The mere thought of the baby boomers finally no longer being in control of my nation is enough to make me jizz in my pants, but until they actually are no longer in control, they’re still in control.
My fantasy, I guess, is that they would be selfless for just once and fling themselves off steep cliffs like lemmings (in an environmentally friendly way, of course; I guess that we would have to stagger their cliff-leaping so that the oceans could accommodate the decomposition). Or that we institute a “Logan’s Run”-like policy — now. (I’ll be generous and up the permanent retirement age to 65.) Carousel, anyone?
The boomers fought authority in the 1960s and the 1970s only so that they could party. Sex, drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll, you know. Once they became the age of their real or perceived oppressors, however, they became the oppressors, and it turns out that the only group whose rights they ever were fighting for was their own.
The boomers are the first generation in American history that didn’t give a flying fuck about making conditions better for the generations that follow them. Instead, the boomers have been, in the words of Paul Begala, “a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland.” (Begala correctly terms the boomer generation “the worst generation“; no other American generation has come as close as the boomers have to destroying the entire fucking nation.)
The funny thing is that the hordes of boomers had thought that they could devour everything and then die, but their voraciousness has been such that things in the United States of America have seriously gone to shit before they have kicked off, and thus they now have to experience themselves that which they had figured only my generation (“Generation X”) and succeeding generations would have to experience.
Anyway, what has inspired my anti-boomer rant is this Associated Press story from today:
NEW YORK – When George W. Bush lifts off in his helicopter on Inauguration Day, leaving Washington to make way for Barack Obama, he may not be the only thing disappearing into the horizon.
To a number of social analysts, historians, bloggers and ordinary Americans, Jan. 20 will symbolize the passing of an entire generation: the baby-boomer years.
Generational change. A passing of the torch. The terms have been thrown around with frequency as the moment nears for Obama to take the oath of office. And yet the reference is not to Obama’s relatively young age — at 47, he’s only tied for fifth place on the youngest presidents list with Grover Cleveland.
Rather, it’s a sense that a cultural era is ending, one dominated by the boomers, many of whom came of age in the ’60s and experienced the bitter divisions caused by the Vietnam War and the protests against it, the civil rights struggle, social change, sexual freedoms and more.
Those experiences, the theory goes, led boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, to become deeply motivated by ideology and mired in decades-old conflicts. And Obama? He’s an example of a new pragmatism: idealistic but realistic, post-partisan, unthreatened by dissent, eager and able to come up with new ways to solve problems.
“Obama is one of those people who was raised post-Vietnam and really came of age in the ’80s,” says Steven Cohen, professor of public administration at Columbia University. “It’s a huge generational change, and a new kind of politics. He’s trying to be a problem-solver by not getting wrapped up in the right-left ideology underlying them.”
Obama, it must be said, is technically a boomer; he was born in 1961. But he long has sought to draw a generational contrast between himself and the politicians who came before him.
“I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage,” he wrote of the 2000 and 2004 elections in his book, The Audacity of Hope.
It’s been a while since historians spoke of generational change in Washington. Fully 16 years have passed since Bill Clinton, the first boomer president, took office. Before that, presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush — seven straight — were part of the World War II generation, or what Tom Brokaw has termed the “Greatest Generation.”
If Obama isn’t a boomer in spirit, then what is he? Not exactly a member of Generation X, though obviously that generation and the next, Generation Y (also known as Millenials) embraced him fully and fueled his historic rise to the presidency.
“Gen Xers are known to be more cynical, less optimistic,” says social commentator Jonathan Pontell. “Xers don’t write books with the word ‘hope’ in the title.”
Some call late boomers like Obama “cuspers” — as in, [on] the cusp of a new generation. One book has called it the 13th generation, as in the 13th generation since colonial times. And Pontell, also a political consultant in Los Angeles, has gained some fame coining a new category: Generation Jones, as in the slang word ‘jonesing,’ or craving, and as in a generation that’s lost in the shuffle.
