I have been reading with interest as the state of Illinois prepares to raise income tax (likely overdue, if untimely) and make big cuts to univeristies, schools, and to many state services.
Something boiling under the surface of my brain finally broke through and gave me pause.
When was the last time anyone talked about cutting anything for senior citizens? They get a lot of special treatment, and a lot of breaks, but you almost never hear about their state servies being cut. You certainly never hear about federal seniors programs being cut.
Then something hit me. I cannot be 100% sure, but it is distinctly possible that today, like no other time in our history, by far the largest voting block has the least stake in our country’s future. It borders on a form of quasi-disenfranchisement: The Baby Boomer generation has always had the ability to vote for changes they want (not that they are hardly voting singularly as “democrat” or “republican”. But we are in an era where what is best for that block may not necessarily be best for the nation as a whole, or for its future. Yet, the political power is concentrated in their hands, and will be at least for a little while to come.
This is the generation that attended Woodstock, and were awed at the space program … and then supported stripping NASA of its budget to hobble it for decades. Some say our nation was never the same when we lost the aspirations and hope that genuine exploration gave to us.
This is the generation that helped tear the country apart for causes like ending the war in Vietnam, and civil rights, thus planting the seeds for the neoconservative era of today, which many of their right wing members support.
This is a generation that has never had to compromise because at the ballot box they could always win. Now we have a political system that is more than ever partisan and unable to work together.
This is the generation that forced changes in schools because they were boring and weren’t doing their job, now that they are nostalgic, they want schools to go back the way they were when they were young.