Who got the world into this current political/cultural/economic mess?
I have to confess – it was my generation, the ‘boomers’.
Boomers elected Donald Trump. Boomers voted for Brexit in the UK. In my province of Ontario, Canada last year boomers elected Doug Ford as our leader, who has proven himself a match for Trump in his anti-environmentalism, crude cost-cutting, and inarticulate, offensive statements.
From the time I was growing up in the 1950s (born 1946, the first boomer year), I was sceptical of my peers. They seemed grossly selfish and narrow minded to me. That’s why I avoided them through most of elementary school and high school.
But in 1965, my last year of high school, there was a new mood in the air. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were singing about personal freedom and expanding our horizons, Simon and Garfunkel produced poetry in song, while the Beatles released ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Hide your love away’.
All around me people were suddenly paying attention to the world, caring about the environment, and treating each other better. Suddenly they were offended by war, and by greed and corruption, racism and hypocrisy. It all seemed very sincere. I got involved for a while.
But somewhere along the way, we dropped the ball. As Stephen King, born the year after me, said – “We had a chance to save the world, but we opted instead for the shopping channel.”
Yes, we opted for economic growth and personal enrichment at the expense of so much that might have been. We opted to underfund our governments and burden them with debt until they are too weak today to take the actions that are needed.
Someone has to come to the rescue of the future, but it doesn’t look like it will be the Boomers. I hope it will be you.