Saturday, July 07, 2012

Baby Boomer Payback

We Baby Boomers were the most spoiled generation, or so we were told by the generation that parented us. The generation that we spawned seemed to agree, once it gained its full voice. We didn’t ask for it, but we’ve been the target audience since we could turn on a television.

Consequently, we've been told we've used our numbers to bully the other generations with which we’ve shared resources and space. Whether we meant to, or not, maybe we have.

Although a lot of us died in Vietnam, in one way or another, it seems we’ve been mostly remembered by other generations for our protests of the war.

Likewise, we Baby Boomers have been known for decades for our fretting about the environment, as well as our penchant for taking lots of drugs -- legal and otherwise.

The greatest portion of the blame for whatever is most objectionable about the American culture has routinely been laid at my generation’s feet by our critics. When you hear arch conservatives bellyaching about the permissiveness of the '60s, they're putting down my age group and we know it, because we’re used to it.

When we Boomers traded our collective soul to the devil, in exchange for lifetime easy access to the TV shows and pop music of our youth, we had to know the price would be heavy. Those of us who didn’t know it must have been wearing blinders, or earplugs … or been way too high.

Now comes the grinning devil himself; he brings the tab: We will be the last generation to suffer through its so-called "golden years" under America’s greed-driven, broken down health care system.

Obamacare is a big issue in this election year. In the context of the 2012 political climate, debating the pros and cons of extending proper care to all citizens seems reasonable. That, while the rest of the developed nations of the world look at us and wonder why in hell Americans want to continue to live in the past, when it comes to protecting the nation's workforce and keeping it healthy.

Eventually, just like the resistance to allowing women to vote, just like the resistance to establishing the Social Security program, just like the resistance to integration, the resistance to universal health care will crumble into dust and blow away. The march of time will eventually make today's resisters look just as mean and stubborn as their forebears. 

When it comes to how health care will be delivered, by the time our children are our age the USA will have changed. Please note, I say that because it’s clear to me that what we’re doing now is unsustainable. The change will be imposed on society, some day ... but not today.

Unfortunately, I suspect many bad things will have to go down before the public wakes up and demands the change of its politicians. A full-blown epidemic of some sort would probably hasten the day.

In the meantime, this geezer has no health insurance. Haven’t had it in nearly 30 years. There are millions of Baby Boomers in the same boat and history has a part for us to play:

We will be the last generation to die by the millions for the lack of basic health care. Our final role will be collective martyrdom. One fine day, much will be made of our suffering. The wounds to our dignity will be decried in passionate speeches as having been avoidable.  

Once we're gone, maybe the Baby Boomers' collective reputation will go through some rehabilitation. Our dear grandchildren might come to see us in a better light.

They will have universal health care ... unless, of course, that aforementioned epidemic goes really sour. If basic health services aren't available to all citizens, rich or poor, if such an emergency arises, the payback could end up extending to more than just one generation.

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