The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: Feeling Defensive Again

Posted on: March 27, 2014

Good Thursday, Widdershins.   I do not know how many years I have in front of me.  I’m pretty certain, however, that I have many more behind me.  All in all, those have been years that have made me generally proud.  My generation got quite a bit accomplished in our younger years. Just for starters, I attended segregated schools until my senior year in high school.  My guidance counselor advised me to attend college and prepare myself for a career in teaching, nursing, home economics, or bookkeeping.  In many states, even married women with their own income could not establish credit without their husband’s signature.  LGBT rights were non-existent.  This was my world, less than fifty years ago. Fifty years seem like a very long time, but I assure you that it is not.

We did grow up in a stronger America.  A huge proportion of our fathers fought in WWII, and returned to a country that was ready to go.  They moved into factory and construction jobs, sold insurance, and went to college on their GI Bills.  They purchased homes with their GI mortgages, and raised their families in a time of general prosperity.  Indeed, there were some horrible poverty pockets and a great deal of social change that was sadly needed, but people in general worked, were well fed, and lived in relative comfort.  Our fathers retired on a defined pension after 20 years employment if they stayed with the same company.  They sent us to college courtesy of 4% Federal loans that were not difficult to obtain.  Many of the guys worked summer jobs in construction, and the co-eds found easy summer employment in retail and food service.  Those of us who did not attend college found jobs after high school that allowed then to raise a family in their own home as well, assuming that they were fortunate enough to survive an excursion to Vietnam.

I bring this up because of the sudden onslaught of articles regarding the Boomers and what horrible blood-sucking people that we are.  I have read any number that excoriate my entire generation, and they are proliferating over the internet.  Here’s one from Tom Tankersley of the National Journal, via the Huffington Post:

Tankersley told told MSNBC that he wrote the article because “it’s a really important issue for America, this… long-held idea that every generation passes on a better life to the next and it’s stopped. The baby boomers have done three really egregious things… they have presided over an economy where economic opportunity has shrunk for people coming along now; they’ve run up a huge national debt both by voting themselves lower taxes and by voting more generous benefits with no plan to pay for them other than have their kids and grandkids pay for them; and they’ve filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide burned cheap fossil fuels and left the rest of us the tab for cleaning that up.”

First and foremost, the economy has slipped.  No doubt about that whatsoever, but I’m not quite certain that we are completely to blame.  After all, Generation Jones, Gen X and Gen Y have been making decisions for some time now, and my Gen X daughter views corporate America very differently than I do.  She shares some of her (now) Republican father’s feelings that corporate America must be supported.  While we were married, he accused me of being a Fascist reactionary – ah, how the pendulum swings.  Exie is not the only member of my generation that has morphed into a corporate tool, either – witness John Boehner, who worked his way up with the winds of the Great Society at his back, and now everyone else can go whistle.  Some of us are forgetful, but most of us are not.

Second, the aforementioned Great Society came to be while most of us were in high school.   Few Boomers were old enough to vote for anyone or anything at that time.  Further, Medicare Part D was voted in by Congress, not in a general election.  As far as fossil fuels go, the true muscle cars and big gunboats like my father’s 1965 Chrysler New Yorker were purchased by our parents – few Boomers were making a living at that time.  (Gas was about 30 cents a gallon back then.) We bought Volkswagens and four-cylinder automobiles of all stripes in order to conserve fuel, and painted flowers and anti-war slogans on them.  The BFF owns a huge truck because he does gravestone and monument restoration, and it’s tough to drive a monument around in your hybrid, but I have personally never owned an eight-cylinder automobile in my life.  My daughter, on the other hand, drives the Sea Scouts around in a Durango.

Mr. Tankersley is nice enough to mention that advances have been made by minorities, women, and the disabled during our adulthood, and I appreciate that.   We have worked pretty hard at many causes:  equality, ending the Vietnam War, cessation of the draft, Earth Day, the Peace Corps, and volunteerism in general.  I’m not ashamed of our activism.

