This was the reaction of 57 year old Charlene Guidry, who lives in a small LA river town along the flooding Mississippi, when she learned that the Army Corps of Engineers would be opening the Morganza spillway to keep both large cities from being demolished by flood waters, sacrificing her town of Butte La Rose along the way.
Would you be so gracious, willing to accept sacrificing the good of the one for the good of the many? In your heart, do you agree with the line from Star Trek II, Wrath of Kahn, delivered by Spock right before he sacrificed his life to save the ship: “The Needs of the Many Must Outweigh the Needs of the Few or the One.”
Or for you is it: “I know this will hurt many other people, but I’ve gotta take care of my own needs/wants, and if that causes suffering to others, well, so be it…that’s not my problem…”
Do Boomers believe in shared sacrifice? After all, sacrifice is not a generational characteristic, do it’s not something we’ve done very well thus far:
- That’s what got so many of us into financial trouble (not saving, or not buying that “too much home” because both required a certain amount of sacrifice);
- That’s why our GenX progeny were labeled “latch-key kids” (because being home with the kids required some career sacrifice which in turn wouldn’t allow us that terrific, vs. just fine, income);
- It’s the reason so many corporations, of which we are in charge, do exactly what we protested in our youth – line top management pockets at the expense of their workers, or while racking up human rights violations.
Exacerbating this generational trait is an ever more insular world, where we interact face-to-face far less, via texting/emailing/internet chatting etc. far more. Unlike our parents, who, without such technology, relied on personal interactions for socializing and communicating, so were far more “real-life” connected to those around them, we can use electronics to buffer ourselves from the consequences to others of our choices.
Clearly, Ms. Guidry, a fellow Boomer, believes in shared sacrifice. So much so that she was willing to accept the loss of her home so that millions of others wouldn’t experience that fate.
We can use her as our inspiration; I do. Shared sacrifice is a necessity for keeping this country great. Always was (it was one of the first calls made to an infant nation by George Washington), always will be.
So, start by determining what you’re willing to give up for the common good. It’s not a Boomer characteristic, but it does fit nicely with another of our generational traits; our ability to instill great societal changes.
We can start with ourselves.