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Reflecting on Baby Boom/Me Generation

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POSTED July 10, 2009 2:04 a.m.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I just recently celebrated, or should I say acknowledged, a milestone birthday, the one where they send you an application for an AARP card. As is usually the case, I took some time to retrospect on the things that I have seen or been party to.

I am at the age where I was at the end of the Baby Boom. I don’t consider myself of that generation, but there are those of the same age who desire to be included. I did get to experience what Baby Boomers reflect on so much, which was a simpler time. We had black and white TV with only 4 channels that had programming, and one phone mounted to the wall in the kitchen. My parents had 1 car, a station wagon, and we did not have a microwave, nor did my neighbors for that fact.

The one thing that my family and all of the families around us had was a community. During the summer evenings, all of the adults on our block would congregate in front of one of the neighbor’s houses, usually sitting on the steps, while the kids played until it was dark.  We would show respect to the adults in the neighborhood by referring to them as “Mr. Frank, and Mrs. Susan,” We would have block parties quite regularly, the kind where everyone would bring an item, and the fathers would be manning the barbecues.

I am from the Midwest, so in the winter, all of the neighbors would pitch in and help each other shovel their driveways, or help push their cars out of deep snow. Everyone looked out for each other. A neighbor came down sick, we would take them soup, and if it were the woman of the house, you would bring a dinner for the helpless family. To steal a line from the comedian Sinbad, if you did something wrong, all of the neighbors would chastise you for what you did while you were on your way home. The town that I grew up in, my community, saw a need to provide activities for kids during the long summer vacation, so they built community pools around town. I had some great times going to the pool. They didn’t see it as an expense; they saw it as an investment.

Reflecting on this, it almost sounds utopian, but then this was before the Baby Boomers grew up to become the “ME” generation. You know the “ME” generation; the spoiled brats that feel their needs and feelings come first. The generation that believed they should have the best of everything, regardless if they could afford it or not - the biggest SUV, the biggest house, the best boat, the newest Harley. The insecurities of this generation have left us with no substance, just image. They are always worried about what people think about them. They wear their flag or their religion on their sleeve thinking that it elevates them over others. Sacrifice is something others do to maintain the “ME” generation’s lifestyle.

The Baby Boom generation is the largest single generation in American history, and as the “ME” generation, they have been one of the most destructive generations to come along. It’s all been about power and money. You know the things that the baby boomers hated in their youth, the very things they rallied against. In their youth they knew who to blame for all that was wrong with the world, it was the “establishment.” Now that they are the “establishment”, they still blame others for what is wrong in the world, but in no way is it them. It seems lately, the one to blame are the ones who did not have the same opportunities that they had. We see this in politics now. Whatever party you belong to is the American one, and the other is trying to destroy America as they see it.

The only thing that has been destroyed is community. Now, we as a country need each other to get through the hard times, and we aren’t able to come together.  I watched a movie the other day called Defiance. I suggest everyone watch it, and learn about people, and the need for community. Our country’s motto is: E Pluribus Unum – From Many, One.

We have the many, now we need to get back to being one.
Scott Sadlowski
Manteca
July 9, 2009
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