It's Time for Baby Boomer Politicians to Pass the Torch to Generation X
This past weekend, my brother-in-law said goodbye to his grandfather for the last time. "Pop" served in World War II , worked hard for many years, and saw children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow up. We call people like "Pop" the Greatest Generation for obvious reasons. The World War II generation set a tremendous example of sacrifice, patriotism, and commitment that seems to be lost these days.
I think about the lessons my own grandfather taught me. A staunch conservative, he shaped me politically far more than my parents did, largely because he talked more openly about his views than my mom (his conservative daughter) and dad (a yellow dog Democrat until sometime around September 11, 2001) ever did. He modeled humble church leadership as an elder and volunteer in ways that I'm just now realizing as a church staff member myself. These valuable pearls of wisdom that I received from him won't ever leave me.
Contrast the legacy of the Greatest Generation with that of their children, the Baby Boomers. Now, I love my parents and consider them the exception to the rule, but their peers have left our nation in a mess. The Baby Boomers started out giving us draft dodgers, the sexual revolution, and permissive parenting, and after rising to power, they've bequeathed us an increasingly unstable world, saddled us with enormous debt, and doubled down on the welfare state. The Baby Boomers took the mantle of power from the Greatest Generation and squandered it foolishly.
One blogger from New Zealand summed up what the children of the 1960s have left us:
The baby boomers are leaving a dismal legacy ‘half are too busy to notice, half too greedy to care’. As the baby boomers are marching towards the grave they exercise their political muscle; they have money and they have power.
‘We saw’ says [author Francis] Beckett writing about the baby boomers, ‘the class barriers come down, and put them up again. If we meant any of the things we said in the sixties, about peace, about education, about freedom, we would have created a better world for our children to grow up in, and earned the comfortable retirement we are going to fight for. But we made a worse one.’ [emphasis in the original]
Now it's time for the Baby Boom generation to pass the torch of power and step aside. The Boomers have put three presidents in power. The fact that their generation gave us Bill Clinton and Barack Obama should alone disqualify them from any future say in politics, and the legacy of George W. Bush is checkered at best.
Heading into the 2016 race, the Baby Boomers in the Democratic Party desperately want to hold onto power. Currently their field features five presidential candidates -- Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and Bernie Sanders -- whose average age is 64.6 years and whose ideas sound like retreads from the Summer of Love.