Monday, February 4, 2008

Can we please stop reliving the 1960s?

If Rick Perlstein's correct, don't count on it. Given that I'm not entirely sure that the US has ever quite stopped reliving the Puritan era, we may well be stuck in the 1960s at least until the Boomers are using walkers and those little motorized scooters to get around - not exactly a comforting thought. As a Gen-X-er born to pre-boomer parents, I have watched with some amusement as the Boomers have continued to play out their conflicts in the classrooms, pop culture, and on the political stage. The anti-establishment pose that some of these folks have continued to take to the present is especially amusing, given that by their occupations in academe, punditry, politics, etc., they long ago became "the establishment." Get over it. Hell, until or unless I manage to convince my wife (and the kiddos) that living off the grid would be a great idea, I'm stuck with that "establishment" label as well. Somehow, I think I'll live.

Then there's Obama getting the JFK and MLK treatment while the Clintons are treated like the Beltway-insiders' version of Cheech and Chong. Give me a freakin' break. The Clintons are and were about as counter-culture as The Brady Bunch - safe as milk, unless you just happen to be a civilian in the next country they choose to bomb into the Stone Age. Obama, for all the talk about him being a uniting figure, keeps on with all this "Raygun was tha bomb" talk that surely is alienating someone besides myself. Get past the superficial analogies foisted on these candidates, and one will rather quickly realize that both Obama and H. Clinton are peddling the same ol' DLC snake oil.

I suppose if there were anything that would "unify" the Boomers, it's the quest for the mythical John Wayne character who will come to rescue us from all our woes at the last minute. Here's a hint: it's not going to happen. Forget Camelot; forget Woodstock. Rather than look for that transformational leader, let's try something novel - figure out how to muddle through the next few years-to-decades that we have, accept that those who might emerge as leaders are flawed creatures just as ourselves, and that we're all going to periodically fuck up to put it bluntly, and by dumb luck we'll sometimes make half-way decent decisions as we face our period's own unique challenges (such as how to make the transition to a post-oil-era existence).

Oh, and to the next generation of politicos, please do us all a huge favor and refrain from reliving the 1980s. Aside from some really great anarcho punk, industrial, and hip-hop music, there really wasn't a lot worth remembering.

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