What Boomers Have Seen

Sitting here on the far side of 60, I find myself musing occasionally about all the events my generation witnessed in real time as they happened. Every generation compiles its own similar list over time, to be sure, but the ebb and flow of history that Boomers witnessed over time was certainly a helluva ride.

Here’s my personal variation of the list. I’d love to see yours.

  • John Kennedy assassinated
  • Beatlemania
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Civil rights movement
  • Vietnam
  • Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinated
  • First human sets foot on the moon
  • Woodstock
  • Nixon resigns
  • Iran hostage crisis
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union
  • The dawn of the digital era and the internet
  • The Great Recession
  • First black U.S. president
  • The Chicago Cubs win the World Series
  • The Donald Trump regime

It hasn’t all been fun but it’s all been amazing to watch unfold. As Dr. Winston O’Boogie once said, “You should have been there.”

The Man Behind the Curtain

Here’s the guy who’s setting the agenda for the United States of America. He’s a stone cold fascist and an unrepentant white supremacist. The only appropriate response to this president (Trump or Bannon, take your pick) and this kind of regime is resistance. Period. Full stop.

(And if you need a primer on resistance in the age of Trump, here’s a great place to start.)

My Nightmare Scenario For 2017 Has Nothing To Do With Trump

I’m going out on a limb here so bear with me: My biggest worry these days is that the most serious threat we face will be something that’s not on most people’s radar right now. I believe it will be something that takes place away from the glare of the Washington spotlight, likely drowned out of your newsfeed by the ongoing cacophony of Trump tweets and the outrage du jour over Spicer’s latest misdirections and deflections.

I believe that 2017 will see unprecedented restrictions on voting rights—aimed explicitly at Democratic voting blocs—enacted on the state level. Republican majorities in one state legislature after another will enact impediments to minority voting that will dwarf in scale and scope anything we’ve seen so far in states like North Carolina.

And here’s the thing: No one in the Justice Department is going to lift a finger to stop it. The protections of the Voting Rights Act have been dismantled, relics of a different era with different values. And if this is going to be stopped, it will have to happen state by state. If it isn’t stopped now—and if I’m right about the nature of the threat—then the resulting system will probably include some sort of voting (for the right people, at least) but it will be anything but a democracy.

It CAN Happen Here

I’m not big on the concept of generational identity but my generation—the so-called Baby Boomers—has certainly been lucky (or unlucky) enough to witness a large number of newsworthy events over the years. They include:

  • The assassination of President Kennedy
  • Beatlemania and the 1960s cultural revolution
  • The Vietnam War
  • The first moon landing
  • The only presidential resignation
  • The impeachment of President Clinton
  • The Bush/Gore election fiasco
  • The 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S.
  • The election of the nation’s first black president

As we slowly vanish from the scene, however, those of us who are still alive are glimpsing perhaps the most newsworthy event of them all: The United States of America’s descent into despotism.

Upton Sinclair and Frank Zappa titles notwithstanding, it’s clear now that it can happen here. And it is happening.