Boomer: The slur that isn’t.
Posted on October 30, 2019
I was called a Boomer today. A comment I thought was a little strange. For one, I am a Baby Boomer. And two…it was used as an insult.
I wasn’t insulted.
Yet the person I was trying to have a discussion with on Twitter, about Socialism, called me a Boomer as an insult. I think they need to work on their repertoire of insults.
Insults are generally that last ditch effort to inject into a conversation a stinging blow, to silence the conversation, and thus, by it’s very nature, win the argument by ending it. That rarely works.
Others in the conversation admonished me (and my generation) for screwing up the world. We’ve caused more harm than Genghis Khan it seems. Baby Boomer have done nothing to help the planet but have grown rich and fat off of unfair capitalist practices.
We Boomers just don’t understand how unjust we are. How we have ravaged the earth for resources, enslaved millions for profit, and well, we just suck in general.
I blame education for this. And parents (and grandparents) not wanting to discuss their checkered past.
So, quick education for my socialist Millennials.
Baby Boomers are the generation following World War II. That is a war in which we fought to defeat Fascist Governments, that were Socialistic in nature. We are a long bunch. From 1946 to 1963 (and I am talking only my family, some boomers were born after 1963)
We were the clean cut kids of the 1950’s, that were not always clean cut. We were the Hippies of the 1960’s and 1970’s. And yes, the Yuppies of the 1980’s.
We fought in Vietnam, Grenada, and the Gulf War. Others conflicts in-between. Some of those conflicts were not as clear cut as the war our fathers fought in, and to say it didn’t jade us? That would be a lie. It did.
But through all this, we took what we learned from the previous generation and built upon it. We lived in fear, the USSR was a threat. Communism was a threat, Socialism was a threat. And those threats? They were real. You could feel it.
Despite this threat, or maybe because of this threat. We relished the American way of life. After Vietnam, we allowed many South Vietnamese to immigrate to America. We did the same years later when Yugoslavia fell. And in all that time? Soviets, Poles, Czechoslovakians, East Germans, and anyone under the Iron Curtain was welcomed. We welcomed them because like us? They yearned to be free.
We didn’t shun capitalism, because we knew what the alternative was. We saw it on TV, and read about it in the papers. And, if you were like me, heard stories of what went on behind the Iron Curtain from people who had lived there. Socialism drained the soul out of those under its tyranny. A drab world where the government told you where to live, where to work, and how much you were going to eat that day.
Boomers created a better world. The hippies? Well they became environmentalist. Doubt many of you remember the commercial of a Native American crying over garbage. America in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was a dirty place. I know, growing up in Southern California and having to stay inside for recess, the air quality being too bad to go outside. While the Greatest Generation didn’t worry about it too much, my generation did. And in doing so, helped clean up hundreds of rivers and lakes.
Boomers are the generation that wanted to make life easier on their children, give them better opportunities, better education. To ask questions and not be told ‘Because I said so’. We valued education because it meant something. You didn’t need a four year degree to become a plumber, and plumbers made good money. Still do.
Almost all the technological marvels that Millennials take for granted? Boomers either created or had a hand in perfecting. Many major companies of today were small start ups, whose Boomer entrepreneurs risked all, because they had a dream. And those who succeeded? They got rich in the process. But most Boomers don’t mind that, they worked hard for it, they paid the price, and why shouldn’t they reap the benefits?
And hey, so they are rich. So what? Me? well I always have a calculator on me, much to the chagrin of my 3rd Grade teacher who told me otherwise.
Every generation laments the ease of the generation that follows. I am guilty of that. I have two Millennial daughters, and often tell them they have more opportunities than I did.
Every new generation likes to complain the former screw things up. They didn’t. They just worked with what they had. Building on previous generations to make life easier for themselves and their children.
Baby Boomers didn’t fail Millennials. Not in respects to ruining the world. You have a much safer, cleaner, ‘easier’ world than ours. It isn’t perfect, not even close. But we leave that to you to work on. We failed you in not telling you what we went through to achieve this way of life you now live in.
I’m lucky because I have two generations of kids. A set of Millennials, and a set of Gen Z. I get to watch the dynamics of their interactions. Having to listen to my eldest tell my youngest that she remembers when there wasn’t such a thing as WiFi. Something my son will never know, but his big sister remembers. Just as I remember phones being tied to a house or a pole outside a grocery store. And my father telling me of telegraphs.
So, calling me a Boomer? Sorry, not an insult. I relish the term.