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Full Version: Where the Boomers Led Us, Or Our Worse Presidency to Date
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I'm sharing a blog post I wrote on this sub-forum, since it fits based on the title and theme. But it kind of about my experience going to the Women's March back in Jan 2017 to protest the Trump inauguration, and about the Trump Presidency itself and how Boomer leadership has pretty well and truly hosed the Republic. It is also unabashedly partisan.

Original post: http://stevebarrera.com/where-the-baby-boomers-led-us/

Reproduced in full:
WHERE THE BABY BOOMERS LED US
 September 5, 2018  Steve Comments 0 Comment
When we went to the Women’s March in Washington D.C., just after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, we took the metro into the city. The station and the train were crammed with protesters and their signs. I remember one woman on the train, older than us, who was holding a sign that read “THIS ABOMINATION WILL NOT STAND.” I believe she was from the Baby Boomer generation, the generation that came before mine and that shook American culture apart in the Sixties, in a wave of youth protest. And here she was, elderly and still protesting, fifty years later, which is as long as I have been alive.

The abomination to which her sign referred was the election to the highest office in the nation of a man who stands for everything which she had fought against her whole life. A man who epitomizes entitled, obnoxious, and abusive white male power. A self-confessed serial sexual predator who thinks women should be grabbable at a rich man’s whim. A racist whose instinct is to treat non-whites like criminals – or worse. A lying corporate crony motivated by profits over people.


And yet here he was, propelled into the Presidency by the support of millions of ordinary Americans who were duped by his demagoguery and worshipped him as their savior. It was the raging apotheosis of the backlash against the Sixties that was behind the rise of the Republican party, a backlash by people resentful of an America that was more open, diverse and tolerant. More non-white and non-Christian. The backlash had just put into power a man the same age as this protesting woman, but an ignorant and crass bully – the worst of her generation, empowered by madness.


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When we arrived in the city the station was so crowded that it took an hour to get to the street. A huge mass of sign-carrying people slowly made its way through the turnstiles to exit the metro, and finally we were in the open air. We found our way to the mall and suddenly were swept up into a throng of protesters, streaming from where the speeches had been made (speeches we had missed, since it took so long for us to reach the city) towards the White House. The chanting, roaring energy was indomitable. It was the backlash against the backlash.
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But would it last? As of this writing, more than nineteen months have passed. Trump has proven to be as awful a President as anyone predicted – corrupt, cruel, a threat to the republic. His supporters are entrenched in their belief in his legitimacy; they voted for him, and his faults seem invisible to them. Meanwhile, the President’s opponents have adopted the language of resistance, like freedom fighters in an occupied nation.
Trump has captured the reactionary right because he is the champion of their agenda: to keep out the Hispanics and the Asians and the Muslims, to stop free trade with China, to restore America to its pre-Sixties greatness. In their minds, this agenda is a much-needed course correction after decades of American decline. And undeniably it is motivated by fear, a fear summarized by one simple headline: Fewer Births Than Deaths Among Whites in Majority of U.S. States.


It is sad that fear has overtaken a large minority, and that they have rallied around an unworthy man. But he was the one who spoke their language. As I write, his fortune is crumbling, and his supporters will no doubt stand by him to the bitter end.  But in the long run majoritarian opinion and demographic pressures favor the resisters. The blue wave may have hit a red wall, but it can become a blue tsunami and take that wall down. We just have to stay resolved.


On the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, we marched down the mall in the nation’s capital, until the streaming throng took us to the White House. There the crowd thinned out, as some people left, while others lingered. Some tables were set up and people held signs urging or promising the impeachment of a President who had been in office for all of one day. It was like a court being held, condemning him on his own front lawn. This was the site of the Boomer generation’s last stand, and they were as riotous, and as judgmental, and as destructive as ever. And this was where they had finally led us.


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According to Howe and Strauss the highest achievements of leading Idealist generations (Puritan, Awakening, Transcendental, Missionary, and Boom) are education, principle, and decisiveness. Trump is hardly erudite (he has almost certainly lost much of what he learned in college, as he sounds more like a typical high-school drop-out than like a college graduate); his principle is little more than a celebration of himself; he may be decisive, but he is decisively wrong. Idealist generations at their worst tend to be ruthless, arrogant, and selfish, with the best of their generations tending to mute such characteristics. Trump is those vices maxed out.

