The new falcon herald logo.
Monkey Business

The Boomer Legacy

In the late 1940s – post-World War II – Americans were enjoying peacetime prosperity. Industry expanded to meet the demands of returning servicemen; jobs were plentiful, and families were blossoming. The numbers of babies born between 1946 and 1951 created a phenomenon: the baby boom generation.The eldest boomer is now 61; the youngest 43. Today, the advertisers are fixated on the boomers with AARP cards. That would be my age group – 50-plus.Viagra, Botox, anti-aging creams by the dozens – seemingly we can’t get enough of the products that promise the fountain of youth. This from a generation that tossed bras, girdles and nylons in a trash can in protest of the 1968 Miss America contest.A couple of years ago, I thought about starting a newspaper targeted to my generation. I’m glad I didn’t.I’m already tired of hearing about us.Personally, I think the boomers sold out, and interestingly enough many of my boomer friends agree.Newsweek Magazine offers an ongoing column for baby boomers, The Boomer Files. In July 2006, Alan Ehrenhalt addressed the “me” generation in the online version of the column.”We didn’t exactly sell our souls to the devil-not collectively, anyway-but as we jog toward senior status, it’s hard to escape the sense that we were complicit in our own unique kind of unholy bargain,” he says.Ehrenhalt also says the boomers grew up in “a world of stability and order …. predictable … snug … perceived as monotonous … a little claustrophobic.” We had it easy in other words.Not really.Yea, we could play outside until dark and not have to worry about sexual predators or gun-toting gangs. But behind closed doors, families kept their secrets tucked away in the closet, along with Mrs. Jones’ vodka that she sipped on all day long.There was nothing stable about the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.And I didn’t feel too snug in my dorm room when they locked us down because of race riots taking place outside my window. The scene at Kent State was anything but predictable.The 60s were tumultuous. But the boomers promised a better world. We sat in coffee houses and vowed to change things. We talked about over population and the environment, about equality and fair wages.We weren’t afraid to protest a war we hated; yet, years later, we’ve watched thousands of homeless veterans roam our streets.We had heated discussions about religion, sex and politics. We didn’t always agree, but we weren’t afraid to confront the issues and voice our opinions. Somewhere in our lives, we decided that it was politically incorrect to talk about religion, sex and politics.What happened to us?As a whole, we haven’t been the catalyst for major change in this country. The credit goes to our parents and our baby sitters – the latter are in their mid-60s and 70s.When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the oldest baby boomer was 18. The Environmental Protection Act was signed in 1970. The oldest boomer was 24. We hadn’t come of age.I’m sure we thought we were leading the way, as cool as we were marching on college campuses. But we’re narcissistic. We’ve been the center of attention for decades.The first of the baby boomers to become president was Bill Clinton – a perfect example of the narcissism running through the “me” generation. He was a sharp guy, but his brief encounter with Monica Lewinsky was a step backward for women’s rights – not to mention his marriage. Speaking of women, when I did a search on Google for “noted women in the feminist movement,” there were no baby boomers listed. Gloria Steinem, born March 25, 1934, was the youngest on the list.If you look at the ages of the great leaders, the boomers should have made a footprint during the last 10 years. We’ve made unbelievable strides in technology, but we’re pansies when it comes to social issues.We’ve accepted corruption in our government; health care issues have been festering for 30 years plus. What if a majority of boomers had demanded alternative energy sources 15 years ago? I’m appalled that many of my boomer friends don’t even recycle. One boomer who is making waves is Al Gore, like it or not.For many of us, it appears we take action only when a problem lands in our own back yard.Now, the boomers are wrapped up in securing a comfortable retirement. Google the Villages outside of Orlando, Fla., and you’ll see a world where boomers’ lives revolve around golf and cocktails at 5. It’s like a Stepford commune – all about me ’til death do we part.Sound harsh? Look at how others see the boomer legacy.The Daily Camera in Boulder ran this article by Cindy Sutter on May 5. According to “Boomer backlash: Young baby boomer critics becoming a chorus,” the next generation is not so hip on the former hippies.”My personal feeling towards boomers has always been disappointment,” says Matt Hamilton, 36, of Boulder. “They talked and talked about changing the world, and then they just cashed in and became just as corrupt and selfish as any other generation.”He referenced Clinton and John Kerry. “The minute he (Clinton) tried to say he didn’t inhale, he lost my respect. Look at Kerry, the minute he said he didn’t actually throw his medals, he lost my respect. The boomers don’t know how to stand up for anything.”On the other side, Sutter interviewed Leonard Steinhorn, 51, professor of communication at American University and author of “The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy.” Sutter wrote that Steinhorn believes the idea of a conflict with boomers is “media-manufactured.” It’s the media that projects boomers as narcissistic and self-absorbed, and it’s not true, he says. He cites the number of baby boomers who work for nonprofits. A lame defense in my eyes.Obviously, I respect that many individuals of the post-World War II generation will leave, or already have, indelible marks on society. But collectively, we’ve had massive potential wasted and the power to do so much more.It’s not too late to change the boomer legacy. But it’s not going to happen sitting in hot tubs discussing golf scores, anti-wrinkling remedies or the newest Harley on the market.It’s going to take a resurgence of passion, idealism, frank discussion and the willingness to once again challenge an establishment – only this time the establishment is comprised of our

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

About the author

The New Falcon Herald

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers