Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Boomers Hillary Standing In The Doorway And Blocking Up The Hall

Can’t play with others was the cliché that people use when talking about people that had a hard time assimilating or working with others. Unfortunately the same cliché works when you’re describing the entire generation of baby boomers. I was born in January 1947 making me one of the first of this generation that eventual life experiences would mold into a generation that felt at home with conflict and polarization.

We came to accept this way of thinking and acting as completely normal. The fifties, sixties, and seventies became our generational war of attrition that would eventually form our id and the political habits we practice today.

These times were of course earmarked by paradigm destroying movements and the encouragement of mind bending personal experimentation of every kind. Out of this whirlwind came the civil rights movement, women’s movement , the environment movement, the sexual revolution, all of which were rapped in the lifestyle or self realizing escapism for many of us. Timothy Leary urged us to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Which many of us were more than happy to do.

On the right it was all about making money and trying to protect the country from communist and what was conceived to be the destruction of traditional American values. Oh, throw in the government fabricated and divisive seemingly endless war against the spread of communism being fought in Viet Nam and you had enormous conflict and strife. We drank it in and dropped it into every pore and orifice of our bodies. Death and destruction were everywhere joined with the heady feeling of a generational change.

In 1965 I joined the army, being the good Irish Catholic boy I was at the time. My older brother was already headed for Viet Nam as a member of the Marines then and it seemed a natural right of passage for me also. The three years I spent in the service radicalize me and turn me against the establishment when I returned home. My government had lied. I got married and had children. I became an outsider and a drinking problem took on new meaning. I got divorced. I was at war with myself and blamed the system. The years went by.

Everything more or less was divided into black and white, war and peace, hate and love, male and female, gay and strait, left or right, progressive or conservative, Democrat or Republican.

Every one was forced consciously or otherwise to take sides. These protracted battle lines drawn so long ago unfortunately still exist today. Many of the lighting rods of the present day right and left were the same individuals at the ramparts at that time when the boomer generation came of age.

Hillary Clinton is a product of this generation and it shows in her and Bill Clinton’s modus operandi political style. Add the major political parties made up mostly of boomers and you get the conflicted and divisive political warfare they call democracy. Many still unable to put the shovel down even though they’re at the bottom of the hole, but still able to label the opposite side as intransigent. Often these factions and individuals are unable to see or accept responsibility for the glaring shortcomings on their side of the street. One of the more common political character flaws of the boomer generation.

"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin"

Bob Dylan

If you’re a boomer it goes that you must take sides and help with digging the foxholes. On the right of course we have tons of examples personified in the Carl Roves and Tom Delays of the world. On the left we have the triangulating jelly fish misnamed progressives who often have their heads in the clouds. Blaming the right for everything that's wrong with society. Totally intolerant of conservatives or Republicans points of view and full of enough political correctness to be annoying to even the reasonable. Lately it’s been the National Organization of Women cooking up things to keep the fifty year feminist war against men going but mostly succeeding only to marginalize their message in the eyes of many.

Boomers must realize they are in the way. Why must we continue fighting these old ghosts just to continue to feed our generation’s egos based on a delusional idea that somehow OUR generation has some special gravitas or right to screw up the world? The problem we find ourselves in today is that the body politic is polarized into two camps and broken. It's destructive and badly in need of replacement or complete relegation to the far reaches of the political hell that we find ourselves living in today. We run the chance of losing everything that potentially good about OUR nation and the role it could play in bringing about a better world.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for". Obama said yesterday. It's a problem with our souls. It's a battle within each of us. For the boomer generation it maybe said that if you can't lend a hand then at least get the hell out of the way.

This is the moment that Barak Obama and others are speaking about. It’s time for change and the end of political labeling and cynicism. Something many boomers seem to have a hard time even acknowledging exists. Still stuck in the same old tired political clichés and arguments that don't work anymore or work only to divide. These same boomers still can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to the actual vision Obama puts forth because they are unable to see the world without division or cynicism. They offer us more of the same thing over and over again apparently expecting a different result.

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