WARNING: Crank factor at %110. So rarely do I write something I KNOW will engender hate mail. Have at it!
Chris Bowers over at MyDD has an open plea to older activists -- stop the Vietnam comparisons. His discussion is based on several pragmatic message-oriented ideas.
But this actually touches on something that's been annoying me. The Baby Boomers are killing this country.
Mmmmm. Give me a moment. Let me savor the coming flame war from that statement.
Ahhhh. Back to it then.
As I've posted before, I could not BELIEVE that during the last election, when we had an actual war going on right now, we were watching the Baby Boomers politicians -- AND VOTERS -- settle their Vietnam shit. No, fuck you, Pfc. Jenkins on your second tour through Fallujah, Daddy's gonna vote based on who pissed him off back in '73. I still see, in the occasional angry e-mail or comment on my site, the world "hippie" or "commie" thrown around. When I see interviews of average American folk, thsoe ideas resonate even more.
Jesus. H. Christ. Even the COMMIES don't use communism anymore. The Soviet Union's a goddam museum, Fidel rules over an empire the size of my backyard, North Korea went from "communist" to "crazy-ocracy" decades ago, and China -- China is our biggest foreign asset holder. Are they a threat? Shit yeah. Are they the exact sam ethreat in the exact same way they were twenty/thirty years ago? Hell no. The only people resembling "hippies" left are other Baby Boomers unwilling to let go of their glory days.
You understand, this isn't a liberal or conservative thing. This is just weird. By definition of the "boom" a single generation -- and hence the ossified political beliefs of that generation, for good or ill -- have enormous demographic weight. And thanks to advances in medical technology, unlike other aging voting blocs they won't ... goddam ... die. And they'll keep on voting.
So we'll keep having to put up with policy discussion framed in the terms of their youth, often in terms of enemies and issues that don't even exist anymore. We have, by the numbers, the shittiest health care system in the world, but we can't change it because that'd be "socialism." We can't have honest discussions about the best way to prosecute the war, because any disagreement of that brings back echoes of "those filthy protesters" (wrongly, of course, but it ain't helping) and appeasement. (Yeah, the Brits really appeased the shit out of the IRA. Glad they never stopped to try different approaches to the problem). Statistics show that for a younger generation, gay rights is essentially a non-issue, but older freaked-out-by-t3h-gAy voters turn out in droves to retard our evolution as a culture. We're fighting a stateless world-wide shadow organization of loosely affiliated terror networks by using the same nation-state containtment warfare model of the past. We've gone backward on our approaches to energy policy since the first massive crotch-kick of the oil embargoes. The "War" on drugs which consistently targets the identifying drug of the Boomer counterculture -- marijuana -- when redstate counties in America are screaming for help with meth. Anyone want to count the number of ex-Nixon guys currently in charge of the government? I'll wait here.
This is as they say half in jest and all in earnest ... actually, think about it. What was the last geniunely new idea we heard in politics? I'd say the role of Evengelical Christianity in establishing a Dominionist government is the most singular new player on the market, but that's a.) been coming for twenty years and was funded by angry culture warriors of the 70's and 80's and b.) is really just a very, very old idea dressed up in Power Point presentation.
At the very least, with the change in life expectancies, we will see the cycle of idea renewal in public discourse slow down radically. The Boomer's demographic weight only creates a more readily visible example of that. We're not even seeing the usual gap (and probably healthy conflict), ideals of the kids vs. their parents. It's now kids vs. grandparents. In a world rapidly filled with other more aggressive nations and an almost exponential increase in the pace of technological innovation -- it's not a happy combination of factors.
The following is not addressed, of course, to the people who actually went out and risked their lives back in the day ... but instead, to the other 99%. Quick note:
Conservative boomers: you did not stop communism. The fundamental untenability of communism as an economic model in the real world and human nature's corruption, combined with the evolution of information technologies -- and Pope John Paul 2 -- stopped communism.
Liberal boomers: you did not bring about civil rights. Black people who had the stones to get firehosed and killed did. Black people. It's their damn win. Lyndon Johnson's willingness to enforce the federal government's will at the point of a gun didn't hurt. Jesus, if every white person over fifty I know who said they marched with the civil rights protestors really did, they wouldn't have had time for Woodstock.
People. You got stoned and laid and got to riot in the 60's. You got stoned and laid and learned to dance in the 70's. You got coked up and laid in the 80's. You made money during the long economic boom of the 90's. As is traditional, in your 50's and 60's you're running the joint. That's a good run. A good, loooooong run. Why so goddam hard done by? It's not all about you anymore. Please. PLEASE.