Saturday, October 19, 2013

Boomer Guilt

Some of us were once hippies who had a central cause: we were going to right the most grievous wrongs we saw all around us. We couldn’t going to wait to get started, either.

Hey now! So we read antiestablishment journals and we marched. We announced to our parents' generation, shaped by the Depression and WWII, that the times were changing. Some of us told them to stand aside. As resisters, a few of us went to jail. More of us just stopped getting haircuts and started smoking pot.  

However, most of the 75 million, or so, baby boomers weren’t all that wrapped up in social causes. More of the children born between 1946 and 1964 were attracted to the hippies’ defiant look and the psychedelic rock music than they were to causes. Millions more boomers weren’t hippies at all; they didn’t identify with the counterculture at all.

Still, my generation has been characterized as one that was particularly idealistic in its salad days. Which makes it more than a little ironic that we have let our collective greed and the seeking of ease trump the spirit of most of our youthful causes. Although we baby boomers may have been slightly less willing to exploit powerless people than our predecessors, some of the ways we have knowingly allowed the future to poisoned have been shameful.

Start with the neglect of the nation's infrastructure. It’s the citizens/voters who are between the ages of 49 and 67 today who should not have let it happen. Then consider the damage that’s been done to the environment over the last three decades...

Assuming they can be fixed, my grandchildren are going to have to do some heavy lifting to fix the worst of the baby boomers' mistakes. Those kids' cause is waiting for them, like it or not.

No comments: