To the Members of My Generation, A Call to Arms

I am 24.

I have come more and more to believe that the current generations will not actually be capable solving many of the toughest problems facing this Country. And maybe that is more accurate then it seems, and with the Election of Barrack Obama we signal that a new generation is really coming to power to replace the Baby Boomers.
But what we should note from this transfer of power is the magnitude of problems that each generation can pass to the next. I realize now that throughout this long primary and campaign, just how much everyone understood what happens and the process to it.

They all note that you run to the base in the primary and move to the center. You have certain criteria for your V.P choice, in fact this is the first Presidential decision that we are able to view them make. The know it all even down do the tone and tactics of the campaign. Hence how there is a "traditional" attack role for the VP, or how they are always able to compare the negatives of campaign tactics to each other and even anticipate them.

Why? because this are these they have always done. It is ritual, tradition for them, even down to the arguments. Did anyone else who is new to politics note how they are always saying "We've been talking about these issues for years" anyone? They talk about the same issues and problems facing the country and how they will fix them, but they don't actually fix them.

They have established the tradition and routine of passing the biggest problems to the next generation. Notice the last time they fixed Social Security? The problem had been building and finally it hit a tipping point that the current generation was forced to deal with. But how did they solve it? by creating a solution that would buy them time to come up with a more permanent solution. What really is happening? The troblem will be passed to a new generation coming to power.

It is a tradition that is very old in this country. The Constitution said that all "men" were created equal, but allowed a black man to be slave for another 90 years. The founders were not sure if the country could handle the problem at the time so they passed it off. Women earning the right to vote finally coming in the 19th century. Every generation faces what it considers problems to big for them to solve, things they feel the country is not yet ready to face. Why?

They knew their generation was too divided.

Ok you are wondering why is this important?
I believe our political habits will be shaped by the current generation, just like they were shaped by the one before them. And that is the problem.

If you really think about it, you can probably identify one big issue that the current generation in power couldn't deal with because they were to divided as a country. How long will it be before two men can get married in every state in this country? Do we think it will never happen? Can we even say? The country is divided and we all know it.
 thats why you get this:


This is the Post Partisan Unity Schtick. And it leads to, at best, nothing but adoption of Republicanism on a smaller scale. It leads to the Iraq Debacle, the disastrous Bush economic policy and so on. We tried it their way for the past 8 years. Any right thinking progressive must reject this. Of course, if you do not have actual views on issues, then this is just right for you. Some will think you are reasonable. I find the view ignorant and stupid.

Listen, from what I have seen of the last 8 years, and really that's all our generation has really experienced in politics, I completely understand it. The current generation has been left with so many problems, that they are forced to grab the reins and get serious about solving them. This generation in the Democratic party needs complete control to get us back on course, make no mistake that's what they are doing. I have to ask though, what problems can't the current generation of progressives solve? Will hunger and poverty be gone in 40 years? We will finally stop exploiting our resources and be back on track to fix our environment. Even more important will they fix anything they aren't forced to? Will that 10 trillion debt be gone? if not how much are they committing to dealing with? Are they committing to dealing with our oil dependency, and the immigration issue?
Honestly I don't know the answers, I am too new to politics to really know what the Progressive Agenda is. but I have come to realize that each generation understands that there are problems that the country just can't solve because it is to divided. Knowing this, teaching the next generation of political activists the need to overcome this divide seems to me to be important if they really mean for us to one day be able to solve these problems they are going to leave us.

I know many in my generation have this "nothing ever gets fixed mentality" I had it too, then I realized. Why does each generation keep saying "We don't want to leave this to our kids", when that is EXACTLY what they are doing when they say we aren't yet ready to handle an issue? They are literally saying that because we are so divided some of the biggest problems have to wait for another time that is either

  1. more desperate for a solution that they are forced to deal with it. (think this generation and healthcare, or our current economy) or
  2. a time when the country is more united and ready to tackle the problem.

The Country wasn't yet united once to deal with slavery, to deal with segregation, to deal with GLBT rights. This identifies to me that unity is a problem and to me should show that Unity is the eventual goal. I mean in the end how does the current progressive movement ever plan to achieve true Equality, if the country doesn't fully unite behind the ideal?

Yes, Unity is a Schtick for their generation, as it has been for generations past. My generation needs to realize this cycle now. We need to see that there are always problems that are handed down because we are not united enough to tackle them. We need to realize that if we let this attitude against post-partisan unity take hold in us also, that we too will not be able to actually deal with the Problems.

I realize now that no generation every truly intends to deal with all the biggest issues, they all have surveyed their generation and realize it is too soon, and hope the next generation will succeed where they fail. I also now realize that each generation teaches the next that true unity is an idealistic dream that we "hope" will one day happen but doubt.

That is why so many African Americans cry at the sight of Obama's election, they never truly thought it would happen in their lifetime.
That is why women were so heart broken when Hillary lost, and so many were interested at Palin's choice, but they once again ask if not now then when?

they pass that doubt, instead of the optimism for a better tomorrow.

Where our generation just takes for granted it will happen, they have doubted because they have fought for so long, and they doubt.

In the Generations before us they have doubted whether the unity the country required would be achieved. They have seen unity abused to achieve narrow-minded and greedy ideals. They must fight against unity because right now, it is used for much of what BTD said.
Just like there was a time this country had to fight itself, because some truly wanted to believe that "all men were created equal."

These fights would not be necessary if we were truly united around the ideals and principals of this country, but we will not be United if we allow each generation to unconsciously teach us that Unity in the end, is just a dream.

My Generation needs to realize that if we truly don't want to repeat the mistakes of previous generations we must do 2 things.

1) We must commit to not teach future generations that Uniting as a country is only buzz words, not something the the United States of America, can never achieve.

2) We must commit to solving the problems of our days, and if not teaching the next generation all we can so they can solve it.

We have to Unite as a country and as a generation to do so.

No one honestly believes a woman will never be elected. I doubt any would say that a Muslim will never be elected. Or that we will allow the polar ice caps to melt, or homosexuals will never be able to marry. They have always said, "The time isn't right yet, but one day"

What they really mean is that, As a Nation they are not united enough to solve a problem or face an issue. Though how will we ever be united enough to actually solve problems that continue to be passed on, if we don't actually acknowledge Unity as a goal?

They will allow this idea that Post Partisanship should be avoided, not achieved, and to ingrain in each new generation that enters politics. Especially if starting from the very beginning of our involvement in politics, those who we would learn from, silently teach us that Post Partisan Unity is impossible.

There have come times before when generations had to stand up and fight for something, less the generations after be worse off.

A time will come when an issue will demand the country be united to solve it.

Let's be the first Generation to proclaim, Unity Starts with us.

And to you, previous generations, do you really mean that as a whole this Country will never get past partisan politics to solve the challenges future generations will face?

Which is better for the future generations of this country to learn?

Post Partisan Unity is nothing but a schtick.

or

Post Partisan Unity is an ideal,even though the country isn't ready for yet, its something no generation should stop reaching for.

then I ask those progressive leaders in the world. What are you teaching the future generations, my generation, about Partisan Politics and how will we really solve the big issues that your generation knows it will eventually have to pass on to us?

Tags: unity (all tags)

Comments

78 Comments

I believe 3 things is true of politics

1) Big issues can't be solved without a disaster to unite us

  1. Eventually there will have to come a Generation that believes that they have to honestly put down that what divides them both Democrats and Republicans and stop putting off problems to another Generation
  2. This will be harder if the current generation quietly teaches us that Post-Partisan Unity is a folly, and something we waste our time to strive for.

Make no mistake you guys are teaching my generation that Post-Partisanship is bad, not because the Republicans and DLC types use it to get their way, but just that its bad.

How does the Progressive Movement see truly equality ever being achieved if you don't teach the future Generations to strive for it, and how will we do it if you teach us that Post-Partisan Unity is a bad thing?

it may not work for your generation, but watch what you guys are passing on to future ones.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 01:40PM | 0 recs
All generations at a certain age

in their own way are idealistic.  I understand that.  But how can you say we have made no changes?  Are you that ignorant of history? of human nature?  Do you think people change their hearts because you say so?  I came of age in a time where integration was limited and segregation acceptable.  Yet, my children and their friends are comfortable with interracial relationships. We have more than a few biracial grandchildren in our family.  My 86 year old Aunt, born at a time when gay people were hidden and condemned has learned to accept gay couples in the family.
 While my parents had issues with those things, my kids are OK with them?  What do you think happened? Magic?  Or perhaps maybe a generation of baby boomers who went on Freedom Rides and were helping to register people to vote who never voted had something to do with it? And maybe my generation learned some tolerance from our parents and expanded on it.  People grow and change all the time.  Forcing them to do so is not only impossible, it is wrong.
When I was growing up, women could not buy a car without a cosign from a father or a husban, let alone a house. Yet single women of my generation started buying our own houses in the 70s.  And then there was Title IX.  While some of us graduated in the top five of our classes and got no scholarships, we damn well made sure our daughters and granddaughters could.

How the hell can you say we did nothing?  THIS is why some of us have been disgusted.  Some of us, MANY of us worked a lifetime for change and some change happened.  But you think we should have be able to do it all?

Do you even know what democracy is?  Do you understand that, even from the left, autocratic government, or totalitarian government is dangerous?

Sorry your blame game is nonsensical and irritating.  Maybe you will get it some day.

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: All generations at a certain age

"Sorry your blame game is nonsensical and irritating"

Just like all other "call to arms" that every other generation has tried to make.

So it goes.  

by gil44 2008-10-30 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

Barack Obama is a baby boomer. Perhaps you need to get over your generational divisiveness and recognize the generation you seem so eager to disparage is the very generation that shaped his world view and will elect him.

And here's an option you haven't considered: Post-partisanship is a myth.

We have always had parties and people with very differing political philosophies. That's what you get in a highly heterogenous society that values freedom. I wouldn't want it any other way.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

sure he is technically a Baby boomer, but he is at the very edge of it, he could easily be seen as part of the next one.

and I am not eager to disparage generations I am saying, how many problems have they been talking about for years? why haven't they just fixed them?

if it isn't about the divisiveness in the parties then you tell me, why doesn't this country just solve its problems?

Why isn't there Universal health care?

Yes we have always had parties and we have always had problems that each generation knows it can't solve at that time and must pass on.

I am asking you why? why can't you just solve it why pass it on?

if its not a unity problem, can you tell my generation that when we come to power Social Security will be fixed? Poverty will be dealt with.
Healthcare no long a worry, Immigration will be good?

because I am telling you now, my generation we are growing up thinking both sides will just fight back and forth about it and simply pass us the problem.

you may not want it any other way, but i dont see why it takes years and years and years for problems to get solved except for waiting for previous generations that hold up solutions to move on, so a newer generation can implement new ideas and changes.

Post partisanship is a myth? so what is the future?

Each side fights for power and hopes to never screw up so they don't lose it?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

Both sides will just keep fighting it out. And guess what, we still manage to keep improving this country. Nothing good comes without a fight.

Social Security isn't broken. Saying that it is is a sure sign that you've been influenced by the right-wing.

Why isn't their Universal Health Care? Because the American people have just gotten used to the idea that we need it.

Yes. Each side fights for power and hopes to never screw up. That's the beauty of democracy. If they screw up, we get rid of them. It would be TERRIBLE if one side won permanently. I think that's called "totalitarianism". I'd much rather have our "broken" and "partisan" democracy than have one party that "unifies" us all and "fixes" everything. That is the biggest nightmare scenario of them all.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

you are like the right when they say the democratic ideals are socialism.

I am simply saying raising future generations to hold unity and working together as an ideal, to fix problems BEFORE they become a crisis and force us to do so, and you call it "totalitarianism".

that's my point, you will pass that kind of thinking down.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I am not anything like the right. Please expalin when I said that democratic ideals are socialism.

You said you wanted everyone to be unified and want the exact same things from the government. Sorry, but you will never get that with democracy, that's why most totalitarian regimes don't have free and fair voting.

It's human nature to ignore problems until they become a crisis. That's just the way it is with politics, or anything else.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I'd add that it takes a crisis at the societal level because until then, there is often not agreement that there's even a problem!  Just look at the economic mess we're in now.  Until now, there's been plenty of folks (still are some) who believe that deregulation of the financial sector was the solution to all problems.

At the societal level, until everyone is suffering, it's always the tendency for others to say that problems are all due to individual failure.

At the individual level, I think it doesn't necessarily take a crisis.  When I look at my American Express bill and notice that we're spending too much, I tell my wife, and we resolve the problem (cut spending) immediately--before we have to file bankruptcy because of it!

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

Yup. FDR never could have achieved all that he did if it weren't for that financial crisis. And the GOP is STILL complaining about it (and will never stop).

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

On the personal level, you may not need a crisis to curb your spending. But human nature often does lead us to wait for a crisis before we pay attention to our health, marriage, children, etc.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

oh, agreed, of course.

by slynch 2008-10-30 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I think you are being divisive unnecessarily, and perhaps you've sliced up society the wrong way, to boot.

First, what exactly do you mean by "generation?"  I'm a demographer, and I don't know what you mean.  "Generations" are social constructions; what defines the cutoff between one vs. another?  And, whether you want to call Obama a boomer or not, he certainly isn't part of your 'generation.'--he's twice your age.

Second, you ask why we don't have universal health care.  Some don't see it as something desirable.  That's not different in your "generation" nor mine (I'm 37), nor my parents' (they're mid-late 50s).  My youngest brother (who is 27) and my middle brother (who is 31), for example, are totally opposed to universal health care, while I am for it (as is one of my parents).

I think what you fail to realize is that period--era, if you will--sometimes affects all living "generations" the same way.  There is a growing movement toward favoring universal health care, for example.  That ISN'T some hallmark concern of your generation; it's a hallmark concern of the times.

Many of the things you list have not always been problems that are passed from one generation to another.  Social Security wouldn't be a problem if birth rates, for example had maintained their levels since 1940.  It is an emerging problem, but it isn't something that has been 'passed' down.  And, it honestly isn't clear that it will be a problem in the future--estimates (of which I'm intimately familiar, being a demographer, statistician, and aging scholar) suggest solvency for some time to come.  Debts and deficits were a problem that were largely solved by Clinton (who's old enough to be your grandfather).  Yet, they are now a problem.

Anyway, my point is that you've sliced society up wrongly.  It isn't a generation thing; it's a liberal vs. conservative and period-specific thing.

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

Exactly.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

mojo to you, my friend, for agreeing with me!

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I am not being divisive, I am asking the generation in power, (the boomers) and the one that is coming into power (I consider Obama to be apart of this).

to not to what the boomers are doing to you, and hand down problems they were pushing off for years.

Why is Obama able to say we have been talking about these things (like dependency on foreign oil) for years?

why didn't they just fix it in the 70's or the 80's because we are to divided in our politics, and we only solve problems when we need to.

I bet no one would have said Post Partisanship was nothing but a waste after 9/11.

no the country realized we had to come together to face the challenges that faced us.

so to now.

I am asking can there every be a time when we don't need the crisis first?

and how do you achieve that if not teach future generations that it is something they should strive for?

otherwise we will grow up like the current adults and say, Unity is impossible and foolish to believe it or want it, and we will teach this to our kids and so on.

untill finally a generation says no, you know what they are just platitudes we really believe we can one day unite as a country instead of just a party.

I don't think it will be the the boomers or Gen X.

I don't think it will be mine either, but I don't think the future generations have a chance if we keep allowing this mentality of

"that's how politics work" to just continue to be passed down unchallenged.

The fact you have a 24 year old challenging it should say something.

Hopefully in 40 years when a 24 year old wont have to challenge me about it, they will take a United Country for granted.

is it feasible, no it doesn't look like it right now, but it never will either if each generation only tells the next. Its impossible.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

First, you have to have agreement that there is a problem.  There is no such agreement on almost any topic.

Second, you have to have agreement on how to solve a problem.  There is no such agreement there either.

Third, you have to have the ability to solve the problem, once its agreed there is one, and once a solution is agreed upon.  Here, the US has done quite well, but many solutions to many problems, were they agreed upon, may still be decades off.

Just to take ONE example, consider health care.  There is not agreement on whether we have a health care problem.  Things are moving in that direction, but there is by no means a concensus.

Then, even among those who see health care as being at a crisis stage (like me), there is not agreement about what to do about it.  Is a larger free market solution best, or is a single payer, socialized system better?  I prefer a socialized system and can back that up with plenty of evidence.  But many if not most who agree that there is a problem do not necessarily agree with me.

Finally, even among those who see a socialized system as the solution, there is disagreement about how to fund it, how to implement it, etc.

I'm not saying a desire for unity is wrong.  I'm saying it is naive to think it can happen.  Crises are the BEST way to achieve it, but short of that, this is precisely why what some consider to be problems are passed from one generation to the next.  There simply isn't agreement at multiple levels, and there probably won't ever be.

What has to happen in this country is for one group to get the uppoer hand, implement a policy by force, and then see whether it works out.  If it does, then unity about it eventually comes closer to occurring--consider Medicare.  Only a slim minority now believe it is a failed policy; it has near universal support.
 

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

and i am saying a crisis is NOT the best way.

yes maybe for the current state of things.

but honestly a questions

1) if unity is something to desire who will desire it if when we do express that desire we are told its bad, or wrong, or impossible?

That is my point for the previous generations don't hamstring us, don't pass on this mentality that its impossible or that waiting till a crisis is the best time to try and solve something.

because then we too will act like that and pass that on.

teach us to strive for equality and unity and we will pass it on and so on, and maybe one day it won't be impossible.

but it wont happen if every 24 year old who goes out and says one day we will be truly united is met with.

You are naive, and wrong, but you will see.

I mean did that never happen to your generation growing up?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I'm saying (1) complete unity is not desirable, and (2) complete unity cannot happen.  I'm happy to pass those two messages on to future generations, which is why I'm talking to you.  I'm not naive or wrong--I have the benefit of 13 years experience on you!  I'm not suggesting that older people are always more right compared to younger people, but I think that everyone here on this blog who is your elder has thought about what you are saying for many years.

your thinking about unity has the air of totalitarianism about it, and all of us who are older than you have seen what that kind of thinking leads to--consider pre-1990 Eastern Europe.

Consider this--at the same time you're preaching unity, so is someone on a right wing blog.  Are you ready to give up your ideals for the sake of agreeing with their politics?  I'm guessing you aren't.  If I'm right, then the best you can hope for is that your views dominate your generation's ideology (or at least that your views dominate society during your life time, which is more likely).  But there never has--in the history of the world--and, I can't imagine there ever will be, unity.  That's just life.  When people can't even always agree with their spouses, there simply cannot be unity at the societal level.

From my view, differences between people's beliefs is what makes life worth living.

And, again, this notion that one generation passes problems along to another all assumes that there's agreement on what are problems--no such agreement exists.  Crisis--when NO ONE can disagree that there's a problem--is what makes agreement happen at the societal level.

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

"From my view, differences between people's beliefs is what makes life worth living."

Bravo! Me too!

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

and, again, this isn't a generational issue.  Medicare happened, for example, because it had the broad support of progressives regradless of age, not because one generation favored it.

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I mean put it this way, the entire point of this diary for you is to not to do what you almost have done.

I said my generation should fight for unity, you nearly have me saying yeah its impossible so why even try for it in the first place?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

I WANT you to agree with me that unity is impossible.  Then you'll work toward a more reasonable/practical goal!

I love your idealism--and I was there once--but idealism is just that.  You have to live and work in the real world!

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

we are about to elect the first Black President and you want me to drop my idealism and live in the real world?

what was the real world 100 years ago?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation,

we are about to elect the first black president without achieving unity.

That is reality.

by slynch 2008-10-30 07:49PM | 0 recs
Is it really so wrong

to ask the current generation in power and the one coming to power to take a step back and ask yourselves.

What are we teaching the next generation about politics.

if school elections followed the same habits and formats that adult elections follow would you be proud of us for being like you?
or would you be disappointed if we acted like adults act now?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

Oh good grief.  You really think people change that much from one generation to another?  As a boomer from a left wing family whose members worked their asses off and got their heads kicked in to make things better, your rhetoric really doesn't sit well.

Vote for what you believe in, that's all, not for some hazy future.  Moreover, no one teaches anyone to strive to make things better; it's part of being human.  Each generation starts fresh and each person has their own version of what the common good is.  The best you can do is fight as hard as you can for your version.

by mady 2008-10-30 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

I am not talking about voting.

I am talking about fundamentally changing an idea in this country from a party that believes in people uniting to make their party accountable to them, to a country that does this as a whole.

Are you telling me your Generation is exactly like your parents? that change didn't occur of course not. You're generation learned from the previous.

and no, my generation doesn't start fresh we learn from you.

I am quite literally telling you, you are teaching the next generation that America can never achieve true Unity.

I am quite literally telling you that is the signals we get, and that's why my friends are so resistant to politics, its to negative

and thats why I ask you, if you knew 40 years from now, My generation still conducted politics the way your generation did.

would you be proud of us for it?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

Yes. We ARE teaching you that we can never have full Unity. We can also teach you about gravity, the earth spinning around the sun, death, and a few other of life's certainties.

I am talking about fundamentally changing an idea in this country from a party that believes in people uniting to make their party accountable to them, to a country that does this as a whole.

I think that's what the Third Reich was all about. Seriously. I'd much rather have partisanship than nationalism.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

exactly

Yes. We ARE teaching you that we can never have full Unity.

This is the United States of America, and you seriously want to teach future generations that Full Unity is impossible.

much like full equality then right? otherwise how do you think anyone will achieve it if we never unite towards that goal?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

Yes. Full unity is SCARY.

Full equality and full unity are in no way the same or connected.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

full unity is NOT posible in a society that allows individuals the freedom to believe as they choose and voice/vote their opinions.  Not to be too negative, but you're showing your age.  We ALL believed unity was possible at your age, regardless of when we were born.  Experience tells us that it isn't possible, nor that it is necessarily desirable.  The worst things in history have occurred when too many people agree or when one group's ideology is allowed to completely dominate another!  

