The “Not Me” Generation 165


I was laid off early last year from what had originally promised to be a rewarding, long-term opportunity with a Washington-area cable network.

I blogged at the time about America’s systemic dysfunction and lack of strategic focus indirectly leading to my dismissal, suggesting our new president go around Congress’s pathological lethargy in his first year by way of articulating a new vision for We The People to get behind and challenging us to ensure our representatives actually made it happen.

President Obama didn’t go that route, though I still get regular fund-raising emails from Organizing for America in support of vague tactical goals.  Barack doubled down on the United States legislature as a means to deliver his winning strategy of change, despite the historic inability of that body to deliver anything of note without massive and sustained public protest.

I am in a better gig this year with more visibility and greater responsibility at a landmark Washington DC institution but little else in this city has changed for the better as far as I can tell.

I have taken to letting sleeping dogs lie most days, but when they sniff around my blog howling about discussions long past to refute points I never made, I am left with little choice than to offer my actual opinions on the “specter” unearthed.  In case you didn’t follow the link and read the absurd conversation that followed, I am speaking of the jagged dividing line between Baby Boomers and everyone else in America, including themselves.

Yes.  I said it.  I am not the first person to do so.

Many Boomers – including my parents – wax nostalgically about the missed opportunities of a fractured generation who took the downward spiral of cultural warfare and civic disengagement and commercial exploitation to ridiculous extremes with predictable ends.  We see the continuing trend here at TPM, in conversations between staunch liberal compatriots as well as those potential allies who exist among Americans opposed to business as usual of any stripe.

The small-minded miscreants who would see our cultural wars continue share a profound inability to accept the part their side played in leading us here.  Both parties spent us into a ridiculous amount of debt, squandered our reputation abroad and mortgaged our children’s future, for many of the same ethereal and short-term reasons it turns out, yet it is always the other party’s fault when we start playing politics American style.

“Not me!” is the cry when it comes time to assign blame for the global tragedy our Republic has become.

Even the notion that We The People Who Do Not Vote are ultimately responsible in a representative republic gone wrong is met with squawks of scorn from the same partisan bit-players and assurances that if we just take THEM out once and for good, all will finally be well in Whoville.  The Grinch is to blame, not me, so just a little more of what we have always done in pursuit of our implacable and insatiable ideology is sure to do the trick this time!

Who really wants to open a Pandora’s Box of unhealed wounds and dreams deferred when We The People can sublimate and medicate our way to happiness?

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165 thoughts on “The “Not Me” Generation

  • quinn esq

    I think your earlier comment pretty much spells it out JEM —

    “I became a republican because democrats haven’t gotten a thing done in more than 40 years, so changing that party from the inside seemed a waste of my time and theirs. Plus, liberals mostly whine and lecture and bitch but don’t really do anything about their problems and are seem pathologically unwilling to try something new, despite their marketing literature.

    The republican party, on the other hand, is populated with many of the country’s most successful and capable people, they are just a little misguided right now or not even really paying attention to politics if you were to ask many. Like most of the democratic party faithful, I would wager, given the historically low turnout for primary elections.”

    This strikes me as possessing a level of insight not often found outside institutes for the criminally insane.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I would be interested to see the DSM-IV you are using to render your diagnosis. Your point, per usual, is as insensible as it is inane.

      • quinn esq

        “The republican party, on the other hand, is populated with many of the country’s most successful and capable people, they are just a little misguided right now.

        I always wondered… Up at Belair, do they give you a bib when you drool like that?

          • CVille Dem

            Jason. Insults aside, the fact that you consider Democrats whiners, when what we want is universal health care; a middle class that has hope and a fair break.

            But according to you, republicans who seem to want the best for the wealthiest only; who want to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, and who consider those who don’t have health insurance, losers — slightly misguided! Tax cuts for the wealthiest and killing estate taxes have NOT created jobs, and you surely know that! The rich who benefitted so much from the Bush years have contributed NOTHING to infrastructure, or a manufacturing base; in fact they have conducted hostile takeovers after which people LOSE jobs!

            I never would have dreamed that people as selfish as those who craft (if one can call it that) the republican “philosophy” could manage to win people over with such childish and absolute lies.

            Make no mistake; I am not giving the Democrats a free ride; they need to take a stand and dare anyone to tell them why any American should lose his home because of medical costs; dare those who say we should abandon our Constitution out of fear of people who hate us. In other words, they should just say,

            “WE ARE GOING TO DO THE RIGHT THING, AND IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT, TOO BAD — GET OVER IT! “

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You didn’t even read what I wrote, apparently, because I blamed no one in particular for our mess, except perhaps the Boomer generation as a whole since they are the last ones on watch. It is always the last ones on watch who are to blame for the catastrophe.

            I find it ironic that you go right into justification and projection mode, though, right on cue since someone is always to blame in your world and it is usually a conservative.

            Since you brought it up, the fact that health care reform has basically failed in a year with such overwhelming support is who fault then? The blue dogs? Moderate republicans? Perhaps it is the democrats fault for developing yet one more government program rather than fixing the ones we already have.

            Perhaps if they had broken the effort into smaller packages starting with health insurance reform and moving on from there, most likely ending with a total overhaul of Medicare and the rest of the government medical programs in an effort to make them sustainable.

            That never happened because, like the GOP before them, the democratic party wanted to ram its agenda down the throats of America without so much as a by-your-leave to get them started.

          • CVille Dem

            I will agree with you on one point: If ever there was a good deal for Americans that was undersold, it is health care. Responsible parties: Democrats!

            If ever there was a good deal for Americans that was allowed to be described as HORRIBLE, it is health care. Responsible partIes: Republicans!

            f ever there was a scam on American people that was more successfully played on American people it is the scam that HEALTH CARE FOR ALL IS AN EVIL THING! Responsible parties: Republicans!

            If ever there has been a party more devoted to selfishness and greed, it is hard to find a more responsible one: The Republican Party!

            They claim they are better than everyone else; that people who aren’t rich are lazy or undeserving. That is the christian message as they interpret it. It is also the reason that any moral person could not follow their depravity.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Again, I think you ascribe things you believe to be true to people you have never met yet still call themselves republican.

            Just as I am sure there are republicans who believe henious shit about democrats, most of whom they have never met.

            And the downward spiral continues.

          • AJM

            The ‘bye your leave’ that the Democrats had was an elected President who had promised to work on the problem and a health plan available which had majority support especially if you included a public option. Obama, instead of rammming it through, followed your advice and sought to bring the representatives together in some mythical outburst of good will and the rethuglicans deliberately screwed him.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Actually, he didn’t take my advice at all. Had this effort been divided into health insurance reform first and government medical reform second, there would have already been a victory celebration.

            There never was a viable “public option” because the democratic party could decide what that was going to look like and couldn’t figure out a way to craft a vision of one that would sell to the American people.

            Medicare-for-All, as currently written, was never going to be that vibrant public option, so once again you are holding the wrong people accountable for health care reform being a disaster so far.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          With the Boomer Infantilia Disorder. It comes when you get so old and inane that you emerge on the other side as an naive child.

  • San Fernando Curt

    Here’s the level of political discourse in this country: Someone says something I disagree with, so I make a doll out of a dirty sock, decorate it with a snapshot of my nemesis and stick pins in it – over and over. Then I stick my tongue out at it. Maturity is weak, man.

  • bluebell

    Reaganism was more than a little misguided. What is your definition of “successful”? I expect, it begins with $ and ends with lots of zeros. Yes, well, I blamed my parent’s generation when I was your age too. If I noticed your generation actually coming up with some better ideas, I’d be impressed because we sure do lack some good ones. At least my generation began with idealism. Yours seems to be just as mired in the blame game but even more cynical and less willing to make any effort to change things.

    At least being one generation closer to that “greatest” generation, I do think I learned that change doesn’t just happen. Major change is disruptive. There are big winners and big losers. There is great joy and great anger. There is great risk, great sacrifice, painful failure, broken dreams, and maybe once or twice in a lifetime success of the kind that doesn’t come with $$ and 00’s, but of the sort that opens doors for minorities and women, puts food on the table of the hungry, provides the security for a dignified old age, or even just inspires a generation by landing humans on the moon.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      There it is. Right on cue.

      A charge of my loving Reaganism when I never actually defined what a successful America looks like and have never idolized Ronnie. You pick your favorite demon and apply super glue. Problem solved. No more debate is necessary to reach a consencus.

      Meet the new boss, same as the old.

      You missed the point that members of your crew are the ones who raised the blame game, delving 18 months into my blogging history to find a single blog they could bring forward and misconstrue to prove a pointless point.

      My definition of success is solutions the knit together the divergent halves of our national psyche rather than pushing us further apart. I want solutions to tomorrow’s problems and not yesterdays lost crusades.

      I haven’t seen such a moment in the forty years I have been breathing this planet’s polluted air despite all the great rhetoric to the opposite.

      • bluebell

        Reagan isn’t just any demon. He’s the icon of the scorched earth right wing dogma that has held “center” stage for the last 30 years. You want me to come together at the middle of that stage? No!

        The con game out there is to distract you with “culture wars” etc. to obscure the fact that there are truly huge ideological differences at play.

        Being from the heartland and growing up near a land grant college town I like to go back to the kind of communitarian ethos that gave objectively poor folks out on the 19th century prairie the audacity to hope that their children could go to college even though they were thousands of miles from Harvard or Yale. We once called that kind of thinking the “American Dream”.

        We no longer dream that dream in either party and that is largely the result of the prevailing survival of the fittest ideology for which Reagan was the spokesman.

        Ideology does matter. It frames our view of the world. It informs what we allow ourselves to think and to dream.

        But I’m sure not one who wants to attack you personally for what you believe or what you have blogged here or elsewhere. I just do not agree that the answer lies in somehow splitting the difference. The Club for Growth, John Birch Society, Grover Norquists have sold their ideology so successfully that it is almost impossible these days to get people to even think in ways that were once completely conventional. Consider the messages of Charles Dickens or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. You don’t get those message anymore and the fact that you don’t explains why you can no longer argue for communitarian solutions of the kind that Main Street Democrats and Republicans once were able to form consensus around.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          The answer belongs in listening to the objections of your fellow citizens and not holding fast to defining people by ideologies of past days.

          • bluebell

            There isn’t really that much new under the sun when it comes ideological fundamentals. You either believe the people rule or the people should be ruled. You believe the pie should be divided fairly or you believe you take the biggest piece of pie you can grab.

            Where we really disagree Jason is on your belief that there is something generational in these ideological divisions. They surely go back thousands of years. The WWII generation was united by their common effort fighting that war. That helped them work together after the war. I think it’s too early to objectively assess the boomers or those who came after. But the ideology motivating the far right has nothing to do with a generational divide. They may find a way to use generational divides to divide and conquer but their argument and their agenda is fiercely ideological.

          • bluebell

            “It is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says ‘you toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation, and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.” [Lincoln-Douglas debates, 15 October 1858]

          • tlees2

            “Where we really disagree Jason is on your belief that there is something generational in these ideological divisions.”

            Well said, bluebell!

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You generation seems to be the only one who can’t discuss anything with ideology, so there you have it.

            More justification and projection without an ounce of self-awareness. No wonder things just keep getting worse because your generation is incapable of taking responsibility for anything.

            Most younger people have already figured out things are fucked and need to be changed, while you guys keep bickering while ship sinks. Bunch of self-involved narcissists.

            Must have been all the cocaine.

          • bluebell

            Jason, you are too young to have ever lived in this country when there were too competing arguments. We’ve had 30 years of Reaganism. You’ve never even heard the other side of the argument.

            But that is not a generational problem. It’s an ideological problem. Now, if you don’t like your parents or whatever, that is a generational problem.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            This is more of that winning strategy of condescension that has stood “progressives” so well these last thirty years. When are you going to stop blaming the audience for a faulty message?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            No surprise that is your reaction to a fairly straightforward statement. Perhaps you should lay off the weed.

          • tlees2

            Read the other comments here to see the poor impression you are making on others. I see you finally are getting down into the gutter of personal insults. That’s a reflection of the lack of depth of your arguments.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Because you have been perfectly above-board in all your comments, right? Your performance on this blog is exactly what expecting as is your inability to see anything wrong with it.

            The hubris and arrogance and conceit of many people at this site would be funny if it was emblamatic of larger, systemtic problems with the country as a whole.

            Meet the new boss, same as the old.

    • brewmn61

      “At least my generation began with idealism. Yours seems to be just as mired in the blame game but even more cynical and less willing to make any effort to change things.”

      This is a great comment.

      • expat46

        At least being one generation closer to that “greatest” generation, I do think I learned that change doesn’t just happen. Major change is disruptive. There are big winners and big losers. There is great joy and great anger. There is great risk, great sacrifice, painful failure, broken dreams, and maybe once or twice in a lifetime success of the kind that doesn’t come with $$ and 00’s, but of the sort that opens doors for minorities and women, puts food on the table of the hungry, provides the security for a dignified old age, or even just inspires a generation by landing humans on the moon.

        This was my favorite part. Very inspirational, I actually stood up when I read this. Thanks Bluebell.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          It isn’t Boomers out there making those social programs work. At least not liberals.

          Go to any soup kitchen in America and it will be mostly religious conservatives and young people on the lines, especially here in DC.

          The fact you you guys still tell yourselves these fairytales to make you feel better is the saddest and most damaging thing of all.

          • expat46

            It isn’t Boomers out there making those social programs work. At least not liberals.

            Do you have anything to back up this assertion?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Beyond an understanding that many social programs at the local level remain faith-based and/or faith-supported in nation that is still mostly religious?

            No evidence whatsoever.

            However, I see you offer no counter evidence, factual or anecdotal, so I guess that makes this interaction a straight-up draw unless you have something to add.

          • bluebell

            So no religious conservatives are boomers? You keep confusing generational issues with ideological issues. But I don’t know where you get the idea that only conservatives are working at the soup kitchens!

            Who do you think provides the MONEY for the DELIVERY of these social services? Sure, in the Twin Cities you’ll find Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services DELIVERING the services but most of the MONEY comes from the government.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Actually, the bulk of funding for non-profit and faith-based initiatives does not come from the government. Mostly these programs are supported by private foundation grants and individual donations.

          • miguelitoh2o

            The fact that you use anecdotal evidence to support your arguments

            Go to any soup kitchen in America and it will be mostly religious conservatives and young people on the lines, especially here in DC.

            is as “sad and damaging” to your argument here as any delusion, (real or imagined), of the boomer generation. I’m on the road today and won’t be able to continue the usual pissing match, so have at it and try to enjoy yourself.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Many who choose to sacrifice their weekends for service are indeed the religious among us and all those young people so denigrated in our culture and by so-called “liberals” who remain terribly provincial in their ideals.

            If that is a sad and damaging statement, I suggest you lack a sense of proportion.

            That you find a general critique of a nation obsessed with demonizing and blaming “The Other” – albeit one that discusses the generation who started the trend – as a singular denunciation of the Boomers also implies a lack of objectivity.

            Pissing match or no, I stand by the words I have written as well as the lifetime of experiences that informs them.

