Restoring Honor…Boomer Style

This is an excerpt from a chapter of my soon to be released book Is That My Light at the End of the Tunnel? that speaks directly to what we Boomers can and must do to find our “lights” at the end of our “tunnels” – this one relating well to the notion of restoring what’s been lost:

Boomers, Unite!

Yeah, right….  We are about as single-minded on how to individually handle the important issues I’ve raised in our “tunnels” as are the Europeans on how to run their Union.

But, that said, there are some basic concepts which I believe the vast majority of us can comfortably get behind, and on which we can build our comeback.

These are the aspects of our Flower Power revolution (even without the LSD) that are a combination of common sense, common kindness, and the underpinnings of all the major world religions.  They are:

  • Living your beliefs while allowing others to live theirs (e.g. walk the talk…no finger pointing)
  • Being kind to our planet, and those less fortunate than ourselves
  • Actively rejecting any form of tyranny
  • Standing up against abuse and exploitation of other humans (which, according to Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, was the correct reason for invading Iraq), and other species
  • Having one martini a night to get us through all of this (just checking to see if you were paying attention…)
  • Finding government and corporate deceit unacceptable
  • Believing in the power of love, from being non-judgmental of others’ lives to eschewing meanness

So, when it comes down to it, here’s the “honor” we must restore right now, associated with grinding issues we’re facing at this moment, based on the above ideals – we’ve lost track of them, and with our great influence/power must ensure we find again:

  • As the most educated generation alive today, start using our great brains to learn and work with the facts, whether we like those facts or not;
  • Remember and reclaim what we believed in our youth: love conquering hate, & equality for all (thus our fight for women’s/civil rights, eliminating discrimination in housing & hiring, etc.); to abandon those society-altering-for-the-better ideals with our Muslim neighbors because of their radical minority (hey, Christians have the KKK & Neo-Nazis) is beneath us;
  • Another reclamation from our youth: refusing to accept the poor behavior of “the man” we so reviled back then…which, by the way, is now us…we became “the man” (we are the ones in charge of most big corporations, and governments) – we can and must rise up against our own generations’ misdeeds, greediness, & complete lack of interest in the greater good.
  • Although history debates the motivation for our society-bettering deeds back then…was it out of pessimism or optimism? – I say it was a combination of both…pessimism about the direction our nation/world had taken, and optimism that if we fought hard enough we could change it.  In our age-related crankiness we have lost our optimism, settling comfortably into a world-view based too much on fear and self-protection.  Opening up our minds and hearts again is imperative if we hope to make changes that are for the better.

Do these things, and our honor – as the generation that historically made a greater impact on social change than any other in the history of our nation – will indeed be restored.

Politician Infidelities: A Boomer Phenom?

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.

Your thoughts?