This Country is Sooooo Screwed, Part II...
There is a running argument between my mother and I, and it has to do with which jerk manages to scam his way into the White House this fall. My mother enthusiastically supports Barack Obama, and I, reluctantly, John McCain. There is an interesting dialectic at work here between the words 'enthusiastically' and 'reluctantly'.
My mother is enthused because Barack Obama claims to have the answers to her immediate needs; she is near retirement-age, has had her pension and retirement funds ravaged by the recent market turmoil, lives on disability insurance payments and requires expensive medication. Obama, basically, promises her the following;
a) More Social Security money than you can shake a stick at. The system will continue to pay out, even if we have to short-dick every cannibal on the Congo, and the longer you live (medical science is keeping us all alive longer than we perhaps have a right to), the more you will get. Don't worry about who has to pay for it so long as you don't have to, nor I, Barack Obama. Free money is yours for the taking.
b) You have a right to government-funded Claritin and Preparation H, and if you decide you want that abortion or breast enlargement for your 65th birthday, be our guest. Whatever your tiny ache or pain, whatever your fake Baby-Boomer malady (like Restless Leg Syndrome), or how many expensive prescription drugs you take to mask the side-effects of all the other expensive prescription drugs you're taking for your bunions and the other pitfalls of what used to be called Old Age, I will give you insurance for it. Even if I have to brazenly steal from the productive to give it to you.
c) Even though you pay next to nothing in taxes (since your disability payments are tax free), I'm still going to give you a tax cut (i.e. bribe paid for by someone else), even though you don't work!
Given that set of promises, I might be enthusiastic, too.
However, it is more than likely my generation of taxpayers (and my children's, if I ever have any) who will have to pay for it. We already are, in more than one way. I'll explain;
At the moment, this country is being run by the folks of my mother's generation. These are the folks who went to Woodstock. It is the generation that dodged the Draft. It is the generation who said 'if it feels good, do it' and who thought taking acid to 'expand your mind' was a good idea. It is the generation that believed (suckers!) that John F. Kennedy was the next best thing to God. It is the generation that invented Disco, the Pet Rock, and who thought bell-bottoms were cool. It is the generation that once boasted that it 'spoke truth to power' and 'challenged the status quo', until, of course, it became the status quo, and then truth took a backseat to power. It will be, even with the recent disasters on Wall Street, one of the two richest generations of retirees in the history of the world (their parents, the 'Greatest Generation', is the first).
In other words, the country is being run by self-indulgent, instant-gratification-is-our-motto, greedy, mollycoddled, infantile, selfish, retards who can't get over themselves. The Congress is full of them. The last two occupants of the White House have been counted amongst their members. They are the generation of managers who run the corporations, the media, academia, state and local government. They are incredibly narrow-minded, despite the pretense of education many of them display; every problem to a Baby Boomer, in my experience, is always examined in light of the two greatest experiences in their lives: The Vietnam War (remember how Iraq was another Vietnam, not only in 2003-8, but way back in 1991?) and the Sexual Revolution (all that hullabaloo about Hillary being 'cheated' because of her gender, and all the crap about Sarah Palin not truly representing the feminazi ideal because she's a pro-life republican?) . No matter what the topic, they keep coming back to these two events. They can't help themselves, as these were the defining moments of their existence, probably just as 9/11 will be the defining experience of mine. These are the people who elevated the art of hypocrisy to a fine art, the 'do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do' generation who has lived their life by a frightening creed; all ethics are situational, no truth is definitive and depends on your point-of-view-at-the-moment, the future will consist of an endless existence of living in the immediate present, tinged by nostalgia for the Summer of Love.
This is who runs America, folks, and they're about to retire. By the tens of millions. And they have a vested interest in keeping themselves comfortable, and in keeping themselves, and their worldview, relevant (by which we mean, the center of attention, particularly political attention). In the next decade, 'Senior Citizen' will be the new 'African-American' of government entitlement. Barack Obama promises to scratch these particular itches for them, come hell or high water, thus all the fainting and fawning over him. Thus, the enthusiastic support.
Now, for my reluctance.
John McCain is not my first choice for anything. I think I have made that abundantly clear in this screed. Given a choice between an enema and McCain, the enema looks like an interesting experience. However, Barack Obama is even less attractive, and potentially more destructive. Therefore, McCain is clearly the lesser of two evils (the two evils being that the American political landscape is so completely fucked up that these two are the best we could come up with; one guy who spent 30 years in a system that encourages and rewards either mediocrity or mendacity, and another who wouldn't have a thick enough resume to run your local PizzaHut).
Both men, despite what either says about themselves, represents anything new in American politics; McCain's 'maverick' reputation is little more than posturing and self-promotion, and Obama's 'transcendence' is little more than a slick marketing campaign designed to appeal to those who can't think and chew gum at the same time. McCain, if he stands for anything, at least stands as the Anti-Obama, and by extension, the Anti-Baby-Boomer. That is why I will support him, but unfortunately, he hasn't offered enough after that (although I do have high hopes for Sarah Palin...someone of both my generation and my political leanings. Obama might be of my generation, but his political leanings have their roots in the 1960's, and some harken back to Karl Marx). Therefore, my support is grudging, at best, reluctant at worst.
Well anyway, the greatest threat to American society in the foreseeable future is the Baby-Boomers, who are in charge at the moment -- and their numbers are legion. They will vote themselves a permanent place at the government teat if they aren't stopped. John McCain, even if he is one of them, at least represents some of the forces that will resist their further advance towards bankrupting their children and grandchildren for their own personal wants and needs. It has to be done now. It has to be done by my generation, as well, since I have absolutely no faith at all in the generation of slackers behind me; they are uniformly misinformed, typically just as short-sighted as their grandparents, and apparently happy to be both. But they care, you know. Ask them what they care about, and they can't explain it, but their earnestness is still touching (and hilarious).
If this country is to be saved (and by that I mean returned to constitutional government and common sense), it will have to be done by clear-thinking people who are not romantically-attached to a mythical past (for all their claims of achievement, the Flower children did very little -- they didn't stop a war, and they only accelerated the decay of moral and civil society), or who take it as an article of faith that they are entitled to everything by virtue of being alive. It will be done by people who know that you have only yourself to rely on...not your parents, not the government, not slick-talking politicians who couldn't lead a three year old to the crapper without cajolling a campaign contribution from him first. The greatest lesson ever taught to me by my mother's generation was that personal responsibility was something for other people to worry about. But then I grew up. They never did.
Until we return to those virtues of self-reliance, personal responsibility and constitutional government, and we begin to rebuild a culture where informed discourse -- not bribery, not the ability to survive within a crooked system, not You-Tube, DailyKos or FreeRepublic -- rules our political life, where American Idol and Sex With Mom and Dad are not the height of intellectual stimulation, we're fucked. We're fucked because our future is being dictated by an entire generation of wrong-thinking, self-absorbed, double-talking people who will do nothing but consume the fruits of other people's labor, are convinced they are entitled to it, and who will use the ballot box to secure it.