It is a myth that the hippies became yuppies and then obnoxious pigs like Trump. Trump has always been about himself above all else. Unlike most Boomers who have had to learn humility to survive in crappy jobs that they needed to take just to pay the rent and buy groceries (and disqualified themselves from becoming part of the economic elite in the process), Trump has lived a life of unrestrained privilege. He needs show no empathy toward anyone else.

The extreme polarization in economic results for Boomers is characteristic more typically of a Reactive generation. Maybe smart Boomers took the advice from high-school guidance counselors to heart when they got the message "do anything but blue-collar work, as that work will be rendered obsolete". Blue-collar work went to the dummies, so we got little talent into manufacturing and skilled trades from the Boom generation that had much intelligence. Smart blue-collar workers from the GI generation became the shop stewards and eventually union officials, and they were very good at such. Without such smart people in blue-collar work, the not-so-bright did the blue-collar work and did not go to night school to learn college-level writing, public speaking, and accounting that would have made them good negotiators. Furthermore, blue-collar work in American factories deteriorated, which may have spurred the off-shoring of much production -- and of course, industrial jobs.

The factory has been the most reliable means out of poverty in America -- more reliable than education (kids whose parents are well-paid blue-collar workers have more of a chance than those whose parents are ill-paid blue-collar workers), and we need remember this before disparaging blue-collar work as a direction in life. (Ironically the high cost of college education and the well-known glass ceilings in corporate bureaucracies may be causing many of the best-and-brightest Millennial kids to consider blue-collar life. It's easier to live well without a backload of college debt).

That has hurt unions, with half of all states now "Right to Work (for much less)" states. The unionized worker that was once the basis of the Democratic party vote is gone. States like Missouri and West Virginia that used to have large bases of blue-collar workers in mining and manufacturing have gone Republican. The Rust Belt showed signs of such in 2016, with Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, states that had not gone for any Republican nominee since 1988, going for Trump. Add to that -- Trump came close to carrying, of all places, Minnesota! Minnesota, the state proud of Hubert Humphrey as its son, and the only state to vote against Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Trump exemplifies the worst of the Boom Awakening -- the boundless appetite for sex, and perhaps (if the rumors are right) drugs, and he is the draft-dodger who loves military shtick and regimentation so long as he has no risk of becoming cannon fodder. He married two women from outside the United States, perhaps so he would not have to deal with any "Women's Libbers", and the "Grab 'em by their p***ies" statement likely exposes his character. Sure, Bill Clinton has had his share of sleazy encounters, but Trump has had more and worse. I never heard of Bill Clinton walking into a female changing room... no, I am not talking about my experience as a janitor when nobody was around and cleaning up was my job. I can't imagine Donald Trump ever having been a janitor.

...as for the white population having fewer births than deaths, this may be over-rated (there are some Latinos who are very white in appearance, and is a child of one of those and a white of any kind also white?... and in view of miscegenation, how black can one be and be considered white? 1/8 or so if nobody knows and nobody talks?) But let's remember -- America is becoming more urban, and middle0-class people in tiny apartments are unlikely to have children unless they brought those children with them. The apartments are getting especially tiny in the highest-income areas in California, as a counter-example to depressed Martin County, Kentucky.

I see Donald Trump as at most a one-term President -- that is, if he does not reign under disgraceful conditions or the Grim Reaper doesn't take him with the aid of his atrocious eating habits. This is not to say that he will be the last Boomer President, and that should Trump be the last Boomer president (the youngest Boomers turn 60 in 2020), that we will not have a Boomer President who is erudite, principled, and decisive, who has outgrown selfishness before becoming President, and who is ruthless or arrogant only when such is appropriate. That could be the Redeemer President of our time. But if the last Boomer to ever be elected is Trump, then perhaps the Generation X President will have plenty of room in his cabinet for boomers at their best -- which means nobody like Trump. Obama,a s part of Generation X, could not get away with much... and knew it.

