A note about today’s PopCulteer: I originally considered using political cartoons or memes to illustrate this post. However, after spending way too much time looking at candidates and finding all of them to add to the problem that I’m writing about rather than helping to explain it, I decided to just use pictures of vintage toys that have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. I thought they looked cool, and weren’t stupid. So that’s why the images have nothing to do with this post. Sorry for any confusion.
I’m not a big fan of generational labelling. There is supposedly a generational war going on right now between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, and while many of my friends seem to be heavily invested in one side or the other, the entire conflict strikes me as bogus and unneccessarily divisive.
I was not a Baby Boomer when I was born. The first time I heard the term, I was still not a Baby Boomer. It was only in the last twenty years or so, after the folks in charge of demographics stopped caring about precision, and started moving the goalposts, that I somehow got lumped in with people who were born twenty years before I was.
I don’t mind it, since I don’t really care about such arbitrary labels, but it offends me on a logical basis. It seems to me that a demographic generation ought to run no longer than ten years, if that. People born even five years apart over the last century can have vastly different cultural and technological experiences, and it’s sort of pointless to herd everyone into such a large group. There shouldn’t be any single generation that can include parents and children, as the current definition of Baby Boomers does.
At the moment, the storyline for this latest generational conflict is drawn out of a fantasy world. In this world, all the Baby Boomers are selfish oafs who conspired to destroy the world’s economy so that the Millennials would be stuck paying for their sins. On the other hand, Millennials are all spoiled brats with entitlement issues who have no idea what it means to actually work, and who are devoid of common sense.
This is, of course, garbage. You can’t blame an entire generation for the bad consequences of poor choices made by our government. The truth is that our economy and the general state of the world is a result of the manipulation of people in power by the folks with the most money. They don’t want to share their money, so they work to destroy the middle class and unions and promote division among the working class to keep them fighting among themselves rather than realizing what’s really being done to them, and by whom.
And that’s what this nonsense war between the Baby Boomers and the Millenials is about. It’s a manufactured conflict designed to keep two of the largest demographics fighting each other instead of uniting against the people who are actually doing them harm. It’s a great way to keep anyone from noticing that income inequality is the real issue at play.
It’s only one tool in the arsenal of the powers that be. Using advances in technology over the last century, the forces of evil, who at the moment are operating the right wing of our government, create division and distraction so that they can actively work to undermine our constitution and run the show to suit themselves.
They also benefit from racial division, school shootings, low-level scandals, addiction, crime and military conflict. While those things get all the attention, they’re quietly re-writing laws to make it harder to vote, harder for poor people to have access to court, harder to hold a business accountable for anything and impossible for Democracy to work.
Back to the generational war, one of the biggest beefs is that Baby Boomers supposedly didn’t have to go into debt to get an education. This is not entirely true. Plenty of people around my age were caught in the student loan trap as it was being set forty years ago. The forces of evil persuaded states to slash their funding for universities, forcing them to raise their tuition while, at the same time, creating the current student-loan system, which is the closest this country has come to indentured servitude since before the writing of the constitution.
I have friends of all ages. I know people in their 90s, and I know people in their 20s. I know a lot of Baby Boomers, and a goodly number of them are in rough shape, financially. They are not all rich. They are not all sitting back laughing at the Millennials who have to clean up their messes.
I also know a lot of Millennials. Most of them are either struggling with student loan debts, or struggling to make ends meet without an education. However, more than a few of them are buying their own homes and don’t spend all their time bitterly griping about how everything is the Boomer’s fault.
The worst sin of the Baby Boomers as a generation is shared by the Millennials. Neither generation bothers to vote. In general, the Boomers were the most left-leaning, progressive demographic in history until the Millennials showed up, but neither group bothers to go to the polls. Over 30% of Boomers don’t bother to vote, but over half of Millennials stay away from the polls.
This is exactly what the folks like the Koch Brothers want. They actually refer to Democracy as “The tyranny of the majority,” and work hard to push their own brand of tyranny instead. They have put their resources over the past four decades into promoting the idea that there’s no reason to vote because your votes don’t matter. If that were true, do you really think they’d be passing voter ID laws and doing what they can to suppress voter turnout?
We’re all getting the short end of the stick here, and we need to stop buying into false divisions so that the folks opposed to Democracy can’t keep beating us with it.
Especially here in West Virginia, where “Democrat” Joe Manchin sold us out to the ALEC crowd when he was governor, we see this at work. In West Virginia the only growth industry is people moving back home to take care of their dying parents. Nothing else is bringing people into the state.
As our infrastructure, educational system and regulatory agencies are allowed to decay, our state is getting less and less appealing by the day. This is all because our state doesn’t really matter to the richest of the rich, so they just buy legislators who will refuse to raise taxes or legalize new business opportunities to allow us to improve the quality of our lives. That’s because our lives don’t matter to them. To folks like the Koch Brothers, the president and even our own governor, West Virginia is just a potential dumping ground. They might as well change our state slogan to “The Landfill State.”
So maybe folks should look around and see how screwed everybody is, regardless of age, and quit posting memes attacking the wrong people. Those were probably made in Russian Facebook farms anyway. Yes, old people have their annyoing quirks, just as young people do. It’s nothing to fight over, especially when there’s a common enemy.
That’s it for this rant-y edition of The PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular and irregular features. We have at least one new post every day.