Talking 'bout my parents' generation.
Warning: It’s a rant. I’ve been thinking about this particular subject for a while and I figured I’d let the rest of you know what my thoughts are.
I have a bone to pick with those who have gone before. I don’t have a bone to pick with my parents, mind. They are wonderful, upstanding people who put both me and my sister through college, expected my sibling and I to succeed in life because of the God-given gifts we have, and generally did a good job raising Good Kids who later turned into Good Adults Who Vote. The Storybook Mom occasionally forgets that we have actually made that jump from Good Kids to Good Adults and was more than slightly disturbed to realize that she had raised at least one kid who is an Independent who occasionally votes Democratic, but at this date (considering that one of the Storybook Children is actually thinking seriously about Marriage and Kids In My Future) seems to be coming around. Mom and Dad, in general, were in tune with their parents’ values and transmitted those values on to their kids, to the general benefit of all concerned.
Herein lies my beef: The preceding generation — the Boomers — has to be the most self-involved, self-referential, most irresponsible generation this country has ever produced. For a lot of the boomers, the Me Generation has never changed. They hold onto the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement as a touchstone from which they draw their power, and are seemingly oblivious to the fact that both have been over for thirty years and the resultant massacres in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos proved them terribly wrong. The idiocy spawned by that time period reverberates into the 21st Century, with Boomer-fed groups such as International ANSWER creating anti-war protests with tired, retreaded slogans from the 1960s complete with the music of the day.
What’s worse, to my mind, is those Boomers’ insistence on regarding the 60’s, and specifically their contribution to it, as a Golden Era where right-thinking Americans were united and good in their march towards….well, whatever the current cause was. Gen X and Y should be informed that the 60s were an amazingly awful time. Carnage on TV. Body bags. Spitting on American soldiers and calling them murderers when they came home from a horrible war that left many of them scarred both mentally and physically. Assassinations and riots on a regular basis. The real threat of nuclear annihilation. The nation deeply divided. That boomers like Howard Dean would be nostalgic for that era says a lot about the world view of young liberal and left-wing boomers in those days. They were insufferably arrogant then towards the “silent majority” who disagreed with them, and largely remain so to this day. One of the reasons that the “silent majority” was silent was because mainstream liberals (or whatever label you prefer) who had sympathy for the “idealistic” youth in the streets had a monopoly grip on the media. America did speak publicly with one voice because others weren’t allowed on the air. Think about the anger you hear when people sometimes talk about Fox News. Fox is doing the same things that the rest of the national media (with the exception of C-SPAN) have been doing for decades, but from the opposite side of the political spectrum. Thanks to talk radio, the internet, and now FoxNews, there is a genuine contest for the hearts and minds of America. I’m not saying that I believe that Fox News is holy writ, but I’m glad that there’s more than three channels bringing me news these days, in addition to blogs and the ability to read newspapers’ websites from halfway around the world.
The final indignity, to my mind, is their greedy, ever-increasing grasp on public resources in the form of expanding retirement entitlements at a time when all know that there will be a problem paying for them after the Boomers retire. They know it, but figure that their kids and grandkids will figure out some way to keep their parents and grandparents’ Social Security solvent. I have no doubt that my generation and my kids’ generation will figure out a way to keep Social Security a going concern for us too: they’ll cut benefits, to the howls of geriatric boomers.
Looking back over this post, I think I’ve maligned the innocent by lumping them with the guilty by generalization. Quite a few boomers got smacked by the School of Hard Knocks at some point in their lives and wound up OK. Many were OK to begin with. The Boomers I disagree with and consider a blot upon this country are the ones that yell about freedom of speech for themselves, but seek to deny to others, the ones who came up with the idiocy of “Zero Tolerance”, think that somehow you can stop evil if you file a brief with the World Court and who think that the United States of America is the most evil of nations. Some problems, you can only outlive. Hopefully, my generation will.