          • Packerfanchick

            I just wonder where all the religious liberals went to? Why do religious folks have to be conservative? I don’t think Jesus was very conservative in fact he shook things up defending the poor and disadvantaged in society. He literally threw the tables of the money changers over, that is a pretty strong statement. I still don’t understand how Conservatism and Christianity were reconciled together. One stands for individualism at all costs, the other is supposed to stand for loving your neighbor as yourself. Maybe because I attended a Unitarian Universalist church and saw many active liberals who wouldn’t say they were “religious” somehow they got lost amongst the “Conservative” ones. I know a lot of pretend Christians and a lot of people who can quote the Bible like the back of their hand but don’t lift a finger and balk at helping the poor in any way. People wonder why Americans look like greedy, individualistic, self-serving, rude, obnoxious, prideful, ethnocentric jerk faces, well because that is exactly what the majority of us seem to be. Our society has been divided based on fear and violence. I have a bigger gun than you and will pull the trigger quicker because I’m stronger (really I’m scared). We stopped being able to find alternative ways to solve our problems, instead pumping our kids full of violent movies and video games as the way to solve conflict. We wonder why we end up in wars? We are scared. We as a country need a session on the good ol’ Psychiatrists couch. Problem is no one side can admit they’ve made a mistake. I agree with Jason that you cannot completely blame one side, although I think the last 30 years the blame of outsourcing jobs, driving the wedge between the rich and poor further, destroying the middle class, destroying union representation (which the unions deserve some blame in too because they have become just as bad as politicians in some cases), destroying the educational system, fighting every good policy that benefits regular old American Bill and Sue well that blame should be placed on both the Republican party and those who allowed the destruction of our manufacturing base to occur (which is both parties). I also don’t understand how people can delude themselves so much to think their religious extremism is superior to someone else’s religious extremism and any less violent. Just as the members of al Qaeda don’t represent true Islam, many far right wingers don’t represent true Christianity. But just as people complain about moderate Muslims not speaking up, in this country moderate people don’t say a word. They stay out of it and allow stuff to happen. It’s not my fault, don’t ask me for help, I mind my own business; is the new sentiment in America. That isn’t going to heal the divide anytime soon.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Perhaps all conservatives aren’t as much about individualism to the extent you think? Based on my personal experiences with people of all parties or none at all, Americans are mostly the same when it comes to broad-stroke politics.

            This is why you see cross-party support for things such as Medicare and Social Security and Public Schools. What gets us into trouble are the actual “solutions” each side offers to meet these ever-changing challenges. Solutions that constantly run our nation in the red financially, no matter which party writes the legislation.

            One more look at the historical record might show that both parties shipped jobs overseas; both sent more poor black and brown folks to jail to be “tough on crime” back home; and both started the long, slow march of the middle class into ruin via decades of cannibalistic trade policy.

            The democratic party was there every step of the way with just as many “Aye!” votes as nay votes for the heinous shit you speak of. I think both sides of the political divide in the country have been conned into believing their party represents The Light & The Truth & The American Way while neither truly works to deliver on such grand pronouncements.

            PT Barnum (maybe it was Mark Twain) had the right of it – we are country of suckers and fools.

    • tlees2

      I would encourage the idea that “generations” are complex and we can’t paint them with a single brush. For instance, W and I are both boomers but our thinking (if you could call what W does “thinking”) is poles apart. Jason clears falls into the stereotype trap. We should be aware, as we refute his premises, of falling into the same trap.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        I would say your thinking is indeed ideologically opposite but remains equally reflective of the underlying rift in American politics.

    • JNagarya

      Virtually all of my childhood was spent with adults who either served in the military during @@ II — and Korea, or lived through it. I learned those lessons well.

      That’s why I had the strength — the spine and moral strength — to break with them (which their parents approved) and stand agains ttheir support for the Vietnam misadventure.

      My generation of Boomers ended that debacle — even while draft dodgers such as John Wayne, Ronnie Reagan, John “Seven Deferments” Ashcroft, Dick “Five Deferments and Dickhead” Cheney, and G. W. Bushit were boosting it and calling us draft dodgers.

      The blame game on your end of the sour pickle is that of blaming the Boomers.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        You didn’t end Vietname. The draft ended Vietnam. The protests stopped long before the war did in 1975.

        More of that historical revisionism that you guys LOVE like mother’s milk, but even assuming that half of what you say is true, that was forty years ago. What have you done lately?

        Oh, yeah, leave the generations coming up worse off than their parents for the first time in American history.

  • Saladin

    So now we blame the boomers. Half of em were stoned sanctimonious hippies and the other half were simply greedy bastards. My mom (a boomer) laments that her generation proves that if one is handed everything you turn into a lazy narcissists (she agrees with you-if i understand your post).

    You have to work to be a great generation (or maybe suffer tremendously so you are reminded why virtue and work ethic are important). Quick, raise the estate taxes, they are spawning.

    I would point to structural flaws in our democracy’s design as the problem. People are people they will play the game as it allows. But I agree its way more fun to blame people. Damn stupid lazy fatties. Fuck em!

    • wendy davis

      Uh…the boomers also faced the draft…into another Crap War that killed 58,000 Americans and God knows how many Vietnamese. That had something to do with it. And we sure as shootin’ weren’t all privileged kids.

    • JNagarya

      Where did you get the idea that none of the Boomer generation suffered? From your mother, who seems to have been an expert on stereotyping others and being a lazy narcissist?

      Want to know the meaning of oppression and being terrorized and terrified? Be elgible for the draft during a misbegotten and illegal war — in which the US entangled itself not at the behest of the Boomers but of the so-called “Greatest Generation”.

      Dick “I am TOO a Crook” Nixon was not a Boomer. He was a member of the so-called “Greatest Generation”. Draft-dodgers John Wayne and Ronnie Reagan were not Boomers; they were members of the so-called “Greatest Generation”. Joe “Alcholic Loon” McCarthy was not a Boomer. He was a member of the so-called “Greatest Generation”.

      Spiro “I Take Bribes in the Basement of the White House” Agnew was not a Boomer. He was a member of the “Greatest Generation”.

      I knew both Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin; both were Boomers, and both were assholes. On the other hand, Daniel “Pentagon Papers” Ellsberg was also a Boomer — and those who opposed him on the “Papers” issue were members of the so-called “Greatest Generation”.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        The subjugation of today was learned by Boomers at the knees of all your favorite villians in the 60s and 70s and 80s, though I notice you leave the democratic crooks off the list, another symptom of your partisan disease.

        I must thank you, however, for perfectly illustrating the main premise of my blog. Rather than simply mea culpa and move on, you would waste breath defending charges that were never leveled in the first place.

        Isn’t about time to get a little self-respect and stop offering transparent and factually inaccurate excuses for deeds most of us don’t care about and never mentioned?

        • JNagarya

          That is, of course, and absurdity.

          I recommend you look at the ideology of Chiang Kai-Shek, and two of the tree Soong sister, and the three Soong sons, and then tell us all who worshipped their fascist and corrupt “Triad”.

          It wasn’t the “Left” of the “Greatest Generation”. And it is certainly not the “Left” of the Boomers. Or the “Left” of subsequent generations.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You are quite clearly out of your mind and unable to process information objectively.

            If only the people you suggest were in fact responsible, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion because Reagan is never elected because of Carter being re-elected in a landslide.

            If the weather warm in your alternate universe?

          • JNagarya

            You are quite clearly out of your mind and unable to process information objectively.
            _____

            I’m sure you’re qualified to diagnose others without conforming to the standard ehtical requirements and protocol, son.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yes, Dad, because that was a medical diagnosis I was offering, though I still stand behind a diagnosis of schizophrenia for you guys or perhaps narcissistic personality disorder

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I think the structural difficulties make it difficult but not impossible to change this country whole cloth.

      Still, as long as 80 percent or more of us decided not to vote in midterm primaries and 70-percent don’t vote in presidential primaries, nothing will ever change.

      At least not for the better.

      I would not lay the blame on anyone, least of the Boomer generation, if they didn’t go out of their way at every turn to shirk the responsibility they do hold.

      Further, they are the loudest and most incessant cheerleaders for this partisan hell we are living in where nothing gets done. Politics is Vietnam Part Deux to a lot of them.

      I think your mom had it just right and echoes many of my mother’s complaints. She is convinced that her generation’s unresolved Oedipus complexes are fucking the rest of us badly.

  • wwstaebler

    Resisting the inappropriate parental urge to “ground you,” Jason, nonetheless I agree with Bluebell when she says:
    “If I noticed your generation actually coming up with some better ideas, I’d be impressed because we sure do lack some good ones. At least my generation began with idealism. Yours seems to be just as mired in the blame game [as in this blog, blaming us] but even more cynical and less willing to make any effort to change things.”

    I’m not entirely sure how old you are, but I think I can deduce from prior things you’ve said that you are in your thirties? Yes? No? Whatever.

    Gotta say it: so far, now that you are bona fide adults, your generation makes us so sad. Even though we see some reasons for that.

    We’ll grant you that, comparatively speaking, we may have erred in giving you relatively safe and, in some cases, privileged childhoods. Just as we ourselves were given. (Shall you blame us as parents for wanting to give our children as much, if not more, than we had?)

    Nonetheless, we were thrilled when we saw a glimmer in you of our own early idealism, when your age group was in college. Acts of awareness, concern for the your fellow man, in both the big and the small picture. And we were so PLEASED, not only by, but also for you. Because we wanted you to experience the personal and generational empowering we knew at a similar age, when we threw our hearts and our considerable energy into doing everything in our power to end the Vietnam war. Whatever our contribution really was, in terms of actual decisions made, we believed we had made a difference and it mattered, fundamentally, to each and every one of us who participated.

    What we, as a generation, did after that? The rush to Wall Street still baffles me, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it.
    Perhaps, as did our parents before us — the so-called greatest generation — we felt that, having accomplished something big, we wanted to see the world through rose-colored glasses as one restored to essential peace and endless possibility…. which left each of us free to pursue our own versions of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Did that drive become warped? For many, ABSOLUTELY. I would not argue for a minute that we did not take that to extremes.

    But. If a generation can be generally thought to be one of 25-year increments, how do people your age justify “going for the gold,” so cynically, so early, and doing it without remorse, without ethics — although when I say that I am using an admittedly broad brush. There are fine people among you…. just as there were fine people among us. But somewhere between college, gap years, military service and/or graduate school – – all, admittedly, against the background the Bush/Cheney administration — you (as a group, not individually) became strangely both older and younger than you were at your best. A schizophrenic polarity spanning the worst excesses of Wall Street and, at the same time, an arrested development mindset that you can never, ever be part of the problem.

    I wrote a blog after Thanksgiving last year that I did not post, after I spent a week in the company of my son’s college friends, now Young Turks of Wall Street, whom I love to a man, but who horrified me. These were the boys, who at an earlier age wandered, disheveled, into my kitchen looking for coffee and real conversation about choices, about carving a future that would be mindful of right and wrong. The stalwart boys who, coming into manhood, gave me not only hope, but BELIEF in the future.
    Now? Bonuses. Divorces for infidelity. And schedules that are much too busy to be “involved” in the issues of our time.

    But. They don’t smoke or eat anything at all that is “bad.” They are fit beyond imagining.
    That’s enought — right?

    • tlees2

      ww,

      I’ve been teaching since the 1960’s, and believe me through all that time many, many students were and remain really great concerned people. Many were self-centered duds as adolescents but eventually matured into great adults. A few of the 60’s, 70’s 80’s, 90′, and aught’s (aught’s?) students were duds back in the day and are still duds now – although not many. FACEBOOK has enabled me to stay in touch with many of them or re-establish connection with many of them. That’s why I find it hard to speak of generations. Plus our society is designed to get you in debt which really pressures people to deradicalize as they get older otherwise their family will suffer the financial consequences.

      In short this an extremely complex issue. I don’t see that Jason gets the complexity of it at all.

      • wwstaebler

        I have great respect for you, tlees2, and so I do hear you about the actual flower of our youth that is so frequently surprising. What you are saying is precisely why I supported some of the least auspicious of my students when I taught — because I could see a finer essence and wanted them to recognize it was there, in themselves.
        Maybe it’s the contrast between those who were so fine, if difficult/troubled, and those who were, on the surface, so incredibly gifted that so often gets to me. But even that comparison, as you say, is generalizing. (That is why I tried to to acknowledge all those exceptions (in comments in parens) in what I wrote. )
        The other thing that bothers me, and it is a generational gap, is that our generation lost 58,000 of our own before the madness stopped. I understand that we didn’t get the numbers lost from our parents’ generation, and that there is no reason to expect GenX to comprehend our loss. But it is that sort of gap that leads me to argue with you, to at least this degree — some information really is lost, generation to generation, which makes it, sometimes, a legitimate generation issue. In your opinion — Yes? No?

        • tlees2

          Sure, but there are exceptions all over the place. For instance many of the “greatest generation” thought they fought the Nazis so we Boomers should fight the Commies. My mom still buys into this vast oversimplification and me stepdad did too. One time I came home from a Vietnam protest to watch my stepfather cheering the police as they were beating up peaceful protestors. I told him I was there and I didn’t appreciate his cheerleading a police riot against a bunch of kids who were trying to stop the killing in an unjust war that LBJ lied us into. That didn’t go over too well, so i moved out of the house and got an apartment with a basketball coaching buddy of mind.

          That inability to see the world without Cold War blinders on was typical of many but not all of my parents’ generation.

          For example, Margaret Mead and Benjamin Spock were two of the most eleagant voices against the war along with Zinn, Chomsy, Dave Dellinger, and Bertrand Russell (really my grandparents/great grandparents generation). So I see the reason you say what you do.

          Jason has so oversimplified the whole thing that I just don’t want us to buy into his agenda. I don’t think you are 🙂

          PS Thanks for the earlier support on the JFK assassination issue. I don’t appreciate it when some of the people here at TPM talk down to me, as if I’m a fool for thinking there is clear evidence of a conspiracy.

          • JNagarya

            “My mom still buys into this vast oversimplification”

            So do some in generations subsequent to ours — most/all of whom are true believing ideologues/Republicans duped by such as Limbaugh and FOX.

            As for LBJ lying us into Vietnam: in fact, Truman supported the French in Indochina with money and materiale until they got blown out at Dien Bien Phu. Then the involvement became increasingly direct, with Eisenhower sending the first US “advisors”. LBJ both inherited it, and knew it couldn’t be won, but none of the options were viable, including withdrawal in view of the politically-motivated attacks that would have come from the anti-“Commie”-ism ideologues.

            It was Nixon who most prominently opposed normalization of relationships with, especially, “Red” China. And then he turned around and did it himself for the historical perks for doing so.

          • tlees2

            LBJ lied us into Vietnam through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. I know Truman reversed FDR’s support of Ho Chi Minh.

          • JNagarya

            The “Gulf of Tonkin” incident was politicized before it got to LBJ. What he did was increase the number of US personnel/troops in Vietnam, and then escalate several times more after that.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Wendy, you don’t know the first thing about me and presume much in this comment. I’ll be glad to see all the folks “Going for the gold” in my generation when most of the gold has been mined and smelted and wasted by yours.

      Our parents didn’t give us more than they were given. They gave us less. Much less.

      We are the first generation in the history of the Republic to be worse off than our parents. Our lives are so bad economically, the country can have two separate wars using an all-volunteer force and still be turning people away.

      The decades of milk and honey were squandered well before I got out of high school, one reason I spent most of my 20s in the US navy.

      This blog is pretty much what I expected – people old enough to be my parents offering transparent justifications for “crimes” they were never accussed of while dismissing those things they are accountable for.

      Boomers project their frustrations and insecurities onto the world around them rather than deal with those feeling rationally.

      Rather than applying common sense self-analysis and objectivity as a means of finding solutions, they enter every discussion with preconcieved notions that are usually wrong or at least widly out-of-date.

      If you form your opinions of Generation X or Y based on a couple of guys you met from Wall Street, that just makes me sad because I thought you were a little more level-headed than that and could understand they were the exception rather than the rule.

      • wwstaebler

        Jason: Thank you for the opportunity to quote one of your favorite responses:
        “Apparently you did not read what I wrote…if you had you would see…” blah, blah.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I usually follow that with an illustration of where the reader might have gone wrong. If I misinterpreted what you wrote, I would be happy to learn how.

      • bluebell

        Jason,

        When I graduated from college in 1973 and began paying taxes, I was still paying in to Social Security for my grandfather who was born in the 1880’s and didn’t even start paying into the system till he was almost as old as I am now.

        I’m still paying in for my mom’s generation and she is 88.

        I am nearly a decade away from collecting my first penny but you are obsessed with the idea that we boomers might starting taking out a little of what we put in. Now, I don’t know where we’re going to be when I’m 88. Maybe you will be burdened with the weight of supporting me. I kind of figure you are more likely to throw me in the gutter!

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I will be waiting for the quote where I am “obsessed” with Boomers taking benefits to which they are entitled by law.

          Despite your continuing caricature of my actual opinion on the subject, I think our existing “safety nets” are wholly inadequate to our needs, both today and into the future, and are long overdue for a complete overhaul.

          Not in the interests of eliminating them but to make them sustainable and equal to our actual needs rather than those needs defined decades ago.

  • Dan K

    Jason, the view you present of Republicans seems based on an old-fashioned model of the successful and prosperous civic republican, that legendary practitioner of the protestant work ethic, clubby community engagement, reserved and sober manners and commercial acuity. While such folks are still to be found, that character type doesn’t doesn’t seem to match up well these days with the dominant trends in the Republican Party.

    First, look at the voting results by state for the past few Presidential elections, and compare those results with rankings by state of per capita income. The wealthiest states in the United States are the bluest. The poorest states are the reddest. The correlation is stunningly strong. I would suggest that a higher proportion of the country’s successful and capable people these days are Democrats than are Republicans.

    I know a lot of Republicans. An increasing number of them are bitter, angry, not-terribly-successful, slug-minded kvetchers who are deeply envious of people who have achieved more than they have, whether materially or intellectually, and whose endless and nearly-hysterical ranting and complaining puts the Democratic version of whining to shame. They spend a lot of time watching TV, listening to the radio and yelling at both. They are not out at the Kiwanis club talking about civic improvement or attracting new business to Main Street. (Those guys still exist, but they are no longer the backbone of the Republican Party; and they are just as likely to be Democrats.)

    Most of these Republicans are white guys. A lot of them seem to be particularly pissed off because, while they spent their 20’s getting wasted and getting laid, and failing to invest in their futures, the young women of their age were working hard and getting good grades, with a disciplined life-plan of “having it all”. Now these guys are paying the long-term price of their dissolute, misspent youth in terms of limited earnings and inferior status. They know a lot of women who have better jobs than they do, including their wives, and are forever bent out of shape by the “feminazis” who lord it over them at home or at work – mainly as a result of having worked harder for what they have achieved.

    Some of these guys have the emotional maturity of teenagers, are permanently enraged, resentful and sour, and are consequently dumb as a stick because they are not masters of their own minds, and because they stupidly reject excellence, polish, striving and poise wherever they see it.

    Also, despite the fact that these guys are quite hung up on their crude and trogladytic conception of masculinity, many of them are big, giant pus***s, who are afraid of just about everything in the contemporary world – including, but not exclusively, women, children, Arabs, Mexicans, people with degrees, gay people and just plain happy people.

    Their anti-intellectualism, infantile resentments, emotional cowardice and thumb-sucking on the blanket of the familiar have lead them into a bitter middle age of isolation and underachievement. The only people they listen to politically are demagogic boobs and exploiters who are indulge their titty-baby tantrums.

    That’s the Republican Party I see, circa 2010.

        • quinn esq

          Well, after Dan called him a “giant bag of pus” I figure it’s pretty much gloves off in here. But before we just get all the way down in the mud and start snorting, we should probably do a brief recap of JEM’s thesis.

          1. Democrats are like the Grinch. Baby Boomer Grinchs.
          2. Whereas Republicans are like Pandora’s Box.
          2b. Which when you open it, plays happy hardworking songs and releases happy spirits of nation-building and harmony, though occasionally being a little misguided.
          3. And NOOOOOO, I don’t want to hear your Pandora’s Box joke. It would only increase the pain, heartache and level of intellectual misunderstanding between these two equally great and high-purposed political parties, who need to work together the way Hilter and Churchill did to unify and cooperate for the greater good. And infrastructure.
          4. Did I mention the thing about all Democrats being Baby-boom sell-out, suck-ass, cowards who suck Satan’s c*ck? Well, they are. That’s just fact. I saw some stats on it once.
          5. While Jason’s generation (Generation Total Facking Weiners), are cool, and tough and – according to WW Staebler – not at all likely to poison their body with adulterated foodstuffs.
          6. Ron Paul.
          7-1. Perhaps if you read what I wrote you’d understand me, but instead you’re reading my WORRRRRRDS, whiletofore we need innovation, and not conflict. That’s not what I said.
          7. Jason had problems laying cable. For months. MANY months. Obama didn’t help.
          8. I’ll let DanK take it from here, “Jason’s anti-intellectualism, infantile resentments, emotional cowardice and thumb-sucking on the blanket of the familiar are leading him into a bitter early middle age of isolation and underachievement and not getting to lay cable, ever again, with any woman, ever.”
          9. Word.
          10. And the very existence of Generalissimo Teddsy Weisenhower just goes to prove that we are the people who built this land, and JESUS CHRIST I’VE GOT MY THUMB STUCK IN MY EYE SOCKET! HOLY FaaaaaCK! HELp!!! I DONO HOW IT HAPENeD! DOC! IT MUSTA BEEN THE DEMMYCRATS THE DEMMYCRATS!
          10. And Bill Clinton was like Herpes.

          P.S. It behooves us all to try and eat more healthilarily, without conflating. And perhaps if you read what I wrote.

          Love,

          Jason

          P.P.S. And OGD and Sleepin’ can bite me.

          • OldenGoldenDecoy

            Dayum . . .

            Do you think Mr. Bluster Butt responding to all the “Mr. Bluster Butt” comments has finally taking it’s toll.

            The following comes from a March thread of TheraP’s six months ago where ol’ Bluster Butt came into the thread with his tried and true ..but but but you’re blaming it on the Republicans complaint and sidetracked the discussion as per usual. My little input pretty much summed up his smarmy better-than-thou BS from my perceptions of the windbag’s scribblings…

            Maybe Mister Bluster Butt should, as the saying goes, bugger off if he doesn’t like the “three year olds” and “damaged and deranged” around here.

            With that said, for me to establish clear, justifiable definitions of dingbatitis and sensationalism that appears in the tracts of ol’ Bluster so that you can defend a decision to take action when Mr. Bluster Butt damns those that dare to attempt to talk back, one must first understand and acknowledge the basic humanness of each of us. Something never taken into consideration by ol’ Bluster Butt.

            Also, we must acknowledge that one positive outcome of the law of unintended consequences is that if we acknowledge that ol’ Bluster draws his outrageous conclusions from arbitrary guesstimates then ol’ Bluster won’t be able to persuade many of his opponents to enter into a one-way ‘dialogue’ with him.