The fact is, though, that your generation will not unite completely either.  As I said in a previous post in this diary, my brother--who is almost your same age--would almost assuredly disagree with your politics.  That's the way things are.

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

Full unity does not mean conformity of believes.

it means that as a country we believe in shared goals, moving the country forward, striving to better the world for the next generation. and improve what we can.

does not these ideals we require people to unite to do them?

are we so against independents or republicans helping us to do so?

There should be no reason why political activists my age are as divisive as previous generations except for we have picked it up from them.

I am just saying do we really want to continue to pass it on? maybe yours does.

I am asking mine to think about the subconscious lessons we are learning and whether or not we really want to follow those in the future for ourselves and the generation we will be raising.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

if unity doesn't mean consensus of beliefs, I'm not sure what it would mean.

People do not unite, generally, behind shared goals, because we do not all have the same goals.  And we certainly do not have shared beliefs about the means to obtain goals even when they are shared!

Most folks believe in equal opportunity, for example.  Some believe we already have that.  Some (including me) don't.  You cannot 'unite' behind shared goals, when ends and means views are dissimilar.

Again, this isn't a generational thing.  We're not passing to you a "belief" in disunity.  It's not a belief--it's a fact.  People differ.

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:43PM | 0 recs
What do you mean by

divisive?

Were we divisive because we chose to tell our parents that we did not accept or believe in segregation?  If we had gone along with them then we would have had unity?  Would that be what you wanted?
Who gets to decide what moving forward is?  The religious right who thinks we should move forward by  preparing for Armageddon or the far left who believes we should strive for anarchy against the powers of the one world conspiracy?

Are you that naive that you think people will simply think alike because we all ultimately want the same thing?  

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

your comparison to equality, btw, is not a valid one.  Civil rights for blacks were not obtained via unity.  In fact, there was extensive division (and still is, albeit not as much)

Civil rights for homosexuals will also not be obtained via unity--they are making slow, but steady strides in that direction in the face of tremendous opposition.

The best you can hope for is that progressives will outnumber conservatives if you want advancement toward equality and change.  But, make no mistake about it, there are plenty of conservatives in your generation, just like there are in every generation.  To be sure, there are cycles in which progressives outnumber conservatives, and your generation will be marked by (as is already being studied) a dominance of liberals over conservatives.  But your generation is not unique in this regard.  The previous such generation is just outside your life time.

by slynch 2008-10-30 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

oh, I thought it was both Whites and Blacks coming together to solve that, Unity no?

the problem is you only think in parties, EVERY solution has come about by people uniting to solve it. they didn't care about parties or ideologies, only that there was a problem that needed everyone's help.

I am simply saying what if we taught future generations to stop needing crisis, to get the big stuff done?

how will we do that? we have to unite with 1 goal, and that's to solve which ever problems face us.  

I am saying now my Generation can do something different, I have friends who are conservatives, we can talk for hours.

what if one day we both ran the respective parties? why couldn't we talk and think through tings then, like we do now?

except for politics will teach us this is impossible.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

look, the fact that you can talk to your conservative friends for hours doesn't prove anything.  First, they do that in the US Senate daily.

Second, I have the phone bills to prove I can do the same thing!  Many of my friends and family are extremely conservative, and I talk to them about politics incessantly.  Doesn't mean that, if it came to a vote, we'd be able to pass a single piece of legislation!

You were 16, by my count, when Bush came into office.  In my lifetime (what I remember of it), there has never been so much partisanship.  You've seen, from my view, the most perverted government ever.  Prior to Bush, there wasn't the same extent of party-line voting and one party forcing their will on another.  In other words, what you've seen is an abberation, not the rule.  Which is one reason your generation is backlashing against it.  This happens--when one party gets the upper hand, it's usually less than a decade before there's a swing in the other direction.

I don't think just in terms of parties, btw, but the current political climate sort of imposes that type of thinking.  Wait until 2012, or maybe even 2010, and you'll see a difference.  I'm betting that Obama will win the presidency, and democrats will gain considerably in the House and Senate.  Then, in 2010, the House and Senate will move back toward equilibrium (more Republicans).  The Republicans will tone down their views to get there, and quite possibly, Democrats will overreach (much as Republicans have done).  This is cyclical--learn your history.

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:25PM | 0 recs
Every generation thinks they are going to change

Everything!

We boomers have mixed record.

We put a man on the moon, but we also did the Vietnam war.

LBJ signed the votings rights act, but Reagan started allowing the RR to control way too much policy in the Republican party....

Clinton had a fantastic 8 years of peace and prosperity.

Bush Jr. was clearly the worst president maybe ever.

Will Obama be your Franklin Delano Roosevelt or your Jimmy Carter?

Still, better off then the bitter end of the boomer rule with John Sidney McCain.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-30 03:35PM | 0 recs
indeed.

except for my generation doesn't

as a whole we don't believe we are going to change anything, because before Obama what could change, both sides just fought back and forth, and never did anything.

and that's how politics were, and if that continues with Obama, it will only cement it.

and we will pass that on.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

oh, and it wasn't blacks and whites working in 'unity' to obtain civil rights.  Blacks had little to do with it, given their marginalized status.  It was largely white progressives, in power, who forced change.  I'm not saying that MLK didn't exist, that there weren't sit-ins, the bus boycott, etc. that were led by blacks.  What I'm saying is that (1) it was by no means a unity thing in the population that led to civil rights, and (2) it certaintly wasn't a unity thing among politicians either.

In other words: it wasn't unity, it was FORCE by one group dominating another that led to change.  Unity tends to come AFTER policy change, not before.

