I am sitting in my office scratching my head about the upcoming election. How did we get to this place where neither candidate is trusted or believed, and a large number of citizens are considering a third party candidate just to avoid voting for the two primary party candidates. Our country has become a country of entitlements, political correctness, and media manipulation. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I think my generation contributed to this mess.
I am a baby boomer. Most of the time, I am proud of being a ‘seasoned senior citizen.’ We baby boomers were born between the years of 1946 and 1964. That would make the oldest of us 70 years old, and the youngest would be 52 years old. In some respects, the younger generations would consider us ‘overly seasoned’ or perhaps, ‘fossilized.’
Our generation was the first that had a name. We were those people born immediately after WWII. Take a bunch of war veterans and mix them with a bunch of women that haven’t had a real date in years, and BOOM, the world experienced an explosion of births. Our parents were a tough bunch. They all lived through the Great Depression. Then, as teenagers and 20 somethings, they fought and won WWII. Tom Brokaw later referred to them as the ‘Greatest Generation.’ They knew of, and sometimes experienced the atrocities of WWII. Immediately after WWII, we were back in Asia fighting a war in Korea. It became apparent that not all countries wanted world-wide peace. At the same time, numerous countries were conducting nuclear bomb tests. That warm relationship between the US and Russia during WWII was not all that warm. The possibility of a nuclear war hung over us for most of our childhood years.
This made our parents a rather tough bunch. We were taught the difference between winning and losing. We did not receive any ‘participation’ trophies. We were instructed in ‘bomb drills,’ in the event of a nuclear attack. Our teachers were always right and were always respected. Any deviation from good behavior resulted in punishment. In my case, I got spankings by my mom and five ‘beltings’ by big Daddy G. I deserved every one of them. This was not considered child abuse, it was considered parenting. There was no pretense that our parents were going to be your ‘best friends.’ They were going to be disciplinarians, and they filled that role marvelously. (My dad was not my friend until I was in my 30s.) We were taught to be independent and to work hard. Being blue collar was not a stigma. It was instilled in us that if we wanted something bad enough, we could obtain it through hard work and diligence. Anything was possible!
Every school day was started with the Pledge of Allegiance. We sang our national anthem with fervor. Then, as we got older, we were called upon to represent our country in another war….the Viet Nam conflict. Many volunteered or were drafted and performed their duty to fight in a war without a genuine purpose. To this day, the best explanation for fighting this war was the ‘domino theory.’ That theory was the belief that if one country fell to Communism, then others will fall to Communism. But Lyndon Johnson took this to the extreme by committing over 500K troops to Viet Nam. He made Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) the 23rd largest American populated city in the world. Over 57,000 Americans were killed in this war, with hundreds of thousands more suffering psychologically from what they had experienced and from the way they were treated once they returned home. Americans believing they had served their country were now being spit upon and called ‘baby killers.’ Many lives were lost, and many more minds were destroyed because of this war.
So there you have it. A very brief description of what formed and what affected the lives of the baby boomer generation. What was my purpose for relating this information? Well, because of the way we were reared, we, as a generation, decided not to be as strict and structured as our parents on our children and our grandchildren. We became adherents of the ‘live and let live’ theory. We became more concerned about ourselves and our families to the point of missing the gradual changes to our society. And now, as I look back at the way our country has evolved since my childhood, I want to publicly apologize to Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and Generation Z as to how the Baby Boomers have failed you.
We Boomers need to apologize for the level of entertainment on our televisions and our movies. In our youth, all movies and TV programs were appropriate for all ages. We did not need a rating system designating P, PG, R or anything else. I am not a wilting flower, but it is difficult for me to believe the amount of profanity, sexual innuendo, sex, violence and gore that has permeated our entertainment. Parents of today need to realize that your children are seeing this garbage and they are being affected by it. How could they not see it? It is on at prime time on numerous channels. Instead of having three good TV channels like when I was young, we now have hundreds of bad channels. Look at how few good comedies we have today. We had many while growing up. Reality shows and cop shows seem to be the general format of TV today. Garbage entertainment really began in the late 60s and early 70s. TV was still somewhat regulated, but the movie industry had taken a definite turn for the worse.