            Although not without overlap and simplification, I plan to identify three primary positions on his methods. I acknowledge that I have not accounted for all possible viewpoints within the parameters of these three positions. Nevertheless, honest people will admit that his plaints are often tinctured with horse-crapism. But concerned people are not afraid to make a cause célèbre out of exposing Bluster’s causeries for what they really are.

            Also, if allowed, Mr. Bluster Butt will rattle off a load of meaningless crap just to confuse, befuddle, and neutralize opposition. And that particular portion of this comment has been brought to you by the Department of Undoubtable Blindingly Obviousness.

            What might not be so obvious, however, is that mass confusion, diffusion and illusion are the equivalent of steroids for ol’ Bluster Butt. And keep in mind, if one shows any form of irritation, ol’ Bluster is only further energized and ramps up his efforts to empty the meaning of such concepts as “self,” “justice,” “freedom,” and a myriad of other profundities.

            But those with an IQ above that of a fence post already knew that. Now Mr. Bluster Butt just has to try his best to figure it out.

            Summa summarum, I am not particularly impressed with Mr. Bluster Butt’s blathering line of blubbering babbling bullshit.

            And jolly well there we are… aren’t we!

            ~OGD~

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You love quoting yourself, that is true, but as usual you miss the entire context of the conversation.

          • Dan K

            I don’t know what you guys are talking about. I didn’t say anything about Jason, just the contemporary Republican Party.

          • quinn esq

            Technically… that’s true. But your words – appropriately massaged and selectively replaced – were just too good to leave out of the insult. 😉

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Just goes to show you didn’t read a thing I wrote because I never mentioned parties except as it applies to both equally.

            I also never exclusively blamed any one generation for our problems as we have all had a part to play.

            You guys just seem to be confused as what you role has actually entailed.

    • JNagarya

      Check out the guy, married to the psychiatrist, who got busted with grenades, etc., and appears to be clinically paranoid about “Armaggedon” and “martial law”.

      While he does seem to have got some higher education, he didn’t learn much about which sources of information to trust, and which to avoid like the plague.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      The entire country, red and blue and purple, is hurting and angry and fed up. Success can be found across party lines as can tragedy.

      That you continue to paint our nation’s profound problems in such stark, simplistic terms is part and parcel of why we are still floundering.

      This comment seems remarkably disconnected from the real world.

  • no exit

    congratulations jason,

    once again you prove the old adage;

    you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink…

    you are remarkably obtuse. quinn nailed it.

  • fpie

    There was something I wanted to say but gawd there’s a big pile on poor jason here. He seems to have surendered the field and who can blame him. Not that that’s a bad thing.
    But surendering the field concerning those “lately somewhat missguided Republicans” and doing a two-step around Saint Ronnie: Now if you don’t own Ronnie you just ain’t a Rapublakin. Big debt, lousey government, graft from the rich corporations, tax breaks et al to said corporations and screw the hell out of all non-millionaires. And all those “somewhat misguided of late” ideas are the same damned ideas the GOP has been spouting for more than a century. All except all war all the time, that’s a new wrinkle.
    As far as “my ge-ge-ge-generation”: WE’re (not me personally) the jerks that fell for Saint Ronnie’s smooth line of BS and put him in office TWICE! We didn’t learn a thing from Nixon or even from Reagan. We will get what’s comming to us (via latest SC decission and we have earned it and God help the world. The pooch is screwed, it’s all over but the crying.
    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I think Ronnie was as misguided and xenophobic as all of our post World War II presidents of both parties and worst than many from a policy standpoint.

      The mixing of conservative religion and conservative politics led to a disastrous present for the GOP. On the flip side of that coin are the corporate democrats who provided covering fire for the looting of the treasury at the behest of special interests.

      In a two party system that trades influence every ten years or so, both parties are equally responsible for dire straights we find ourselves in and We The People Who Do Not Vote are responsible most of all.

      I think the only place we differ is in the totality of our accounting.

      (PS: I never yield the field to any idiocy, though I do have a busy life and will seem to take leave at times.)

  • KateO

    Seventy-six million American babies were born between 1946 and 1960. That’s a lot of people to blame, Jason. Does it bother you just a little to make such a hyperbolic generalization? No one here is allowed to make such sweeping statements about Republicans.

    This has been fun to read on day 4 of our frozen imprisonment. Some classic stuff. I wasn’t born in the US, but I am of boomer age, and some of my best friends are boomers.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      No where in my blog did I blame Boomers for anything. I am simply highlighting the massive rift that exists within their generation as well as without.

      Our most bitter, partisan ideologues on both sides are from that turbulent era in American history and seem wholly uninterested in a cease fire for the good of the nation.

      Their political civil war rages on, cheering the ghosts of protests past, while our cities fall to ruin and our children can no longer read.

      The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that one exists.

      • OldenGoldenDecoy

        Mr. Bluster Butt continues to bash . . .

        While our “cities fall to ruin” I have a sinking feeling that he hasn’t bent over to pick up a piece of trash on the sidewalk, expecting others to do it for him.

        And… Over the past 27 years, every single child that has left my lovely spouse’s class not only were able to read, but actually comprehend BS from substance.

        Her charges would no doubt be amazed and left scratching their collective heads at what often comes from the pen of the windbag.

        Like my Daddy (a real sailor) said, “Pick up the dog shit in you’re own back yard before looking over the fence.”

        ~OGD~

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I am such a selfish prick that I dug our street’s fire-hydrant out from under three feet of snow and am the first to sweep up broken bottles around the neighborhood.

          I have no doubt your lovely spouse is the exception that somehow disproves the rule, but the kids in the streets where I live have very few skills to fall back on when they finally stumble out of high school into the real world.

          In a truly innovative school system, teachers and administrators would be rewarded like any other professional as their teaching and programs showed results – yet be subject to dismissal if the classroom just wasn’t their thing.

          Right now we have the worst of all possible worlds in public education and pay more than any other nation on earth for the dysfunction.

          Just like everything else we do.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            This isn’t about me and mine, but all the people who don’t have access to good schools.

            As to prowess of Maryland schools, I bet there are counties in PG and Baltimore that would have differing opinions on the subject which is why I think our schools are systemically broken.

            Too much is determined by your zip code instead of your genetic endowments.

  • readytoblowagasket

    A little humility might help, jason.

    Also, a lot more discipline. The first half of your blog has nothing to do with the second half, structurally or thematically.

    I’m not interested in piling on in the critique of your views, just explaining why you are getting so much grief for this post. You deserve to get criticism because you wrote a self-indulgent blog. By self-indulgent, I simply mean you let your emotions call the shots rather than taking a step back to see if you had communicated your views effectively. I’d say the reaction to your blog—starting with quinn’s points—means you haven’t communicated clearly and effectively.

    It has nothing to do with anyone’s ideology left or right, by the way; it has to do with a poorly structured, poorly articulated blog. That’s your responsibility and no one else’s.

    I predict you won’t agree with me because you are pretty hell-bent on blaming ideology for much of what’s wrong rather than on your own writing. But I’d suggest you let your thoughts percolate longer, rather than allowing your pride to dictate a defense of your honor.

    Also, using plainer language would help. In other words, drop the cliches (“letting sleeping dogs lie,” “missed opportunities,” “downward spiral,” “cultural warfare,” “mortgaged our children’s future,” “dreams deferred”—how many times must we endure these phrases?) and the predilection toward the overwrought (“howling,” “miscreants,” “global tragedy that our Republic has become”—Oy!!! What the hell does this last one mean anyway?). You’re no Lord Byron, so try to speak like who you are instead.