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:38PM | 0 recs
I have to disagree

Black Americans put their lives on the line and faced snarling dogs, fire hoses, nooses, bats, guns, fires, etc.  When the rest of America saw those images, they, including some politicians saw it was wrong and joined to change it.  I would argue it was the threat of chaos and violence that moved the government to do the right thing, not their beneficence.

by orestes 2008-11-01 09:50AM | 0 recs
i'm 23

and coming along for the ride

by sepulvedaj3 2008-10-30 02:14PM | 0 recs
my whole point here is

what are you passing down.

why hasn't anyone gone yet

"it seems hard, and i don't see how it can be done, but a country that doesn't let politics divide it!? well just like there were those who said a black president? one day. I now too say a country that can actually unite to solve problems without needing a crisis? you know what? one day"

you guys simply believe it can't happen or its bad, so you are trying to convince me it's bad or can't happen.

Not what the progressive movement is all about.

get out there and show em it can be done.

Unity is embedded in the promise of this nation, otherwise what point is there for a democracy if not for the people to unite together and bring about the changes their times call for.

If not united to achieving certain goals, what is the democratic party for?

and why is it so impossible to believe one day instead of uniting around parties, the country as a whole can unite and solve problems.

I am not saying being a utopia, but I am saying that when we see a problem, it doesn't get talked about for 30 years waiting until we are forced to do something.

Unity = we see a problem, we discuss, we fix.

just because it seems impossible now, doesn't mean you think you need to convince future generations it is always impossible for them too.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 02:52PM | 0 recs
Because the design of democracy

was specific to make sure we challenged each other.....checks and balances.  Without disagreement, there is autocracy and that can be dangerous.

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Because the design of democracy

absolutely right.

by slynch 2008-10-30 07:58PM | 0 recs
How would we unite

the country to accept gay marriage?  How would you unite conservative christians and the polyamorous on this issue?  It seems to me that you are recognizing, perhaps for the first time, that not everyone agrees on the major issues of our time.  Well, as you continue to explore the world, you will encounter people who not only diagree with your views, but will be incapable of even understanding them.  And you will meet people who appear to be filled with hatred and anger and are uninterested in listening to your views.  As a progressive, I believe, you have to respect these people, even if they drive you to distraction or scare the hell out of you.  

I understand what you are trying to say, but I think that if you sat down and tried to come up with a plan for achieving this unity, the reality that it is not part of human nature may become more apparent.  

Also, don't confuse an acceptance of this reality with giving up the fight to create a better world.  We can achieve some form of consensus on critical issues, such as basic equality for all Americans.  You fight through the differences and try to win over your opponents.  That's how change happens.  You should study the history of the 20th century to get a better sense of how much things have changed over the past forty years.

by orestes 2008-11-01 10:03AM | 0 recs
Well, I think he MIGHT be a generational figure...

Really interesting thread.

BTW, I think I believe Obama BELONGS to your generation, but he is agewise and shaped by and at the tail end of mine.

He was shaped by his grandparents that were more like my parents then yours, and his mother was also a little old to be of a generation to have her kids considered millenials?

You might say Baracks sister is the start of the Gen-X-ers, but He is pretty clearly the very tail end of my generation Boomers?

But, be that as it may, I do agree he probably belongs half to you folks and half to the Gen-exers, in a political sense. Bush ends IMHO the Nixon/Reagan time-line, IF Obama indeed gets elected.

Because I think the changed MY generation started to crank in began with Reagan, and might be ending with Bush...

And Obama MIGHT be that transitional figure that people talk about as THE START of an Era in politics?

So, that maybe more relevant then if he is a boomer and gen-X-er or you adopt him as a millenial.

Now, only one issue that might upset your applecart?

You have to get him elected.

Otherwise you are looking at the horrible end of the BabyBoom rulers in McCain.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-30 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re:

indeed I know was attracted to Obama because you know what i really believed it.

I really believe we don't have to be Red States and Blue States, but it only happens because each generation teaches the other this is how it works.

can anyone change that who know, but I think eventually a generation has to go you know what, we will be the first to really try, and at the very least we will ingrain our children with the ideal to actually want to work towards unity and a common destiny for the country.

I play online games with 15 year olds who join us older people in discussion of politics, its just amazing to see a 15 year old talk about politics, and I think what are we teaching them if they watch the current state of politics.

but it seems to be such an unpopular Idea.

to me I just thought it was an idea rooted in the very principals of this country.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think he MIGHT be a generational figur

They call it generation Jones I think. Born a year earlier than Obama I recognise some differences, and though not disponitive, I do think the diarist  has touched on (albeit in a slightly clumsy way) some generational differences.

My older brothers, a decade older than me, pure baby boomers who swung big time in the 60s have a much greater sense of entitlement than I do. They worked hard, sure - and played even harder. But in some ways they expected things to remain good, to get to the good jobs, that they had achieved equality and revolution and all the cool music, and that my generation, who had punk and grunge, were somehow lesser.

I do think there's a great difference coming of age in 60s and 70s - with all those dreams, and disasters. And coming of age in the era of Thatcher and Reagan.

Two points I've noticed during this

Caught on the cusp of these generations, I've noticed that democratic baby boomers are more ideologically partisan (left or centre) and more formed by the culture wars.

I actually like the enthusiasm of the new voters (the ones after generation X) and I like their criticism of the older generations. Seems very 60s to me.

Maybe that's why children of the 60s get so angry about them sometimes. That's my second point: boomers can get testy about being called the older generation - part of the 60s obsession with youth perhaps?

by brit 2008-10-30 06:24PM | 0 recs
McCain is NOT a boomer

NOT even CLOSE......

by Jjc2008 2008-10-31 05:24AM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

Different people believe different things.  Are you expecting people to start going along with policies that they fundamentally disagree with, policies they believe are completely wrong for the country, in the name of unity?

