A while back, a lovely young lady (very young…college aged) wrote to our local newspaper begging for real leadership from the adults running her world. Here is my response…
Dear Ms. Scofield:
Since it is we Boomers who are the leaders right now, it is us who owe you the kind of thoughtful, quality leadership you so dearly want, and who have so disappointed you.
And ironically, you have asked of us the kind of leadership we asked of our leaders in our day. It is our generation that began the environmental movement – “sitting-in” and demonstrating our little hearts out against “the man” and the status quo he represented (corporate greed, pollution, segregation, few rights for women – sound familiar?) when we were your age!
Except that once we became “the man” we happily backtracked on all that we believed as youth: we have been the main polluters with our gas guzzling cars and 3 homes; we are the CEO’s of the companies that ran the economy into the earth’s core and made decisions based on fattening our wallets vs. caring for our customers/planet; we abandoned the equal rights bill so women still make significantly less than men for the same job; we are many of the legislators unproductively growling dogma along strict party lines or to ensure our re-election rather than doing what’s best for the state/country and our legacy. We are doing exactly what our leaders were doing that we so abhorred.
I am so very proud of you. And I am so very disappointed by the failings of my generation after such a slam-bang start.
So you and your peers keep up the pressure – and add to it that no one knows better than Boomers what is needed to take care of our state and the world. Remind us of that for which we once fought. And don’t stop until we blush and capitulate.
It’s the least we can do after all these decades of betrayal to our roots.
We Boomers pretty much embody the nexus for the nation’s most pressing ills that must be made well if America is to once again be great. As far-reaching as that sounds, it couldn’t be more true.
Using myself as an example, I am:
a business owner;
a mother of young adults in the work world;
a person who is nearing retirement;
a caretaker for elderly parents, and;
a person who is part of the generation that called for an end pollution and corporate bad behavior
These correlate to the following ills already identified as most pressing by voters and pundits alike (in order of appearance above):
Taxes and global trade laws
Job creation; adequate healthcare
Social Security & Medicare; retirement account capacity
ditto; plus Healthcare
Clean energy/energy efficiency
So, here is my guidance to our young and idealistic President Elect – the top 6 things to be handled in the first 100 days from a Boomer’s perspective:
Economy: Ensure the proper handling of the immediate steps needed to begin meaningful economic recovery by seeking/receiving ideas from economists, not politicians, from both ends of the “how-to-fix-this” spectrum, then doing what falls in the middle-ground
Healthcare: any form of “universal healthcare” is at best a long way off in this country (rightly or wrongly…) and at worst not going to happen at all in this country; ensure a first step response that will at least mitigate the outrageous costs of healthcare/health insurance, thus providing immediate relief that will go far to create a healthier populace (on which, after all, all else is dependent)
Taxes: Immediately roll back or eliminate tax breaks for companies that cheat (off shore bank accounts to avoid taxes, for example), steal (eliminate jobs here in the US so their CEO’s can grab hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation), and pollute without care for the planetary result but to increase their bottom-line; rework the tax code to eliminate huge tax loopholes for those making over a certain amount (your cut-off of $250,000 is fine) so they are paying a fair ratio of income tax to income
Social Security/Medicare:SS– move the cap at which SS deductions are taken, from the current $89K to $250K; Medicare – immediately establish a department that investigates/handles only Medicare fraud, as I can tell you from first hand experience that what we’re doing now is completely inadequate, and the money being greedily siphoned from this excellent program could pay for it and the department’s salaries, possibly 2X over
NAFTA: do not eliminate this treaty, instead make it more effective and even-handed for all countries involved (including ours….)
Job Creation through Clean Energy Sources (value added…Energy Independence): In addition to the aspects of #’s 3 & 5 above that will result in the creation of a certain amount of jobs, immediately invest in alternative energy projects and the job training needed to prepare unemployed/soon to be unemployed folks from last century industries, for those jobs.
And your foundation for all of this: Be unwavering on your determination that ideology will not trump reality, particularly within your own party.
My fellow Boomers and I were around in the heady days of the 60’s/70’s that America (if not the world…) is in process of reliving. Unfortunately, we became “the Man” we so distrusted; we became the polluters and resource wasters we so derided; in essence, we got lost from our ideals, too busy making a living to remember the importance of sustaining life.
Do not get lost once in the Oval Office. Keep your grounding. Make sure that you and the youth you so inspire, don’t stop living your ideals as we did.
Build on our historic successes and don’t repeat our failures. Then, maybe this time around America can finish what it started.