    I could have said all of this in a much more diplomatic way, but I think this particular blog warrants a certain bluntness. In any case, I think you can do better.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Self indulgence is the charge? Lack of humility and thematic confusion? Irony is the last casuality of ideological crusades.

      The first half of my essay referenced my ideas from a year ago that the only way we would progress as a nation is to heal ourselves at the grassroots and for President Obama to act as a catalyst for that post-partisan growth as he did during the election.

      I then highlighted how a year later nothing has changed and a large part of it is the continuing acrimony between the partisan warriors of the generation before mine. That the continuing ideological warfare keeps us from progressing as a nation.

      As for your critique of my writing, I will consider it as the opinion of one person that is not echoed in the comments to this blog.

      Most of the comments from the subjects of my critique amount to nothing more than further justification and projection and caricature, I am left with no other choice than the believe my original thesis is correct.

          • readytoblowagasket

            Exactly, jason. I don’t get it. And I can show you why, using your own words.

            Many Boomers – including my parents – wax nostalgically about the missed opportunities of a fractured generation who took the downward spiral of cultural warfare and civic disengagement and commercial exploitation to ridiculous extremes with predictable ends.

            First of all, demographically the Boomers span from 1946 to 1964, at least according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means that Barack Obama is a Boomer, as are Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George and Laura Bush. I realize you are talking about a specific segment of the Boomers, but you never tell us which segment that is. We can presume you mean the older end of demographic, but you didn’t actually say, either in this blog or in the blog about your step-father. We have no idea how old your parents are, and so we are truly unable to know what you are referring to in your sweeping generalizations about the Boomers.

            In any case, Boomers are middle-aged, and therefore their chapter isn’t over yet. Other Boomers include Bill Gates and Clarence Thomas, Michael Moore and Peggy Noonan, Patty Hearst and Oprah, Donald Trump and Sally Ride, David Petraeus and Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and Dennis Kucinich.

            So what exactly is the “downward spiral” you are referring to? What’s your definition of “cultural warfare” and “civic disengagement”? What are the “predictable ends”? And what are the opportunities that were “missed”? Boomers have made significant contributions to the arts, science, technology, etc., so if you want to insist that everything turned out badly, you’re going to have to be more specific and prove that your idea of what’s bad tips the scales in negative consequences compared to positive influences.

            We see the continuing trend here at TPM, in conversations between staunch liberal compatriots as well as those potential allies who exist among Americans opposed to business as usual of any stripe.

            So what? How are the verbal disagreements at TPM important in the greater scheme of life? This is a blog, not the real world. Our disagreements here have absolutely no bearing on what politicians do in Washington, or anywhere else, for that matter.

            The small-minded miscreants who would see our cultural wars continue share a profound inability to accept the part their side played in leading us here. Both parties spent us into a ridiculous amount of debt, squandered our reputation abroad and mortgaged our children’s future, for many of the same ethereal and short-term reasons it turns out, yet it is always the other party’s fault when we start playing politics American style.

            Who are the “small-minded miscreants”? Are you sure we all agree on who they are?

            Anyway, the two things you reveal you care about are the debt and our international reputation. You seem to think we should share those same concerns. What if some of us care about one of those concerns and not the other? Your premise assumes we think like you and see bad exactly where you see it.

            “Not me!” is the cry when it comes time to assign blame for the global tragedy our Republic has become.

            I honestly don’t know what you mean by “the global tragedy our Republic has become,” so I can’t agree or disagree with it! You haven’t defined your terms.

            Even the notion that We The People Who Do Not Vote are ultimately responsible in a representative republic gone wrong is met with squawks of scorn from the same partisan bit-players and assurances that if we just take THEM out once and for good, all will finally be well in Whoville. The Grinch is to blame, not me, so just a little more of what we have always done in pursuit of our implacable and insatiable ideology is sure to do the trick this time!

            No idea what this whole paragraph means. Sorry.

            Who really wants to open a Pandora’s Box of unhealed wounds and dreams deferred when We The People can sublimate and medicate our way to happiness?

            Again, what are the “unhealed wounds” and “dreams deferred”? What do you mean by “sublimate…our way to happiness”? And why do you bring up “medicating” ourselves all of a sudden?

            I’m actually willing to go down the road of boomer bashing with you, jason, but you don’t provide any details, so I can’t.

  • Obey

    Jason, here’s a shot at some constructive criticism:

    What I’d personally like to see, if you’re taking requests, is posts with some argument backing your general underlying assumptions, some empirical evidence of
    (1) this vast silent Decent Republican majority of which you speak,
    (2) what concrete policies they would support,
    (3) what’s going wrong with Dem messaging on policies that should have appeal to them but for some reason don’t.

    Or you could perhaps
    (4) provide profiles of Decent Republicans – Frum or Bartlett (if he’s still GOP?) come to mind – that can provide Dems with some hope that the GOP as an institution is not beyond redemption.

    Maybe there are other possibilities, but what you’re doing just isn’t constructive.

    I think you get a harsh reaction in part because your declared project – making the GOP a force for Good through, inter alia, more bipartisan gestures from the Dems – seems to many eyes so quixotic that it can appear disingenious, in much the same way that the GOP leadership’s pleas for more concessions, more time to debate, appear to be mere demagoguing and obstructionism. So if you offer some back-up for your assumptions, it might go down better, or create a decent discussion of how to read the polls, and generally how to understand the underlying value- or preference-set of the ‘unwashed GOP masses’, as you call them.

    Another point: if you look back, you’ll see that your policy-oriented posts – the food stuff, the critique of cash for clunkers, bottom-up systemic reform, etc. – meet with a pretty good reception and/or get a decent constructive discussion going. It’s the posts that appear to be variants of the ‘Dems suck and are equally to blame’ theme that meet with venom.

    I’m sure it’s inadvertent on your part, but you should realize that posts of this kind do nothing to heal the partisan rancor, they just feed it. You are patently not convincing any Dems by, say, equating the party base with wingnuts or citing Kennedy as an example of ‘everything that’s wrong with Washington’ just as Liberals mourn his death. Those are just a couple of examples of a broader Miller trope. But coming from a member of the GOP, that kind of stuff is just explosive provocation. (Yes, yes, I’M SURE that in these instances you MEANT TO SAY something far more subtle, but when you introduce your point, however finely wrought, with ‘Yo Moma’s so fat…’, what follows can lose its impact) The Art of Persuasion 101, mate!

    A third thought: perhaps you say these things not so much with any intention to convince Dems, or to instill in them some self-criticism. You are in these instances, as far as I’ve understood, also writing for the benefit of the supposed Republican/Independent Lurkers around this site, to show THEM that your form of Popular Pragmatism is a basis for transformative change by healing divisions. But you can’t convince THEM of that either, if you write posts perfectly designed to push all the buttons of the more active Democratic crowd of TPM. To such lurkers it will just seem, given the violent reaction you elicit, that no agreement is possible, no alliance is to be had.

    So if you’re interested in feeling your way towards finding potential areas of agreement, towards mending fences and convincing people of the existence of a vast middle ground of pragmatic consensus, try to give some plausible grounds for believing that such a broad GOP grassroots support is just waiting to be tapped for some X set of pragmatic proposals that have appeal to Dems as well.

    In short, I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with this stuff, and to the extent that I THINK I understand what you’re doing, I don’t believe your current rhetorical approach has much of a chance of working. Personally, I found San Fernando Curt and David Seaton’s recent pieces much more constructive on this big-picture aspect of things, on finding common ground with at least one section of the Republican masses.

    Anyway, take care and good luck with whatever it is you’re doing in Washington!

        • quinn esq

          It was a really good note, Obey. I shouldn’t bite when JEM does the “Dems = GOP” or “Boomers = Evil” routines, but it irritated.

