The headlines and punditry are consistent: The Boomer Generation has had its Presidents (aka Clinton & Bush) and with Barak Obama is passing the mantle to the next generation….which is…still the Boomer Generation. Born in 1961, President Obama falls within the chronological confines of our generation (b. 1946-64), but more importantly, he really couldn’t be more Boomer in his ideals and characteristics.
Yes, I know, there’s the contrived if not fluctuating configuration called “Generation Jones” made up of junior Boomers and those a few years beyond (GenJ has been noted to start as far back as 1954, and can go up to 1970…I was born in 1954, and I promise you, I’m all Boomer).
And I understand the drive to find some sort of label for those who are not Boomers, yet not GenXers (e.g. anyone born between 1965 & oh, say around 1967, since thereafter those born to the first boomers, e.g GenX, began arriving). Finally, I understand, and agree, that there are many born at the end of the Boomer era, say between 1960 & 1964, who look, act and feel more like GenXers than Boomers.
But that’s not Obama. He personifies all the things Boomers believed in, fought for, and achieved in our youth:
- A world free of pollution and poverty
- That all have the same rights that theretofore had been given to only a select few
- Elimination of the corporate corruptions that keep the poor poorer, make the rich richer, and stain our nation’s policy-making and global credibility
- Ending a war the conduct of which has damaged our reputation throughout the world
Don’t let the fact that we Boomers strayed from our ideals, mislead you younger folks to think that what Obama believes and instills in you is an idealism of a new generation.
He is bringing back to you what we started, but alas didn’t continue. From his mixed race heritage and his decision as a young man to work as a community organizer (Boomers were the first true “activitists” as a generation), to his “laid-back” personna, he lives and breathes all that characterizes Boomers.
As Mike Phillips, a confirmed old White Boomer from Salem MA says so well:
“To those of us who marched (maybe not physically, but at least in spirit), with the leaders of the civil rights movement. With Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson and all of the un-named others. With those who were killed, assassinated or suffered other injuries because of their beliefs.
But most of all, to the followers. Those of us who are un-named, who endured the violence and repression and vilification. Who weathered the dogs, the police, the fire hoses. To those of us who confronted the bigotry, the racism, the defamation of human beings because of the color of their skin, as we followed.”
Obama is a Boomer who, as an adult is getting it right, something many of the rest of his generation didn’t do.
He’s a Boomer, alright. Just a Boomer who didn’t lose his youthful ideals as he reached manhood, and used them well even as he struggled to create a career and support a family.
And oh boy I couldn’t be prouder of him!