money.
* Having developed a heat ray weapon that emitted "unbearable heat," the government decided that this was a really peachy keen thing to use for crowd control, because some people were getting uppity about little things like joblessness, sickness, oligarchy and war. After all, the government said, the heat ray was tested on military volunteers, most of whom survived when they ran away from it starting at a distance of 100 yards. Nobody tested the damage from exposure at, say, 83 yards.
*The most important government policy of all was to wage endless war. When the chief executive and his advisers feared that a war might be winding down, they simply started another one someplace else. It kept certain sectors of the economy really, really profitable.
These are just a few of the 21st Century treasurers that historians and scientists of the future might discover about us. Perhaps one of them might mention some of this within hearing of her 8- or 9-year-old daughter.
"Mommy," the child might say, "how could people have been so stupid as to allow such things?"
"Well," the future scientist might explain, "when homo sapiens first evolved, it was from apes who were much smarter than the creatures who ruled the earth in the early 21st Century."
"What does that mean," the child might ask, "homo sapiens?"
"It means wise man," the parent might reply. "Go figure."