Or is Obama really a Boomer? He is certainly erudite, principled, and decisive... maybe a bit too civilized for the ruthless characters pushing the Tea Party opposition. A popular book entitled Assholes (yes, that is the title!) shows Dubya and especially Trump as well fitting the title, and Obama not fitting it well (that is a compliment!) So far I see him more like Truman or Eisenhower than like FDR, but he is much more like FDR than like Dubya or Trump. Maybe Howe and Strauss drew the line between 1882 and 1883 to put FDR among the Idealist generation and Mussolini, Laval, and Tojo among the 'Bad Boy' Lost Generation as leading figures of fascist evil. FDR had quite a few Reactive traits (a bit devious for most tastes).
I don't what could be done to bring manufacturing jobs back for the less-educated worker; as the world economy has continued to evolve, it is the kind of work best done by robots and best situated in places where low-skilled labor is cheap. I think a large part of the backlash (as I put it) that brought Trump to power is resentment of this fact - but what solution is there? Economic nationalism as Steve Bannon put it (whatever happened to him?) can't resurrect an outdated mode of economics and I doubt it can stop capital from flowing to where it gets the best returns.

I think progressive policies - redistributing wealth through taxation, single-payer healthcare, raising minimum wages - are what is best for the working class. But Trumpistas have made it clear their priority is border security and ethnic cleansing.

I think our extreme polarization definitely comes from the Idealist Boomer generation, who still are more than half of congressional leadership, and it will start to simmer down once the Boomers are in the minority. And I would say that Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer - he was pragmatic and cautious in his Presidency, at a time when other qualities might have served better.
(09-08-2018, 02:35 PM)sbarrera Wrote: [ -> ]I don't what could be done to bring manufacturing jobs back for the less-educated worker; as the world economy has continued to evolve, it is the kind of work best done by robots and best situated in places where low-skilled labor is cheap. I think a large part of the backlash (as I put it) that brought Trump to power is resentment of this fact - but what solution is there? Economic nationalism as Steve Bannon put it (whatever happened to him?) can't resurrect an outdated mode of economics and I doubt it can stop capital from flowing to where it gets the best returns.

Manufacturing? We are going to need to turn to artisanship to soak up a workforce. Manufacturing is good for making things cheap, and craftsmanship is good for making anything distinctive.There will be no way in which to build individuality into increasingly-refined consumer goodies. Personal distinctions will be possible in such things as furniture. Who knows? In view of the inequality becoming increasingly intense in America, I am surprised that custom bodies are not again crafted for motor vehicles as on the Duesenberg automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s, bodies fitting the caprice of the wealthy buyer being fitted to a standard chassis. 

Except in the poorest countries, the purchase of manufactured goods has likely peaked. Energy use per capita probably peaked around 1990 due to the demise of regimes infamous for profligate use of energy, and more efficient vehicles and lighting. Peak travel is likely nigh due to the trend toward telecommuting. Just because the insurance claims involve a hospital in high-cost San Francisco does not mean that the paperwork can;t be done in low-wages in  English-speaking places... like India, Nigeria, or eastern Kentucky, depending on taste. 

 
Quote:I think progressive policies - redistributing wealth through taxation, single-payer healthcare, raising minimum wages - are what is best for the working class. But Trumpistas have made it clear their priority is border security and ethnic cleansing.

If -- and this is a huge "if" -- the elite classes of ownership and management allow it. In view of the powerful resistance that the Master Class had against the slightly-liberal Barack Obama, I expect them  to do much the same once the American people get so presumptuous as to vote in an administration that compromises the will of the economic elites. America has a combination of rapacious, demanding elites who believe themselves to taking everything.

The Republican Party has absorbed the economic elites of Northern commerce and the agrarian elites of the Old South, forming as purely reactionary a political party as can win an overall election in any advanced industrial country.  Those elites would destroy democracy to further consolidate their economic dominion.

Quote:I think our extreme polarization definitely comes from the Idealist Boomer generation, who still are more than half of congressional leadership, and it will start to simmer down once the Boomers are in the minority. And I would say that Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer - he was pragmatic and cautious in his Presidency, at a time when other qualities might have served better.

It is the power of the Boomer Right and its access to sophisticated techniques of persuasion  against the weakness of the Boonmer component of the usual left-tending institutions (like unions) that made such possible.
The real problem with the Boomer generation is two fold: we are split into two nearly equal camps and those two camps are diametrically opposed though focused on different things. The Left camp is all about social justice and has gone off the rails with things like trigger warnings. The Right camp is all about liberty and has gone off the rails with things like blame-shaming. This is a pissing contest, not a real contest of ideas. Maybe the Millies can do better. Xers aren't doing much except being cynical.
The Millennial Generation is far from significant leadership in American politics. Of course I expect a large influx of elected public officials from the Millennial Generation, as the oldest are now in their mid-thirties just in time for one of the tweo main parties to takes some huge losses in Congress and state legislatures.

