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.
The most vocal candidates in this election cycle have proven how bereft of ideas the old hippies of the Left truly are. Hillary Clinton's team must have built her platform from the sawdust of the Obama presidency. Her ideas aren't principles; they're talking points, and terrible ones at that. Bernie Sanders considers himself a Socialist, but at least he's honest about it, to the far Left's obvious glee. The most remarkable thing about Lincoln Chafee (aside from that hideous haircut) is his commitment to...um...the metric system. The Baby Boomers aren't exactly overrun with fresh, inspirational concepts.
Contrast these fossils with a swath of the approximately 889 Republican candidates for president. Three of them -- Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio -- are in their early forties, and all three of them have vibrant and exciting messages. Cruz has cultivated a reputation as a fearless conservative firebrand, while Rubio presents an optimistic vision for an America that's ready for the future. And Jindal has put up a tireless fight for religious liberty.
While Hillary Clinton talks about "Yesterday" (a reference that caused even a Beatles fans like me to wince), these bright conservative stars are looking toward tomorrow. While Lincoln Chafee wants to change our system of measurement to something everyone else gave up on 40 years ago, the Generation X Republicans want to measure American economic growth. While the Boomers of the Democratic Party like Bernie Sanders want to tighten the grip of government even further, the younger generation on the Right wants to pull the country toward individual freedom.
Do you seek a more prosperous nation? Are you ready for the United States to once again be a shining city on a hill? Do you want future generations to inherit a better country? The answers lie not with the Baby Boomers of the Left, who are content to revisit those sad, tired ideas that haven't worked before and won't work now -- the very definition of insanity -- but with an electrifying band of Gen X-ers (good grief, I hate that term) with a hopeful, upbeat vision for America's future.
The large field of Republican candidates for 2016 may look overwhelming, but it demonstrates a group of men and women who are eager to lead -- many of whom are post-Baby Boom, Generation X candidates. Over at Breitbart, my friend Lisa De Pasquale sums it up:
The “everyone in the pool” reality of the 2016 primaries signals one thing—a growing number of Republicans and Democrats think they can’t do any worse than President Obama. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we embrace the narrative of a young, energetic bench with bold, forward-thinking ideas.
Gen Xers favor entrepreneurship over long-standing institutions like the federal government. Future generations will never be unburdened by a behemoth government handed to us from the Baby Boomers while they are in charge. Instead, Boomers will continue to build a golden tomb for themselves and leave us with the bill. It’s time to put that tomb to use and lay the Boomers’s political aspirations to rest.
We often hear people say that they want a president who looks like them. Well, I think this country is ready for a president who looks like me -- well, not literally. But America is ready for a new generation of leadership ready to take the country back to greatness. Baby Boomers, you've had your turn behind the wheel -- it's time to turn over the keys.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / James Steidl