Yeah, it would be nice if people did that, provided they agreed to unify behind MY preferred policies.  What happens when the gay marriage opponents say, "Hey, there are more of us right now than there are of you, why don't we all unify behind OUR position, rather than let politics continue to divide us?"

A majority of people supported the war in Iraq.  Should we have all unified behind it, because unity is the overriding goal, and we don't want to let politics divide us?

Let's test the strength of your commitment to unity.  If given the choice between (1) unifying behind a political outcome that you happen to deeply disagree with, or (2) continuing to fight in the political arena in hopes of winning a majority someday, would you truly choose the first option?  Would you truly say "okay, I'll agree that gay people can't get married, for the sake of unity"?  And if you wouldn't, why should anyone else unify behind policies that they don't agree with?

by Steve M 2008-10-30 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

I make the same comment re the importance of unity vs. beliefs upthread somewhere.

I think this is an important discussion, especially the issue of whether there are 'generational' differences.

by slynch 2008-10-30 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

I don't mean having to have the same ideas and politics.

maybe I can't fully express it, maybe if I didn't have to defend the very idea of a United America it would be easier.

I truly envision a country that truly understands the idea of bi-partisanship.

and no unity isn't the only goal, I believe we need to unify on ONE ideal. to teach the next generations to strive to be better.

Unity is basically believing not just saying, but believing

there isn't a red state or a blue state.

I mean are we united by nothing more then the name of our country? that is all that binds this country together?

and is it so wrong to hope that a future generation will be bound by more.

can I tell you what, no, but that's because what has the previous generations thought me about Unity in this country?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation

and is it so wrong to hope that a future generation will be bound by more.

can I tell you what, no, but that's because what has the previous generations thought me about Unity in this country?

No, believe me, I wish you the best, good luck?

Tell you what, let me see how fast you millenials can get gay marriage bans off the table, k?

I think it will be another 15 years before enough of the boomer RR die off, so good luck with that one.

You talk to your conservative breatheren, what if you start with that one?

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-30 03:45PM | 0 recs
No one says to not strive for it

but what you are putting forth is the notion that somehow generations before you failed because they were incompetent or lazy or self serving.  And that's just not true.  

Change takes time....and in their core, people are tribal and self-serving in order to survive.  We have been trying to expand the "tribe" but at the same time, one must always be wary of over zealous nationalism.  Bi partisanship is not easy.  It is a goal and always should be.  But not even progressives can agree on everything.  Humans, in a free society, have the option to disagree.  THAT is what makes democracy hard. It will always be hard.  That is what the founding fathers wanted......because too many people thinking the same way can be dangerous.

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: No one says to not strive for it

agreed and I am not calling for the change itself.

only that when someone says Unity should be a goal, we dont say Post Partisan Unity is a Schtick that they send the wrong message.

they say unity is the problem and should be avoided when really its what has been needed.

if you believe Post Partisan is something to reach for then you weren't who this was too, only those who keep saying its bad. it is teaching the next generation that striving for post partisanship is bad.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 06:37PM | 0 recs
I don't know that anyone

is teaching that.

I think you are missing a larger point.  People my age, the same age as George W and Karl Rove understand that different people have different goals.

Unit or bipartisanship can be a goal but never more important than our progressive ideals.  
We, my friends, wanted to end Vietnam.  George and Karl just didn't want to serve, didn't care who got killed, or how many countries were destroyed.  Decades later do you really think we are teaching non partisanship by telling you not to trust people like W or all the other hordes of self serving plutocrats?

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't know that anyone

did you not read the post I quoted there?

it was the VERY point of the quote. that post partianship is a joke.

Kos has more then once also suggested this.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 06:56PM | 0 recs
Well maybe because some

understand that there will always be Karl Roves and George W's.

That said, I don't generally agree with kos on most things.  He was a Reagan admirer. I was never more depressed than when Reagan won on 1980.  I knew then what would happen to this country....and sadly I was right.  NOW, that we have allowed it to go so far to the right, we must go back less we lose democracy.

While I would like to see some post partisanship, I think the idea of democracy will die without the constant challenge of pushing and pulling, the constant of swinging back and forth as we strive for the center.  It's human nature.

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 07:02PM | 0 recs
Well what do you think we

baby boomers were doing when we were just "fighting" all those years?   We were trying to change people's hearts and minds about things like race, gender, sexual preference?  

Do you think we were all arguing for the sake of arguing?

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:18PM | 0 recs
I don't think I can sum it up anymore then this

If my generation is to young to really know anything.

and i agree we basically are, all we know is the Bush Administration when it comes to politics.

but if that's all we know

Why is his message of change so powerful to us?

what do we want change from?

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 03:46PM | 0 recs
I would hope you would want to change

from what Bush has been selling you....a message that has been coming from the right for decades.  W didn't start this.....he and his friends just took what started a long time ago and used the power of communication and money and spin to enhance it.

Their message was wrong in the McCarthy era, in the sixties, in the eighties and in the millenium.   You seem to want to give as much blame to those of us who fought against the McCarthy types, the Reagan mentality, and the Bush disaster as to them.  

Do you honestly think we could have compromised with McCarthy? with Reagan? with W?

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 06:57PM | 0 recs
Ahh. To be 24.
Thoughtful, yet broke.  No thanks.
I do, however, applaud your purpose.
by ChitownDenny 2008-10-30 03:59PM | 0 recs
My vision of Unity

after the really awesome discussion here, that completely made me ignore 2 classes tonight.

my vision of unity is the grassroots movement of the left and the grassroots movement of the right (they will start building one after they lose). seeing a problem and coming together to bring about the necessary change.

