Scapegoating Baby Boomers….Or Not…?

Scapegoating Baby Boomers….Or Not…?

I’ve noticed that much of the turmoil in the two most powerful Western Countries in the world, the US and Great Britain, is blamed on Baby Boomers:

  • In the US, the rise of Candidate Trump is blamed on angry, White middle-aged menangry Boomers (Boomers) who make up a bulk of his supporters (and the Tea Party before that), believing the system is “rigged” against them, wanting a political revolution that includes walls, bans on Muslims, a return to “the way things were” in younger days, and a possible exit from NATO;
  • In Britain, the majority of Brexit “leave” voters were Boomers, dissatisfied with such things as all the refugees crossing their borders and money going to the European Union that they want to keep for Britain alone.

We’re not the only generation voting for such controversial issues as leaving a union and banning an entire culture from the country, so why do we get all the blame?

Most likely because we’ve earned it.

As the first generation in modern history to:

  • think only of the present, not the future (the reason we were the first generation to make having lots of debt very cool…)…
  • have been raised to believe we’re quite special and therefore deserve great things (then passed that onto our children), and…
  • have grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it no matter who or what is harmed along the way (from the environment as we also made waste cool, to the Great Recession fueled by our desire to live far beyond our means…

…we changed the landscape from sacrifice to satisfaction now, from ensuring the greater good to preserving what’s mine… and we replaced thoughtful debate with a good whine.  Remember, we still hold much of the power in both countries, from being the majority in legislatures to holding the most leadership positions in industry.

In the US & Britain, it’s mostly Boomers who want to close the borders to brexit-boomersrefugees/migrants, claiming fear for their safety and loss of jobs.

Yet, in the US, manufacturing workers are only a small portion of overall employment, accounting for just 9% of the workforce; instead, service workers account for more than three out of four American jobs and contribute to 60%+ of employment in 434 out of 435 congressional districts.  No opportunities lost there since Boomers are not about to starting cleaning hotel rooms or busing tables anytime soon. As for Britain, where socialization stops at industry’s door and Boomers have a nice pension, the only people at risk of losing jobs thus income to refugees were Millennials, who wanted to stay in the Union.

In the US, Boomers in the labor sector want those high-paying for un/semi-skilled manufacturing jobs back!…taken away by all those trade treaties vilified by Trump.  In fact, most manufacturing job loss came from advances in technology. Boomers in government want only to ensure their own political longevity which usually entails ignoring their constituents’ best interests, and those in industry make fistfuls of money by keeping their workers’ wages ridiculously low or moving their operations overseas where labor costs are far below what US workers would need to make a decent living.

In both countries, the majority of those who commit acts of terror are citizens or nationals.

For a generation here in the US that had the gumption to protest the Vietnam war to an end, the stamina to handle the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, the fearlessness to live through the Watts riots & Kent State massacre, and the prescience to push for thus achieve the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Women’s Liberation movement of the early ’70’s, and in Britain set world-wide trends in music/fashion/socialization, we’ve clearly lost our ability to go for the gold, replacing it out of fear with a determination to settle for the mediocre.

Because that’s what fear breeds…mediocrity…and we’re leading the way.

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An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

NRA logoThe NRA (and the small minority of Americans/vast majority of gun manufacturers they represent) continuously complains that any restrictions on gun ownership will lead to a “slippery slope” ending in everyone’s guns being taken away.

And indeed that fear has become a reality, but not the one they predict; instead they’ve done the slope slipping, from supporting some restrictions in the 80’s & 90’s to a “no restrictions are acceptable” stance now.

As a result, they’ve at last lost my willingness to accept some level of gun ownership, as that acceptance was predicated upon my understanding that most gun owners want regulations that keep gun carnage to a minimum.  Although I’m sure this is still true, even those folks have lost my backing as, through their silence, they are tacitly supporting the NRA’s untenable positions.

I’ve always known that the stance of gun ownership as a right bestowed to all by the Second Amendment makes sense only when the important opening words are omitted (which you will find is the case in all advocating documents and statements): “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

2nd-amendment

…but again, I was willing to work with Americans’ desire to own a weapon so long as they were willing to work with gun-control advocates on life-saving restrictions.

I never accepted that a hunter needs an automatic weapon to nab a deer (anyone who does has chosen the wrong past-time), that arming school personnel is the answer to children/youth being slaughtered in their classrooms (or in the case of the latest, and largest mass shooting in US history, carrying club-goers…that’s the ticket, arm folks who have been drinking…), or that people on the terrorist watch list must still be permitted to own guns because a rare few may be on the list erroneously.

But now, I no longer accept, for any circumstance, the notion that someone must be armed to be happy…or safe.  Unless you’re part of a militia formed to defend the security of these free States, I am now fully in favor of an Australian style ban on all guns, thanks to the NRA, and the power bestowed upon them by the silent majority of US gun owners.

I hope others, particularly my fellow Boomers, who have stayed silent about this as did I, will no longer as well.

Let’s Hear It For…The Tea Party?!

angry white boomerAh, the “Tea Party” – known somewhat facetiously but mostly factually, as a group dominated by White male Boomers with too much time on their hands and not enough accurate information about either the US Constitution or the Founding Fathers, who want a whole lot less government for everything other than those items they deem needing a whole lot more government intervention (such as women’s choice, definition of marriage, etc.); and of course, who want no changes to their SS & Medicare no matter how much updating these two worthy programs need in order to remain solvent.

Phew!

But…. There is one very important reason to have great respect for our Boomer brethren even if we don’t agree with their positions.