Millennial adults will not set the Boom agenda that prevails at the end of the Crisis Era, but they certainly will be in a position to decide which Bo0omer agenda prevails. I doubt that it will be the Boomers who believe that the only purpose of the common man is to suffer for the rich and powerful who ravage everything for their gain and indulgence.
(09-09-2018, 04:17 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]The Millennial Generation is far from significant leadership in American politics. Of course I expect a large influx of elected public officials from the Millennial Generation, as the oldest are now in their mid-thirties just in time for one of the tweo main parties to takes some huge losses in  Congress and state legislatures.

Millennial adults will not set the Boom agenda that prevails at the end of the Crisis Era, but they certainly will be in a position to decide which Bo0omer agenda prevails. I doubt that it will be the Boomers who believe that the only purpose of the common man is to suffer for the rich and powerful who ravage everything for their gain and indulgence.

We can only hope.  Of course, the 4T has to conclude with a new paradigm, and that's still an open question.
(09-09-2018, 05:50 PM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-09-2018, 04:17 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]The Millennial Generation is far from significant leadership in American politics. Of course I expect a large influx of elected public officials from the Millennial Generation, as the oldest are now in their mid-thirties just in time for one of the tweo main parties to takes some huge losses in  Congress and state legislatures.

Millennial adults will not set the Boom agenda that prevails at the end of the Crisis Era, but they certainly will be in a position to decide which Bo0omer agenda prevails. I doubt that it will be the Boomers who believe that the only purpose of the common man is to suffer for the rich and powerful who ravage everything for their gain and indulgence.

We can only hope.  Of course, the 4T has to conclude with a new paradigm, and that's still an open question.

What the new paradigm will be is an open question, but that the old paradigm is out is not.
(09-09-2018, 05:50 PM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-09-2018, 04:17 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]The Millennial Generation is far from significant leadership in American politics. Of course I expect a large influx of elected public officials from the Millennial Generation, as the oldest are now in their mid-thirties just in time for one of the tweo main parties to takes some huge losses in  Congress and state legislatures.

Millennial adults will not set the Boom agenda that prevails at the end of the Crisis Era, but they certainly will be in a position to decide which Bo0omer agenda prevails. I doubt that it will be the Boomers who believe that the only purpose of the common man is to suffer for the rich and powerful who ravage everything for their gain and indulgence.

We can only hope.  Of course, the 4T has to conclude with a new paradigm, and that's still an open question.

Trump offered us a new paradigm, one in which we get 'greatness' in return for debased lives. That is little more than what the Right offered us throughout the 3T.

One thing that I have noticed is that the 1T is nearly a complete repudiation of the preceding 3T. Even in mass culture -- I am well aware of nostalgia for the 1940s and even the 1930s... but not the 1930s or 1910's. Sirius satellite radio has channels '4' for Big band music (which does go back into the 1930s). '5' for the 1950s, '6' for the 1960s's -- but nothing for the '20s (unless you are looking for classical music).

The shopping-mall culture is practically dead. Reaganomics won't be revived. I doubt that there will be much 'retro' interest in pop culture of the 1980s and 1990s. Reaganomics will be shown for the sham that it is, and it won't be revived in any form until at least the 2060s.
 We will use less energy, and most people will live in gigantic apartment complexes whose windows will be giant telescreens filling some concrete wall. People might spend their entire lives in such caverns from birth to the nursing home.  That's how you get a view of Maui, Pebble Beach, Tahquamenon Falls (they really are better than Niagara!), the Matterhorn, a telescopic view of space,among others.  Life will be heavily artificial... but who wants to endure the fire-and-ice climate of some place like Kansas City if that is all one can afford? (I don't know Kansas City that well -- maybe it is nicer than I suggest. But the climate is horrible -- infernal in the summer and frigid in the winter). You might always be inside unless in transit to see or do something in some other gigantic apartment complex, and the thermal range is more  like that of San Diego than like... well, Kansas City. Much of life is either artifice or 'virtual'.
(09-08-2018, 02:35 PM)sbarrera Wrote: [ -> ]I don't what could be done to bring manufacturing jobs back for the less-educated worker; as the world economy has continued to evolve, it is the kind of work best done by robots and best situated in places where low-skilled labor is cheap. I think a large part of the backlash (as I put it) that brought Trump to power is resentment of this fact - but what solution is there? Economic nationalism as Steve Bannon put it (whatever happened to him?) can't resurrect an outdated mode of economics and I doubt it can stop capital from flowing to where it gets the best returns.

