Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2019

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Boomers to blame for the mess we’re in

I think I know what happened to the United States of America that the Greatest Generation worked, fought and died for almost 80 years ago.

The baby boom generation happened.

I am increasingly at a loss to explain to far too many people what is happening in this country we love so much. This country that has heard our hopes and dreams and, in so many cases, made them come true. This country that has given us everything and so much more throughout our lives and asked only for love and affection and caring in return.

I am at a loss because I haven’t been able to understand myself what happened to the United States. When did we move from being the No. 1 superpower both in military and economic terms, as well as the undisputed home of all things moral and good, to a nation torn in half and fighting among itself over what it means to be an America that is great or trying to be great again?

How did the America that made the world safe for democracy become a nation torn asunder by its own devices designed to thwart the will of the voters and even their ability to vote in free and fair elections?

How did that generation of Americans who lived through a worldwide depression and a world war that threatened every free man and woman on the planet, allow this planet to become a hotbed for climate change without doing everything it could to stop whatever contribution man was making toward that change for the worse?

And how did my parents and all of their co-generationists — people who fought and died and labored so that future generations could live in peace and harmony — leave this country and its care and feeding to a bunch of boomers who, at almost every turn, have made decisions looking out only for number one and ignoring the needs of those who will follow?

These are the things I think about in the era of Trump.

We have a president who cozies up to our enemies while ignoring or worse, bullying, our longtime friends and allies. We have a president who, in the face of the hottest temperatures on record in cities across the planet, chooses not only to not lead but, also, to not follow others in the quest to reverse the ravages of the contributions man is making to permanent climate change. And we have a president whose decision tree in matters of the long-settled law of civil relations, health care and the ability of women to make decisions for themselves and their own health is short on branches and thirsts for life-sustaining nutrients in the one place they do not exist — Fox News. And I believe the baby boomers are to blame.

In short, I have been wrong. I thought as a baby boomer that my responsibility to my country and those who live here was similar to the responsibility I have for me and mine.

I thought that a government of “we, the people” was designed to help the least of us pursue the dreams of the most of us — by working hard and following the rules. And that the rule of law was applicable to all men not just some.

My generation has spent a lifetime trying to do the right thing that all too often has turned out to be the wrong thing. And now we are faced with yet another opportunity — another election in 2018 — to fix what we have broken. And the odds are not good that we will do any better this time.

As a grandfather, I am solely concerned and consumed with the kind of world we will be leaving to the newest generations on this planet. Will we leave them war, will we leave them tyranny, will we leave them a planet that is so hot that it will no longer be cool or even possible to live here?

In the end, will we leave them free like our parents and grandparents left us?

I also believe that my grandchildren’s parents are the best able and the most responsible people to take care of them, make the best decisions for them and do all they can to nurture and protect them as they grow to adulthood. That means my generation must be prepared to let go of the reins and give our kids the chance to shape the world in which they must live.

It is beyond any doubt that boomers, as much as we have done that is good, have so messed this country and this planet up that it would be derelict if we continued to impose our will on the new generations. We can and should advise, but we must revise the nature of our involvement.

It is time for the young people to take charge. It is their world. It is their lives. And it is their planet. We need to leave them alone.

And, if we cannot take their lead this next time out, we need to find something else to do on Nov. 6.

Our children and grandchildren may be grateful for our selfless act of forbearance.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.