They are fully involved, organizing for the things in which they believe – and it’s working.  No doubt most of them didn’t do such things as youth – that was a hippie thing.  But they’re doing it now.  And those who were activists in our youth, make up the vast majority who are doing so little today.

So, hip hooray for the Tea Party for being actively involved – pushing for those things they believe to be in the country’s (well, mostly their) best interest.

To the rest of us who hold a different view of what’s good for our nation, I say… don’t knock ’em…. emulate them!

Boomer Celebrity Spokespeople… Please find some different products…

Better not "break a leg" says Blythe DannerBlythe Danner (not officially a Boomer, but close enough) won’t say “break a leg” anymore because she’s afraid her poor old frail bones will really break… that’s after Sally Field spent years telling us how frail we’re becoming…

Tommy Lee Jones seems to care only about his retirement finances…after all, what else do we old coots have to think about?

Henry Winkler touts reverse mortgages….see Tommy Lee Jones above.

Whoopi Goldberg can now happily miss one of those frequent trips to the ladies’ room as the spokesperson for Poise Pads…no bladder control in our generation…

Geeez, are we 47-65… or 98??

I’ve said so many times that it’s up to us to end the final, big societal “ism” that still runs strong: Ageism.  Boomer celebrities showing us a group of pants-wetting, retirement worrying, bone-breakers is not helping – at all.

Others, like Andie MacDowell for L’Oreal and Kim Catrall for Olay, are on a far better track.  We’re beautiful at our age…and we know it.

Hey, BC’s, how about doing ads for computers, cars, clothing, jewelry, vacations, and the plethora of other products and services that make up Boomerdom – that are far more emblematic of who we are than bladder control pads?

That’s something you can do to put an end to ageism from your neck of the woods.

Boomer Mojo; Our Time Has Come Again

The guest on this past week’s show (11/6/11: David Mills, author of 10000 Days: A Call to Arms for the Baby Boom Generation that asks of us “what do we plan to do with the last 10K productive days we have left after turning 50?”) believes we Boomers can use our past activist experience, combine it with the wisdom (hopefully) and decades of knowledge we’ve accumulated, and once again fix what’s wrong with our country.

This inspired me to ask this question of our followers on the show’s FB page: “Do you think we Boomers still have the collective to power to make great changes to society like we did in our youth?”  (feel free to go to the page and be heard)

Here’s a few of the responses:

  • “We have the collective power to make tremendous change. Need strong leadership and lots of people talking and sharing ideas.”
  • “We can and we are…”
  • “Sorry I believed we did in my youth but in the end I don’t feel we made a difference.”

Now, admittedly we’ve gotten the proverbial bad rap from the younger generations, feeling that we pursued what was in our own best interest at everyone else’s expense.  And indeed, as I mentioned in my last post, once we got into positions of power, we did all the things we derided our elders for doing (bespoiling the land for profit; taking kick-backs for influence; filling our corporate coffers at the expense of our workers’ well-being) – only bigger and with less discretion.

But as a generation, we also propelled more positive societal changes than any other generation in the history of our nation.  Hey, younger ones, enjoy the freedom to live together before you get married, and divorce without societal derision if you find you married the wrong person?  Thank us.  Ladies, glad you can no longer be overlooked for that big promotion simply because of your gender?  Thank your local Boomer.  And, for those of you who think clean air and water is a nifty idea, that river in Ohio would still be so toxic it’s on fire if not for our unwillingness to accept such polluting ways (for you kids, here’s the link for the back story on the burning river thing).

Well, my fellow Boomers, our time has come around again.  We have the numbers, the power, the finances, and the experience, to make this country proud.  We know how to use activism as an efficient tool for change.  Unfortunately, right now, the only members of our generation using it well are the members of the tea party (45% of which are white, male Boomers).  And I say “unfortunately” not because I disagree with their positions; it’s unfortunate because they are a minority of us – the rest of us are remaining dangerously disconnected from our immense ability to influence positive change.

Here is a brief list of powerful things we can do, individually and collectively, to regain our generational greatness as propellers of the social changes needed today, just as we so famously, and successfully did for those that were needed in the 1960’s/’70’s:

  • Lead by example
    Keep your promises; say what you mean/mean what you say; give more than you receive; be a mensch
  • Get involved in something that betters things
    Now that the kids are grown and if you’re not taking care of an elderly relative, give some of your time to something designed to make our world better, whether volunteering for a cause that tugs your heart, or pushing for needed changes in your community; at the very least, regularly communicate with your representatives so they know just what you want from them, and if you don’t get it, find someone who will do what you know needs doing
  • Agitate for changes to the way Congress handles our nation’s business
    A great place to start is by insisting on changes to the way Congress treats itself; if our little Princes & Princesses in DC are treated like the rest of us, we will have more true citizen representation – those who simply love the power will no longer want the job, and those who want the job will want to get the job done and go home.  Here’s a petition I’ve started circulating to insist on just such changes; download it, sign it, and pass it on: 
    Petition to Congress
  • Be a resource champion, not a resource hog
    Did you know that the improvements to the environment we fought for and won 40 years ago, are in the past few years being undone?  Air pollution is now worsening.  Go back to your roots of good earth stewardship; we can start with eliminating our own wasteful habits, from things a simple as reusing rather than immediately disposing, to driving a more fuel efficient car and downsizing everything.  And, become a proponent of both clean and renewable energy sources.

So, to that last respondent of the FB survey, I say; we absolutely made a difference – refusing to see our accomplishments, and build on them has been our mistake.

I believe it’s not a matter of being unable to make the changes we need, our children need, our grandchildren.

It’s a matter of being willing.