As we learn that the Governor of S. Carolina and yet another member of Congress are outed and apologize for being libido-control challenged, I began to wonder; although this behavior is not singular to my generation, is it practiced in far greater numbers by Boomers vs. those who have gone before us?
The obvious connection between increased infidelities and Boomers is our generation’s embrace of “free love” in our youth, and our subsequent adherance to that ethic as demonstrated through our numerous sexual partners if not marriages. This being a behavior not admired by our parents and those before them, it stands to reason that our generation takes “not keeping it in your pants” to a much higher level, and does so irregardless of leadership status.
But that still begs the question: do we do it more, or is it just reported more than it was decades ago? We didn’t know then but know now about JFK & LBJ, they suspected but didn’t know about Eisenhower until after his death, and of course movie stars of the era were constant fodder as they are today.
Well, this Boomer expert weighs in on the former: in fact Boomers see less of a problem with sex outside of marriage, sex with or without marriage, and sex just for sex, than did any generation before us. Couple that with our generation’s need for immediate gratification (also not embraced by former generations as do we) and our generation’s unfortunate tendency to lack impulse control (works together with immediate gratification), and it becomes newly-cleaned-mirror-clear that we will be more inclined toward infidelities than the generations before us.
And, not just toward the infidelities themselves, but toward an indifference to the level of their wrongness. We know it’s wrong…sort of…but because our generation puts far less value on faithfulness (unless it’s to the job), monogamy, and delayed gratification, we just don’t see it as that much of a problem unless we’re caught and it hurts our career (which too often it doesn’t as much as it needs to – because we are being judged by our fellow Boomers who feel the same way).
The good news is that this is bi-partisan! This latest bad-behaviorist may have been a Republican (and seems to have been a lot lately), but hey, we Dems have the big daddy of diddling, Bill C.! The bad news is it’s a terrible example to be setting for our grandchildren, it undermines our generational credibility, and it’s a very public admission of our blatant inability to accept the grown-up responsibility that comes with marriage.
There are many Boomers who do not act this way – some in positions of leadership, some not. It is incumbant upon us to discontinue our silence, and in that our acquiesence to, such behavior particularly on the part of our elected officials. They answer to us, and answer we must make them.
To put it in an even clearer context: someone who exhibits all the problematic behaviors associated with infidelity (see paragraph #4 above) most likely cannot be trusted with other very important aspects of leadership like good judgement, putting the needs of others above themselves, and doing what’s right vs. what feels good at the moment.