I also heard some unknown Third Wave Feminist rail against those of us who comprised the Second Wave.  It seems that we were remiss in not seeking out women of color and lesbians, so therefore our accomplishments are woefully lacking.  During the heyday of feminism, lesbians did their best to blend in, and far from being out and proud, many were miserably married because that was a societal expectation.  Most women of color were kind of tied up with the Civil Rights movement at the time.  We were a bunch of straight white women, and we went for it.  We did the best that we could, and birth control pills and abortion became legal and safe.  The presence of women on universities increased from the deliberate quota of 30% in my day, to the better than 50% that we enjoy today.  Women in professional schools have now become commonplace. I will not apologize, now or ever, for anything that we did.   I’m really beginning to wonder how much this spate of Boomer bashing has to do with the impending 2016 run of Hillary Clinton.  She’s a Boomer!  (Boooooo!)  She’s a Second Wave Feminist! (Booooooo!)

We seem to get it coming and going.  Our parents insisted that we were all Communists, and our grandchildren think that we are selfish corporatists.  What’s a poor Boomer to do?

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

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12 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: Feeling Defensive Again"

Pardon my language but Mr. Tankersley is full of shit and for all of the reasons you listed chat.

As far as fossil fuels go, the true muscle cars and big gunboats like my father’s 1965 Chrysler New Yorker were purchased by our parents – few Boomers were making a living at that time. Bingo!

My father owned several big V8 trucks as well as a smaller Ranger and the momster had her Buick Electra, then her Mercury Grand Marquis and other land yachts. Granted, now I own an old Expedition, but it keeps running and running well so I’m not getting rid of it for now.

Second, the aforementioned Great Society came to be while most of us were in high school. Few Boomers were old enough to vote for anyone or anything at that time.

Bingo again. Perhaps Mr. Tankersley needs to brush up on a time-line or some history before he writes anymore silliness.

Off topic but saw this on Jon Stewart last night and it sooo sums up why I have trouble watching Morning Schmoe anymore.

http://on.cc.com/P54Bj2

I am entranced by Jesus Christ’s Superstore/
@1: My dad was not into tiny cars. After the Chrysler, he purchased a GTO.

I am entranced by Jesus Christ’s Superstore

That was funny, as well as Michael’s the f*** store.

Chat, I so love this post! I really like it when you write about this stuff. .

You know, they found pieces of an urn in some ancient Greek archaeological dig and on the urn were words to the effect, “the world is doomed because of today’s children.”

Back in the day, if there had been a printer that could have printed Tweets on urns, I’m sure there would have been something similar to what Tankersley wrote.

It’s the never-ending cycle of victimhood.

“the world is doomed because of today’s children.”

Perhaps it could be tattooed on every newborn. 😉

Isn;t is just amazing? We supported several generations ahead of us without whimpering. Now, suddenly, we are to blame for the nation’s evils. It’s completely incredible.

It’s completely incredible.

It’s completely asinine.

It’s always somebody else’s fault! We live in an age of victimhood. Heterosexual white Christian men are the most abused of all, didn’t you know??? Billionaires can’t understand why people are angry at them. Wall Streeters too. It’s exhausting.

Ah, yes. That said, I would rather be a billionaire wondering why Boomers feel abused than a Boomer wondering why billionaires feel burdened.

This is a brilliant post, chat. I was born at the end of the boomer era, but I remember how much better things were when we were young. This Tankersley jerk needs to stfu. The boomers made amazing changes to the American landscape. As I remember it, the person who started the downhill slide was no boomer–Ronnie Raygun, and his corporate cronies, who were also not boomers. Its true that there are a lot of boomers that have added to this problem of letting the corporations take over everything, notably George W Bush and Karl Rove. I agree with everything you wrote. I have also always driven small cars, try to conserve and take care of natural resources and never complained about paying social security, even though I often doubted if I would ever get it (and have several years to go, so still wonder).

My own son, and a lot of young people I am around, love the boomer generation, and wish they were born in that era. They love our music, culture, and the fairer economy we had. They blame the super rich and the “establishment” just like we did. Maybe they will pick up where we left off.

Also, loved the “Jesus Christ Superstore”!

here may yet be hope. My 24 year old granddaughter holds much the same viewpoints.

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