If the heroes of WWII were the Greatest Generation, how would you describe those who have followed in their footsteps? I’d have to say the reviews are mixed.
Take my generation of so-called Baby Boomers. We started out by fighting for Civil Rights. When confronted with a lame and unjustified war in Vietnam, many of our generation fought despite reservations while the rest of us fought to end wars against those who never attacked our shores. A few years later, we fought to win equal rights for women. And many of us took up other noble causes such as fighting for a cleaner, safer environment.
All of that was admirable. But what have we done lately? Moreover, what has the post-boomer generation (those who are now in their 40s and 50s) done? Let’s just say they may be remembered as the Least Generation.
While the Greatest Generation believed in shared sacrifice in order to obtain lofty goals, such as overcoming the Great Depression and overthrowing despotic dictators such as Adolph Hitler, the Least Generation voted to give themselves tax cuts. While the Greatest Generation built our nations infrastructure with hard work and tax dollars, the Least Generation has stood idly by and watched that infrastructure crumble.
While the Greatest Generation toiled and sweat to earn a better future for their children, the Least Generation has mostly reserved its sweat for the athletic club. While the Greatest Generation fought for labor unions and workers rights, the Least Generation has fought to destroy them.
While the Greatest Generation scrimped and sacrificed to maintain the war effort, the Least Generation has mostly patted soldiers on the back with a very public thank you for your service and privately told themselves thank God thats not my son or daughter.
In recent years, politicians from the Least Generation such as Michelle Bachmann and Eric Cantor have shown theyd rather play partisan politics than do whats best for our country. They have voted to end welfare. They have cut Medicaid, public education, Early Family Childhood Education and social services while cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires. They have fought to maintain subsidies and tax loopholes for the worlds largest and most profitable corporations while refusing to extend benefits for the unemployed.
They have voted to cut Social Security rather than raise the cap on FICA contributions for those making more than $106,800. Theyve voted to end Medicare rather than root out the causes of inflated medical costs or negotiate the cost of pharmaceuticals with manufacturers. And they were willing to risk government default rather than risk alienating their wealthy contributors by raising taxes.
Lets hope the next generation does better. But I’m not optimistic.