The first month of 2016 was defined by a dreary rain, with songbird after songbird, actor, and star falling. The sad truth is, while there has always been a drizzle, the rain will only grow more steady now. The bulk of the Boomers are on the downward slope of the hill. All their lights will soon fade and be forgotten.
The Boomers often refer to The Great Generation, those who gave life to the Boomers. The Great Generation fought two world wars. They gave the world radio and radar, airplanes, talkies and TV. They created the fertile ground in which the Boomers bloomed.
The Boomers found themselves on a “Long and Winding Road”. They were looking for “America”, but it was not a place. It was what they were trying to build. They took radio and made it sing. Jimi, Janis, Arlo, Paul, and many others played the pied pipers. They made talkies and TV shine. They envisioned 2001 an Odyssey. They faced difficulties head on and tried to make them clear, with Michael Stivic on one side and Archie Bunker on the other, and Edith showing everyone how to build bridges.
The Boomers took radar and built computers and networks. They took the airplanes and put footprints where no one had ever walked. Major Tom and “Rocket Man” flew higher than any human before, as we listened to the “Dark Side of the Moon”.
They had their wars, their quagmires, and Waco. However, they fought them the whole way. They asked, “War, what is it good for?” and answered loudly, “Absolutely nothing”. They got on the “Peace Train” and the “Soul Train”, and chanted “Give Peace a Chance”. They talked about brotherly love as they sat in circles and passed the pipe around, or the “Sweet Cherry Wine”, at a time when face-time was not an app.
Every generation has their early losses, the tragic drip, drip of tears. The Boomers gave us the King, and the King of Pop. “Imagine” if there had been no John and George. Do not forget Martin and John, and so many others calling for civil rights and pointing to the “Threshold of a Dream”. Bruce taught us to be like water. Carl reminded us to protect our Pale Blue Dot, and Robin made us laugh. We were told to “Live long and prosper” and reminded “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Remember the early drops, once members of the coming tide.
With the ebbing of the Boomers, and seeing how Gen-Xers and the Millennials roll, might we consider a new Great Generation? The Boomers took the fertile soil left them, and worked hard to make it a better place. Why else do we mourn the sadly falling rain, and fear the next teardrop and the coming flood?
Now it seems wars are endless. Everything is about the dollar, and wars and guns make lots of them. Songs are about the warrior, or put self above the group, or lust confused with love. The soldiers of just wars, or the precinct, or hospital deserve praise. However, wars seem like currency now, a never-ending flow. To feed them we mint soldiers like so many coins. Where are the songs for peace and the brotherhood of humanity?
The Boomers had their slogans. Say one of these and everyone knows precisely which era you mean or come from. “Power to the People.” “Make Love, Not War.” “Peace, man.” The Boomers danced at “American Bandstand”, and rated tunes but elected no winners. They had the “Midnight Special”, just for fun. They had “Laugh In” and Sit-ins.
The Gen-Xers and Millennials Occupy. They turn computers into “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto”. They turn cellphones into spies. Everything is a contest. Everyone is a mark or suspect. They talk about keeping everyone out and making the sand glow. “American Idol”, “Master Junior Chef”, “Ninja Warriors” where there can be only one winner and everyone else is a looser. Commune is a dirty word. Being politically correct and having respect for others is problematic. B.o.B. says the Earth is flat, and Inhofe leads a charge of science deniers, spurning the same science that made radio and radar, airplanes, talkies and TV. Demonstrations are for guns or veterans, rather than trying to prevent people from becoming them. They t3xt with numb3rs, cryptic acronyms and emoji because typing full sentences is just too boring. They dare not place a call much less sit in circles. They spread cat videos like viruses, and bury their noses in cellphones looking at their selfies.
That is not to say the current generation is corrupt, lazy, or inept. Every moment in time has decent and decadent alike. Progress moves in waves. This is why we label generations, when there is only an even flow.
Perhaps the Gen-Xers and Millennials will find a crest in the wave of time to ride. They could cure cancer, or perhaps stop the dreary rain. Perhaps they will lose their worship of the almighty dollar and self-interest, and find a new paradigm to replace the outdated one. When up against the Boomers’ slogans do not let your lasting legacy be “LOL”, “YOLO”, and “WTF”.