In the comments section of an article chronicling the latest Bush administration embarrassment (I know, it’s so hard to keep up), a letter writer laid blame at the feet of baby boomers for screwing things up for the next generation. After all, Bush is a boomer.
At first I was a little ticked off, being a boomer myself. Kind of a broad swipe, in my opinion. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this person was right on target. For those of us hovering around the mid-century mark, things started off with a bong, er, bang, and quickly went downhill from there.
The 60s were an awesome party (I’m glad I was alive to go to it) and for a brief moment in time there were a lot of young people around the world who actually believed they could change the system for the better. All you need is love. We did help stop a war, got the environmental movement going, moved women’s issues to the forefront of national debate, shined the harsh light of reality on institutional racism in the South, turned Rock & Roll into a world-wide force, and got high. Not a bad day’s work, in my book.
Then something happened. We went from Woodstock to Altamont in the blink of an eye. Camelot morphed into Watergate. Love turned to anger and bitterness. Tricky Dick got his revenge, and we helped him. And we’ve given Republicans 26 of the last 38 years to govern this country, culminating with the man who will hold the title of worst president in American history. And we helped.
We, and the children we raised to adulthood, are responsible for this mess. Wherever you think the blame should fall — the military-industrial complex, the media, the government — we are the ones with our hands on the controls. We have fucked things up in a big way. I don’t know the why, but I know the how, and it happened when our nation turned (or was turned) from hope to fear, and fear ALWAYS plays into the hands of Republicans.
It’s not easy accepting responsibility for what we’ve done. Rigged elections or not, a whole lot of boomers who should have known better voted for Bush. Twice. It’s inexcusable.
We, my generation, have our hands on the controls, but it turns out we’ve driven spaceship earth drastically off course, making wrong turn after wrong turn. Now it’s up to our children and their children to take on the Herculean task of trying to get this country back on course.
They have a right to be pissed off.