Blame Me for Everything on Memorial Day
I also represented "my generation" in debate (formal and otherwise) with that "clueless" generation of our parents, the veterans of WWII. I can remember yelling at my father, a former flight surgeon, that he just didn't get it, that this wasn't like his war and that we were the villains in Vietnam. After what felt like years of this, I finally got my mother to agree with me and I could see doubt in my father's eyes. I had won.
When I think of that moment today I am sick to my stomach with shame. This must have been around 1970 and we were at a medical convention at a fancy Las Vegas hotel -- at my father's invitation, of course, and on his dime. Forget the totalitarian communisms like North Korea and North Vietnam that we were trying to stop, what this was all about for so many of us in those days was beating our fathers, showing them up.
We didn't realize that in the process we were creating a monster -- the Boomers who came behind us and thought we were cool because we were the first to protest, the first to rock till we dropped, the first to smoke dope, the first to drop acid, the first to... well, never mind.
We weren't the first to do anything, really. We we were just the first popularizers, the first to infiltrate the American mind in such a profound way that the wrong people became the heroes. After us, patriotism was out, ROTC was out, America the Beautiful was out.
Now we have a country of Barack Obama and veterans who are wait-listed for medical care and a foreign policy -- not to mention a world -- in shambles because this once great land leads from behind, if at all.
Sorry. I was just a kid. I didn't know what I was doing.
And I wasn't alone. There were a lot of us and it will take a lot of us to make this right. One way to start is that some of us can start to acknowledge what we did wrong. And we can reach out to others, not in rancor, but in honesty and love.
Happy Memorial Day! I salute our troops and wish I had been one of you. Oh, how I wish.
(Artwork by Shutterstock.com.)