So, where is this essay (in all its parts) headed? Well, it is going to a place which we were supposedly already headed, but unfortunately have forgotten. This essay is one person’s call for people to focus on the work that exists and remains. Because the bad things need to be stopped.

Some people will be sure to draw exception, I expect. Some will agree completely with the assessment of the situation, but won’t want to accept the recommendations. And, some…well some people will assume the Jamoker has lost the youthful irreverent exuberance for which he is known and become instead just one more agitated idealistic pontificator…given to fits of blathering nonsense.

So, here we go…time to blather on…

What is the final legacy for “The Greatest Generation” and “The Boomers”? Well, in some respects those memoirs are still being written. The folks of The Greatest Generation resigned their leadership 20 or 30 years ago. They accepted the passage of time and the march of the generations and settled into the happy quiet time of their lives. But, their happy time is instead one of pain and unsatisfaction. The end of their lives has been spent in nursing homes and long-term care hospitals. They deserve better.

The “Boomers”, however, are NOT above reproach. (A quick disclaimer…I’m painting with VERY broad strokes. Some people will fit the criteria – “if the shoe fits…”. Others, obviously, don’t fit the criteria. Take it personally only if the assertions are true.) The “Boomers” pushed aside the leadership of their parents and assumed control, as was their right and responsibility. The march of the generations is timeless. And, to some extent, that it was a contentious transition is to be expected as well. Down through time it has always been this way. The king is dead, long live the (new) king.

But, instead of a “it is our time” motive behind the transition, the “Boomers” adopted a moralistic/idealistic personality for their cause. They took over because they were “more right”… and “morally right”. They took over because the previous leadership had gotten it wrong. They took over because they had everyone’s best interests in mind. Their idealism was the motivation and the justification. These were the leaders for the new century. Our salvation as a human race was assured. With the “Boomers” in charge, we were finally on the right path. And, I have always applauded the “Boomers” for that stance. Idealism is always a worthy attribute.

But, back to the legacy question, where are the “Boomers” now? What about those “bad things that are happening”? What have THEY done since assuming control? Are we any better off? Here is an excerpt from a song written by one “voice” of the Boomers, Billy Joel…

“…Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it”

So, if I understand this right, “They Came, They Saw, and…They Tried??” Give ’em a free pass for the effort alone?? The bad things have always been happening, so don’t criticize us for that. Don’t criticize us for things we can’t control. Just love us for trying to stop the fire.

I don’t agree.

What happened to the idealism? What happened to the burning bras and war protests? What happened to the environmentalism and the organic macrobiotic health food? What happened to the hippies? What happened to trying to stop the fire after 1974? What happened to the “right path”? What happened to the moral justification for their cause?

Well, not only are we worse off, in my opinion, I think the “Boomers”, in fact, sold out. I think they put their own personal goals ahead of the goals for the entire human race. I think they got complacent. I think they lost their idealism…or, at least they let it get hijacked. I think they quit trying. Either way, Idealism without Action is empty.

There is no room for quitting. As long as we have war, poverty, scandal and environmental disasters, there is still much work to be done. Instead of “We didn’t start the fire”, I think Peter Gabriel had it correct when he sang:

Don’t give up
’cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not the only one
Don’t give up
No reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up now
We’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up
You know it’s never been easy
Don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong

Now, before anyone thinks that the present political situation has affected my thinking, please consider that I am looking past the right/left, democrat/republican, liberal/conservative definitions for those in charge. I am not just looking at the current administration when casting my dispersions. The political situation for my entire life has been suspect. Consider, if you will, that both parties have gotten it wrong. Both parties are at fault. Both parties are populated by “Boomers”…just as both parties had “old white men in hats” 50 years ago. In many respects I think the party definition is merely paint applied to the larger metaphorical house. The paint color changes, the house stays the same. And, when the paint fades, another coat is quickly applied. The house HASN’T changed, though. Because the bad things still reside inside.

War, poverty, disease and scandal still surround us.

And, before anyone assumes that all of this pontificating is merely to advocate a a quasi/pseudo religious crusade, please know that I am NOT proposing such. The examples down through history of religion, whatever the faith, being used for an ulterior and immoral purpose are too numerous. No, people should be allowed to believe whatever they want, as long as the rights and beliefs of their neighbors aren’t imposed upon. This is not about religion.

Instead, this is to say that it is time now for the Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers to take over. The “slacker” Gen X’ers and the “selfish” Gen Y’ers need to grow up. They must assume the mantle of leadership. The Right cause must be adopted…because it is the Right thing to do. The Gen X’ers and Y’ers need to get a fire in their bellies about the fact that this is not the best we can do. It is not acceptable for the “wheels of progress” to stop here and now. There needs to be a collective agreement that the next generation does deserve to have a better life. All of humanity deserves better. And, making that happen needs to be the goal and legacy for the Gen X & Y’ers. Because right now, the legacy for everyone after “The Greatest Generation” is in doubt…and that includes the Gen X’ers and Y’ers.

Living Right is the first step. Regaining idealism is required.

Disease, pollution, immoral/unethical bahavior, and poverty need to be eradicated.

Maybe Idealism isn’t dead. And, maybe Action can still occur. Maybe the situation isn’t as dire as it looks. Maybe when the children of the next generation are looking back in retrospect they will look fondly at how things improved. Maybe the rise of the internet and a one-world culture will be cited as factors in the improvement. Maybe we aren’t in fact staring into the abyss. Maybe the End of the World isn’t at hand. Maybe.


Copyright (c) 2005 Jamoker. All rights reserved.