Will they agree on a solution? no, will it be easy no.

but both sides will be honest with each other that there is a problem, and that they will deal with it so another generation will not have to.

they will debate, they will discuss, but they will fix it.

but it can only happen, when both sides believe it can happen, thus Generations need to start wanting it to happen, and passing this ideal down to future generations until a day comes and I think it will.

When the Grassroots movements on both sides will form a partnership, they will Unite and solve a problem. And they will teach other generations that this is how Politics is done.

This is my vision of Unity in this Country.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: My vision of Unity

Guess what? Most baby boomers had the exact same vision of Unity back in the 60s and 70s. Of course, most of them were on LSD at the time.

But seriously, there are always true visionaries -- they're called "liberals", and they've been very busy in this country since its inception. The fact that you have the opportunity to vote for Obama is proof of all their hard work.

by LakersFan 2008-10-30 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: My vision of Unity

Agreed.

It will be interesting to watch as the democratizing effect of the internet (a series of tubes) on this generation's liberals and their ability to affect change.  I think that it is the perfect tool for the things Franklin believed in.

by lockewasright 2008-10-30 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: My vision of Unity

You do realize that there are grass roots on the right too, right?  You do realize their utopian vision for america is very different than most on this blog, right?

You do realize that utopia means "no place," right?

by gil44 2008-10-30 07:14PM | 0 recs
I agree

with much of what you say, but don't count out MY generation which is the same generation as Barack Obama's. He and I are the same age.

The younger generation always has the time and energy to put into politics and campaigns, hopefully... this time they will put their VOTES into action.

By the way, I was NEVER a ronnie reagan fan, which many of my generation WERE back in the day.

by kevin22262 2008-10-30 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree

oh I don't its your generation that gives me hope it's possible.

After 2000 and 2004 I gave up on politics, and even wanting to enter politics. it was to bitter and divisive and I didn't want anything to do with it.

Then I saw the progressive movement and how every this election and since even 2004 built a movement and united people for change.

and I said, what if my generation did one better, what if instead of just uniting the people to 1 party, we united the country.

and I decided I would do what the Progressive Movement has taught me to believe.

I don't have to just wonder, I can get with people like me and bring about the change we want.

it only takes one person crying out against the cynics and doubters

Yes We Can

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 05:34PM | 0 recs
I'm 26...

... and I'm thankful for the example the liberal boomers have given me.

I hope I get the chance to influence the next generation as much as they have helped shape mine.

Shout out the Millenials and the Boomers!

We're getting Barack Hussein Obama elected peeps!

by spacemanspiff 2008-10-30 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm 26...

Here's something to think about.  He was talking about more than a generation, but the idea is similar and oh so well stated:

http://www.potw.org/archive/potw232.html

This was written in the face of national economic collapse and impending civil war.  A very dark time for our nation and its people.

by lockewasright 2008-10-30 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm 26...

I am a progressive because my boomer dad taught me to be one.

He was at Kent St.  when the students were killed.  He was beaten by police in Mississippi when he went to go help black voters get registered.  He became a lawyer in order to affect change.

My children will be progressives because I will teach them as my father taught me.

by lockewasright 2008-10-30 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm 26...

but you won't teach them that Post Partisanship is just a schtick right? you will teach them is possible it to do one day right?

because really that's my point.

by TruthMatters 2008-10-30 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm 26...

Depends on what post partisan turns out to mean.  I will teach them that certain progressive principles are NEVER to be abandoned.

by lockewasright 2008-10-30 07:05PM | 0 recs
I honestly don't think it is

possible but still worth striving for.

Why impossible?  Because it's people, not robots. You cannot teach people to be free thinkers and expect they will all think alike or be able to compromise on all issues.

I was a teacher for four decades.  Trying to get kids to come to consensus on things they loved (like a class party) was impossible.  Finally we would take a vote and I, as the dictator person, would insist on the vote, make it final and still there were whiners.  And that was with 25 or 30 kids over a fun thing.  

People given freedom will grapple.......and that is not necessarily bad.  In the end, they often, but not alway will compromise.  When we vote in a president, we are essentially uniting. When we accept the rules of the Constitution we are uniting.  When we fight over changing the rules it is because we know that essentially we can only agree to some things, not all things.

But to insist that we will not be a great country unless we are post partisan or bipartisan is essentially wrong. We are a diverse country.....we must always try to go forward and come together but understand this cannot be forced.

You bring to mind the constant battle over the "Melting Pot", i.e.   the people who think we should all speak English, act "American" vs those who think cultural pride matters......
Is there a right or a wrong there?  And who decides.  Should unity dictate language and custom?  

It is so complicated.  I wish you well, but understand all of us are striving for the best thing for the common good...it's just that we all don't agree how to get there.

by Jjc2008 2008-10-30 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm 26...

On behalf of all of the Gen X'ers out there, don't forget about us. We've been quietly working in the Boomer's shadows for years.

by pneuma 2008-10-31 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: To the Members of My Generation, A Call to Arm
Truthmatters. I can tell you are young because you keep fighting back. Good for you! For many of us who are older. (boomers)
If there was ever a generation that thought they could change the world well then we were it. Whenever one of our heroes appeared they were murdered.  Now along comes Obama and many of us are holding our breath. We have waited a long time. Most of us are walking wounded because life is messy. We have become sick and cranky but most of us are still optimistic.   I am certain that your generation will take us farther especially with people like you.
Take it from us don't trust anyone over 30. (Except for me) REC
by canadian 2008-10-30 10:08PM | 0 recs

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