I’m on the older end of Generation X.
Growing up, I found myself constantly annoyed by the obsession some Boomers have had with the 60s. Sure, it seems like it was a fun era when people struggled to cause change in this country, but I never understood their obsession with the past.
Now, I’m starting to “get it” a little bit better.
Dear boomers: We’re sorry for rolling our eyes at you all these years. We apologize for scoffing at your earnestness, your lack of self-deprecation, your tendency to take yourselves a little too seriously. We can go ahead and admit now that we grew tired of hearing about the ’60s and the peace movement, as if you had to live through those times to understand anything at all. It’s true, we didn’t completely partake of your idealism and your notions about community. Frankly, it looked gray and saggy in your hands, these many decades later.
And look, we really did stand for something, underneath all the eye-rolling. We’re feminists, we care about the environment, we want to improve race relations, we volunteer. We’re just low-key about it. We never wanted to do it the way you did it: So unselfconscious, so optimistic, guilelessly throwing yourself behind Team Liberal. We didn’t get that. We aren’t joiners. We don’t like carrying signs. We tend to disagree, if only on principle.
But when we watched Barack Obama’s victory speech on Tuesday night, we looked into the eyes of a real leader, and decades of cynicism about politics and grassroots movements and community melted away in a single moment. We heard the voice of a man who can inspire with his words, who’s unashamed of his own intelligence, who’s willing to treat the citizens of this country like smart, capable people, worthy of respect. For the first time in some of our lifetimes, we believed.
Go read the piece. It makes a lot of sense to me.