Jonesers are idealistic, Pontell says, but not ideological like boomers. “Boomers were flower children out changing the world. We Jonesers were wide-eyed, not tie-dyed.” …
“It may be technically correct to call [Obama] a boomer,” says Douglas Warshaw, a New York media executive who, at age 49, is part of whatever cohort Obama is in. “And it’s in the Zeitgeist to call him a Gen Xer. But I think he’s more like a generational bridge.” He adds that Obama got where he was by “brilliantly leveraging the communication behaviors of post-Boomers,” with a campaign waged across the Web, on cell phones and on social networking sites….
Obama’s biracial heritage also plays into the generational shift, [says Montana Miller of Bowling Green State University]. “It’s so emblematic of how the world is changing,” she says. “So many people are now some sort of complicated ethnic mix. Today’s youth are completely comfortable with that.”
Will Obama speak of generational change when he stands on the podium to issue his inaugural address? Given some of his rhetoric on the campaign trail, it’s reasonable to think he will — just as, some six months before he was born, JFK pronounced on Inauguration Day that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.”
Interestingly, Kennedy is often claimed by boomers to be one of their own, even though he was nothing of the kind; born in 1917, he’d be 91 now. In the same way, many Gen Xers and even Gen Yers like to claim Obama, too.
“As humans we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, part of a page in a history book,” Pontell says. And at least for now, he adds, “Obama’s a rock star, and people are dying to call him one of their own.”
I, for one, admittedly got a little tipsy, but never flat-out drunk, on the Obama Kool-Aid, and so while I’m glad that our next president is under age 50 — I supported Obama mainly to ensure that boomer Billary Clinton didn’t get the Democratic presidential nomination — I wouldn’t say that I am “dying to call [Obama] one of [my] own,” and I don’t expect The Rise of the Xers to come under President Obama. He seems too eager to please everyone for there to be any kind of a revolution.
And, as the news article above points out, Obama is generationally cuspy. Technically, given his birth year, he is a boomer, and when someone is cuspy like that I look at his or her characteristics to see which generational side he or she leans toward. My boyfriend, for instance, born in 1962, technically is a boomer, but he’s a cuspy boomer, and if he leaned more on the boomer side than on my side (Gen X), there’s no way in hell that I could have been with him for more than the past year now.
And when I examine Obama’s behavior, he seems to be truly cuspy, that is, right smack dab in the middle between the boomers and the Xers. He kisses Zionist ass*, for instance, just like boomer Billary Clinton does, and his selection of bloated baby boomer Prick Warren, who reminds me of a Jerry Falwell Jr., to give the invocation at his inaugration also smacks of a choice that Billary would make (remember when she cozied up to the rednecks during the Democratic presidential primary season, declaring herself to be one of them and declaring Obama to be an “elitist”?). Yet as the article above eludes to, Obama also was able to exploit the power of the Internet and to energize the youth vote far more effectively than the crusty Clinton could.
Obama has demonstrated that he can go either way: he can be progressive (such as with his opposition to the Vietraq War, for which Billary Clinton voted in October 2002), true to his Generation X side, or he can kiss the establishment’s ass (such as with his blind obedience to Israel and his refusal to disinvite homophobe Prick Warren to his inauguration), true to his boomer side.
My best guess is that Obama’s presidency always will be like this, straddling both sides of the generational divide, and thus I anticipate that the boomers will be a thorn in our national side for years to come.
Only rather than directing our national policy, their bloated corpses will overfill our nursing homes, reminiscent of the bloated denizens of the film “WALL-E,” manatees of human beings in their floating lounges with TV screens perpetually in front of their faces and straws perpetually in their mouths, and we will have to try to find the resources to take care of their demanding, dependent asses even though they have depleted all of our resources.
Or will we?…
“Soylent Green,” anyone?
*In the timely documentary “Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains,” former President Jimmy Carter explains how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) grills candidates for office, and if those candidates aren’t 100 percent on the same page with Israel and the Zionist cause, AIPAC will fund those candidates’ opponents. Thus, we see Democratic as well as Repugnican candidates in the pocket of AIPAC. Really, we should just move our nation’s capitol from D.C. to Jerusalem, since it is Jerusalem that calls all of the shots for the United States of America.