I think progressive policies - redistributing wealth through taxation, single-payer healthcare, raising minimum wages - are what is best for the working class. But Trumpistas have made it clear their priority is border security and ethnic cleansing.

I think our extreme polarization definitely comes from the Idealist Boomer generation, who still are more than half of congressional leadership, and it will start to simmer down once the Boomers are in the minority. And I would say that Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer - he was pragmatic and cautious in his Presidency, at a time when other qualities might have served better.

As far as polarization is concerned, Generation X has merely intensified the Boomer fires. You could certainly see that in this forum and its older version over the years. Xers here were the most polarizing and the most difficult to dialogue with. Of course there were exceptions, but the Boomers by contrast were measured and reasonable. And if you look at congress, the Freedom caucus is now majority Xer, although with still a strong Boomer contingent. I looked at its members and their birthdays and posted the results here already. There are more core Xer voters than core Boomers now, but the polarization keeps getting stronger.

As for Obama, only a cusper prophet/nomad could combine his long-viewed perspective with pragmatic approaches, and remember the other celebrated gray champions, Lincoln and FDR, were hybrid and cusper respectively, so Obama could have been one too if he had the right stuff. And another one might still come along.

Maybe, just maybe, the leaders of the Parkland school gun control movement, late-wave latter-day JFK-type cohort millennials, can show a combination of dedication and strong determination and the potential of charismatic leadership, yet with the ability not to get too hooked into partisanship. Millennials will be the largest voting bloc generation from now on, so it's in their hands now, as their best-spoken leader I have seen so far, Matt Post, confidently says.


(09-09-2018, 10:18 AM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]The real problem with the Boomer generation is two fold: we are split into two nearly equal camps and those two camps are diametrically opposed though focused on different things.  The Left camp is all about social justice and has gone off the rails with things like trigger warnings.  The Right camp is all about liberty and has gone off the rails with things like blame-shaming.  This is a pissing contest, not a real contest of ideas.  Maybe the Millies can do better.  Xers aren't doing much except being cynical.

Yup, or another way of putting it, a clash between Emperor Palpatines or Obi Wan Kenobi's. It's hard to say who will win.

And...






Ouch!  That's gotta hurt. That rocket even hits me a bit too close.
Ooo, who is this Chuck Underwood guy? Have we talked about him here before? He uses the Strauss & Howe generations with the wrong birth year boundaries and doesn't give any acknowledgement.   Confused

http://genimperative.com/

He doesn't have a Wikipedia page either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Underwood
(10-16-2018, 05:40 PM)sbarrera Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:Ooo, who is this Chuck Underwood guy?

Oh, some random Youtube guy I stumbled across.


Quote:Have we talked about him here before?

Not that I know of.



Quote:He uses the Strauss & Howe generations with the wrong birth year boundaries and doesn't give any acknowledgement.   Confused

He's not the only one, my man. Pew research among a whole not of others does that also.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/201...lsdefined/

Anyone who goes into http://www.duckduckgo.com and types in "Baby Boomers" gets a lot of stuff about 1946-1964.
Strauss and Howe are outliers to be sure. Oh well, So the confusion continues.


Quote:http://genimperative.com/

OK, he does marketing. I wonder how his data set definitions are working?



Quote:He doesn't have a Wikipedia page either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Underwood
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Underwood][/url]I'd guess a lot of those search results don't either.
(09-08-2018, 01:09 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe Howe and Strauss drew the line between 1882 and 1883 to put FDR among the Idealist generation and Mussolini, Laval, and Tojo among the 'Bad Boy' Lost Generation as leading figures of fascist evil. FDR had quite a few Reactive traits (a bit devious for most tastes).

You may have a point. He cheated on his wife (not that I mind), he liked the drink, he hid his disability... now was he a Nomad who had flaws (which wasn't his fault), or just a hypocritical "Prophet"?
(09-09-2018, 10:18 AM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]Xers aren't doing much except being cynical.

Why shouldn't they? The Boomers tawk a lot about "values", but if you look at their behavior, the left half prefers to sleep around and smoking pot, while the right half enjoys spending their inherited money and boss around employees in their inherited firms.

Xers just imitate what Boomers do, not what they say.