I don’t want to get into a pissing contest here and apologies in advance to any noders who are not members of what mauler calls “The Worst Generation” but since I qualify for that category I feel obligated to share my thoughts.
I was born in 1958 so that puts me in the category of Baby Boomer. I am a white male who was raised in a strict Republican household in a middle class neighborhood. As a matter of fact, I think my father was the role model for Archie Bunker. Both of my parents worked while I was growing up and since this was long before there were after school programs I learned how to take care of myself at an early age. I also was raised in a somewhat Catholic environment so the hypocrisy between what I was taught at school and what was practiced at home wasn’t lost on me.
To escape my upbringing from the “Greatest Generation” I joined the Marine Corps when I was seventeen. It was there that I got to see the world for what it really is. I met people (kids mostly my age or close to it) of different faiths, race and ethnicity and once I got out four years later have voted Democrat ever since.
Rather than let emotion or flowery rhetoric dictate my point of view, I’ll try and stick to some facts. I'll save the emotion and flowery rhetoric part until the end.
Let’s look at the mid to late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Let’s start by saying many members of the Baby Boomers were drafted into a war that they inherited from the so called Greatest Generation and that they did not want to fight. Those who avoided or fled the draft risked going to prison and believe me, they were plenty of them to go around.
They also rose up and took down a corrupt administration as well as ending that war that they did not want to fight.
I don’t what the “cultural excesses of the late 1970’s” are. That seems like a pretty nebulous term to me but I do remember what life was like under the Carter Administration. There’s no doubt in my mind that he is a good, decent human being who meant well but here’s a few facts about how the country was being run during those years. Let me state clearly, I’m no big fan of Mr. Reagan but if you look at these numbers, is it any wonder that the country “crowned him as their king”?
If you needed a job, good luck getting one. Unemployment rates averaged around 8 percent.
Stagflation which Wikipedia defines as “ a portmanteau of stagnation and inflation, is a term used in economics to describe a situation where the inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows down, and unemployment remains steadily high." During the Carter years that number came in at 13.5 percent.
Wanna buy a house? Be prepared to fork over interest to the tune of 21.5 percent.
During the Carter years, the deficit more than doubled from 27 billion to almost 60 billion dollars.
If you drove a car, be prepared to pay record high prices, wait your turn in line and even if you managed to get to the pump, endure shortages and rationing.
That was just on the domestic side. America was also being embarrassed on a global scale. Remember the Iran Hostage Crisis? How about the disastrous rescue attempt? Let’s also not forget the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan also took place under his watch.
If that’s being called “handed opportunity on a silver platter” I’m more than a little confused.
Moving on, I had to break out my dictionary to figure out what the term “bulbous demographic excrescence” even meant and I’m still struggling with it. I do know that during “my time”, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella and the whooping cough have all but been eradicated if people were smart enough to vaccinate their children, which by the way, most of my generation did. Today, there seems to be some kind of uproar among younger parents vaccinating their kids, let me be blunt, those parents are idiots. While there still is no cure for many forms of cancer, the survival rate for those who were unfortunate enough to contract it, has greatly increased.
Moving on to Social Security. Currently, in order to get my full benefits I would have to work until the age of 66 years and 8 months. I just went to the SS website and used their calculator to come up with some ballpark numbers. Based off my current income if I “retired” at age 62 I’d get $1,267.00 dollars month. If I hold off another five years, I’d get $1,841.00 per month and if I stick it out to age 70 I’d pocket $2,426.00 per month. For me, and many others like me who have never taken a dime in the form of handouts or unemployment, that’s a startling low number for a system to which I will be contributing to for over 50 years. There's also been a lot of chatter recently about raising the retirement age to 70. Maybe I’ll do Gen X and Gen Y a favor and kick the bucket early and help "unclog the system."
I’d also like to point out that during my time tobacco use and advertising has been curtailed, a woman’s right to choose (although somewhat restricted) is still available, gay marriage is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality across the entire country and wages for working women are becoming closer to that for wages for working men doing the same jobs.
Here comes the flowery rhetoric part.
With regards to many of the younger generation who think they have it so bad, I’d like to quote a blog I read awhile back that stated the following:
"one of the great secrets of human nature is that the one thing people want more than love, security, sex, chocolate or big-screen TV's is to feel hard done by."
"Why? Because being hard done by is the shit. Feeling hard done by is the sweetest of drugs. If you're being persecuted -- it must mean you're doing the right thing, right? You get the mellow buzz of the moral high ground, but without arrogantly claiming it as your own. You get an instant, supportive community in a big dark scary world of such scope it may well literally be beyond rational human processing. When you are hard done by, you get purpose in a life where otherwise, you'd have to find your own. And when you ride that high, then no amount of logic, no pointing out that in actuality you and your beliefs are at a high point of popularity and influence for the last hundred years -- is going to pry that sweet crack-pipe of moral indignation from your hands."
To that, I say amen.
I’ll address one last thing and that’s the voting issue. Yes, we vote and do so in large numbers. Of course we (or at least I) were raised to consider it our civic duty and yes, many of us will vote for our self interests. It’s only natural to do so. For those of you who are younger, it’s much easier today to get to the polls than it was for the Baby Boomers so you must ask yourself “why” you’re not spending a couple of hours every few years to make your voice heard.
I have a suggestion on how to do just that. Quit playing your video games and staring in to your phone. Unplug your Ipad or Ipod or whatever you call it and take those damn ears plugs out of your ears. Maybe then you’ll see and hear something worthwhile in the form of content rather than just looking to be entertained.
And yeah, for those of you who might be wondering, I still vote Democrat.