Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not To My Generation

Amba presents a slice-of-life conversation with some disturbing themes.

I wish I could say I've never overhead similar conversations, but I can't. It would be so easy to rap these young people, but from where I sit, there is plenty of myopia and selfishness in every generation, including mine and that of my parents and, above all, the ones just behind them, the oldest boomers**. Perhaps the young adults with whom Amba was interacting have learned by observation that "play now, you pay later" is a perfectly respectable attitude to adopt.

Think, for example, of how we're putting off social security reform, in whatever permuation. Think of the overreaching prescription drug plan. I say "over-reaching" because it covers many people comfortably placed who while they may say they can't afford the cost of their medication--which I absolutely concede are in many instances overpriced--really mean that they don't want to spend their money that way. Think of the many people, far healthier and more vigorous than their parents at the same age or younger, who still feel entitled to retire EARLIER than they did but then complain about slacker younger generations--the very ones who ultimately are going to pay the piper, monetarily and otherwise.

Other examples abound.

Of course, I'm speaking in the aggregate: There are many who don't fit the profile. And I'm not excusing or condoning the lousy attitudes embodied in the conversation reproduced at Ambivablog. Nor am I intending to "bash" older people in a knee-jerk way.

But I have a hard time understanding how everyone can't see a rather stark and telling differences between the attitudes of people born, say, roughly 1935 or later and the generations previous to that, and they get more marked as one approaches the boomers. (Born in 1961, I myself am at the tail end of the boom, by most estimates.)

Could it be that older generations have taught these young adults "well"? Because it seems to me that "Not To My Generation" has been the mantra for a long, long time now.

**You may ask why I say "above all, the oldest boomers. That's because those in my parent's generation, in the aggreggate, had significantly more struggles earlier on than the boomers, and the younger boomers are young enough to be included in those who will be forced to pay the piper in one way or another--and perhaps directly experience the backlash and wrath of our most recent generations. The older boomers are "lucky" in that way, as in so many others.