Our Boomer generation invented the computer. This led to the popularity of PC’s and laptops in every home. Technology is marvelous for all it can do. But as one pundant has surmised, home computers have become a ‘pipeline for pornography.’ Do you think people are being affected by that? Coupled up with violent video games, do you think our children are being affected by it? I am not quite sure how we could have stopped this garbage, but I will apologize anyway.
I apologize that we appointed a Supreme Court that overturned term limits on federally elected officials. Yes. Legislation was actually passed during the Clinton administration limiting term limits, only to be overturned by the only organization without them…the Supreme Court. Now we have career politicians and all the graft, corruption and personal enrichment that are a result of it. Decisions are being made every day by our elected officials for personal gain without regard for what is best for the country.
Our newspapers, magazines and TV news at least attempted to appear impartial during elections held in the past. This year? The gloves have come off with such notable organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post not even attempting to hide their support of Hillary Clinton. In previous elections, news organizations would show their support for a particular candidate in an editorial. Not now. They show their support by smearing their candidate’s opponent. The latest is the release by the New York Times of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns which show a loss of over $900 million being carried into following years to reduce any future tax burden. The crime here is not Trump’s taxes and carry-over as that is perfectly legal and by IRS statute allowed. The real crime is the publishing of his taxes by the New York Times. They claim that they received them in the mail. Yeah. Right. Any CPA doing such a thing would lose their license to operate. I believe the IRS themselves did it. This is the same group that targeted conservative groups prior to the 2010 mid term election. In particular, the Tea Party movement. Who would investigate this matter? Well, the FBI. That same group that let Hillary off the hook for emails even though the FBI director’s brother provides legal services to the Clinton Foundation. Sound fishy?
Isn’t it a shame that most of our printed media has reduced itself to the level of the National Enquirer? In some instances, the National Enquirer is more believable.
Do you trust the government? During the 60s, when the unemployment rate was reported, it actually meant the number of people who were without jobs that wanted them. Today’s unemployment rate has been reported at less than 5%. I assure you, this is for purely political purposes in an attempt to show how wonderful our economy is faring before this election. In fact, the real unemployment rate is just under 10%. Why? Because so many people have quit attempting to find work. But wait….there’s more. Do you know how many households in America do not have anyone working? Over 22%! Yes. Over 22% of the households do not have a breadwinner. How are they surviving? Working for cash? Welfare? How wonderful does our economic picture appear now?
Do you like our current policy of allowing anyone to use any bathroom depending on what sex they feel like on that particular day?
So, as I look back on my life, the goal I have always had is that I leave the world a better place than when I entered it. My generation of Boomers has failed. We have made mistakes. We allowed the country to become so liberal, so politically correct, so dependent on the government and so militarily weak that it is not the same country of our youth. We have taken free speech to such an extreme that we now have public disrespect for our flag and our national anthem being considered heroic. Yet, only 1% of our citizenry has served in the military to protect our country and our freedoms. We now have groups of people attacking and killing our police because they think they are ‘entitled’ to do so. We have had deadly Islamic terrorist attacks on our people. We allow people of unknown origin to enter this country every day without having any idea of their true purpose in coming here. Many times, it is not to assimilate like previous immigrants.
I want to make a plea. I know many people who are not enamored by either candidate. For their personal beliefs, they are going to vote for a third party candidate. That has been tried before with disastrous results. Rather than giving George H.W. Bush a second term, Ross Perot siphoned off enough conservative votes to give Bill Clinton the presidency without having received a plurality. Do you want to vote for the Libertarian candidate who did not know what an ‘Aleppo’ is, or could not name his favorite foreign leader? If you like the policies instituted by the present administration, by all means you should vote for Hillary Clinton. If you truly believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction, then do not waste your vote on a third party candidate, hold your nose and vote for Donald Trump.
I am considerably older than those members of Gen X, Y, and Z and here I am apologizing for the direction our country has taken in the last 60 years. My fervent hope is that in 30 or 40 years, you will not be writing a blog apologizing for the bad decisions your generation has made and suffering from the consequences of bad decisions.