          Jason…. people would LIKE to like your political writing. Do you get that? People like Obey and Gasket are actually offering advice on how to do it better. They’re worth listening to. Whereas I’m just here to kick you in the nuts for…. kicking us in the nuts. A silly game, admittedly. But Gasket and Obey are worth listening to.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      This blog was an opportunity to be proved wrong as much as it became yet another instance of being proved right.

      That each and every commenter, except for Curt & Saladin, sees this as a condemnation of them democratic party is amusing when my actual critique was for a nation hell-bent on self destruction because of wounds suffered forty years ago and an inability to objectively view our options.

      I never mentioned one party or the other, yet every single critic cites that as justification for their caricature of my thoughts. That a general critique of an insane nation is taken as a personal affront to so many Ideological Warriors is also funny.

      I would think they had thicker skin than that.

      The great silent majority I speak of is that which exists among every political persuasion, conservative and liberal and otherwise. It is the 80% of us who won’t show for the primary elections this year and the 60% who won’t vote in the general. It is the 70% who won’t turnout for primaries in 2012.

      We The People Who Slumber are our biggest impediment to forward progress.

    • cmaukonen

      It’s the posts that appear to be variants of the ‘Dems suck and are equally to blame’ theme that meet with venom.

      Actually they do suck but only because they keep trying to be republican light.

      C

  • ~flowerchild~

    Jason. Thank you for locating the Boomer Generation label that is usually stuck to my forehead. Every once in a while it falls off while I’m ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’.

    Why, yes. Yes, I am The Boomer and pay no attention to that ~flowerchild~ behind the curtain. Everything bad that happened over the past 40 years is my fault. Sorry, dude, but shit happens. The Way of The Shit; that’s what I like to call it.

    Peace out.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I actually never blamed anyone, just mentioned that is was curious how Boomers always raise the generational rift stuff and then spend most of their words justifying unjustifiable actions.

      That a certain amount of “blame” may be due is beyond doubt, I would think, but that wasn’t the point of this blog. I don’t believe pillorying anyone is the answer, but we do need to objectively look at where we came from in order to avoid making the same mistakes.

      I will mea culpa for spending the years from 1988 to 2000 largely engaged in self-indulgent pursuits, but since becoming politically active, I have done my best to challenge every assumption I had ever made.

      I don’t see the same willingness on the part of my parent’s generation, but perhaps there is a nuance to the many comments on this blog that I missed.

      Namaste.

    • Dorn76

      I know you’ll say you didn’t blame anyone, but the title of the post was enough to get a few people going by itself, I’m sure.

      Take Obey’s advice and post on issues. You’re great at that.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        As long as anyone is immune from criticism, not a single issue will ever be resolved.

        Further, as long as general critiques of a national disease, however much they depend on a touchstone to examine them, are out-of-bounds, nothing will ever change.

        Unless I missed something over the last year of besides continued bipartisan bloodshed and federal lethargy on a number of critically important issues.

          • Dorn76

            If that was unclear, I mean to say that the World is as effed-up as you say, and that I appreciate your thoughtfulness in trying to fix that.

            As you would say:

            Namaste.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Thanks for the recognition of sustained effort, despite the “failures” in execution that may yet exist. Namaste to you as well.

  • cmaukonen

    “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about:
    politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says
    they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from?
    They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane
    from another reality. They come from American parents and American
    families, American homes, American schools, American churches,
    American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by
    American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we
    have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out.
    If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish,
    ignorant leaders.
    Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just
    going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans.
    So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe
    something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public
    sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks.
    F*ck Hope.'”
    George Carlin

    C

      • A Guy Called Lulu

        I took your advice and ran into the bathroom and looked. I don’t know who the hell it was that I saw looking back, but it sure as hell wasn’t Eisenhower.

        • miguelitoh2o

          That’s a good thing Lulu, (not having Eisenhower staring back at you, that is). You stand a fair chance of not having that personality disorder test backfire in your face, IMO.

  • SleepinJeezus

    Some ponder their navels, it seems, in search of the meaning of life. Others look to experts or others who have more experience to see what might be learned.

    But not this guy.

    No, he stirs around quite aggressively trying to find a “jem” nugget in his own bloomer pudding and then has the audacity to complain about the stench of the fouled air while blaming it on everyone but himself.

    Lots of good recommendations in the comments above, sport, many quite gracious in their offering – which is more than I can muster at this point after having gone round and round with you in the past in an effort to gain even a coherent thought from you or to get past your self-involvement toward an actual discussion of real ideas. It’s a pity you will not heed any of it, but it does not surprise me in the least.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I listen to lots of people who are smarter and more experienced than I am, yet ironically enough not a single one would hold themselves up as a special source of wisdom.

      I have had this exact same conversation with many Boomers on this site over the last few years, giving as well as receiving honest criticism in the process, with nary a feeling bruised.

      Once again you prove yourself the master of projection as you accuse me of the very acts you seem to enjoy. Stiring the pot until nothing but the partisan stench of trench warfare remains.

      • SleepinJeezus

        “In a two party system that trades influence every ten years or so, both parties are equally responsible for dire straights we find ourselves in”

        Only ONE example of a “jem” nugget as mentioned earlier. You said it. You own it.

        The fallacies in this statement are patently obvious to anyone who would even be remotely familiar with Progressive politics. But for you, I’ll connect the dots:

        1.) All agree that Dems and Repubs are the very best candidates that money (OOPS! I meant “free speech!”) can buy. I have little respect for pols of either party (including Obama) who are spawned by a failed system wherein we are continually left with a choice of the lesser of two evils. I’d prefer electing REAL leaders who represent the ideals and principles of those who elect them to office. What we get instead is bait-and-switch, wherein promises are made with intent to actually do nothing that would alienate those oligarchs who pay the bills – er, I mean “provide the free speech” – that gets them into office. But I cannot ignore the fact that there is indeed a choice that is properly made, and that the Dems are much closer to representing a Progressive agenda than anything the GOP promotes.

        1a.) All agree that Dem appointments to the SCOTUS would not have assumed the activist mantel and actively pursued the Citizen’s United case, let alone overturn 100 years of settled law to hand the corporations a throttle hold on our democracy.

        1b.) Dem appointments to SCOTUS would NOT have appointed Bush/Cheney to the Presidency.

        2.) It’s pretty difficult to make the case that Al Gore in the Presidency would NOT have altered the history of the last decade for the better.

        3.) The election of Reagan and the subsequent dance into the wasteland of “Reaganomics” has set the Progressive cause back nearly 100 years.

        4.) It is absolutely impossible to imagine just how more f*cked up things would be right now if McCain/Palin had won last year’s election.

        You continually maintain a virtual schoolgirl infatuation for Obama wherein you brook no criticism of the President but rather pass off his many failures to lead onto the activists who seemingly don’t push him enough. You then criticize the activists who complain about his many failures – especially his failure to stand up to his corporate owners and do the People’s work instead – as “looking glass liberals” or some other “jem” nugget that contributes NOTHING to the discussion and contradicts your previous point.

        But it is equivalencies of the kind outlined in the selected quote that are most incredible. You have mastered this as your “schtick” and express surprise and disappointment that so many here react to what you write (and not what you “meant”) by roundly and correctly taking you to task for such nonsense.

        Joan D’Arc you are not. Nor are you capable, apparently, of re-writing political science or interpreting history in anything like a helpful fashion.

        Instead, you continue stirring your own bloomer pudding in search of substance as witnessed in this blog, and then wonder that no one else finds it to be a rewarding exercise.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You still take a lot of words to prove you don’t understand a single thing, about your country or your fellow citizens, but this certainly helps explain why the Raging Left only make up about 10% of the electorate and remain a totally ineffectual part of our politics.

          Both parties, either though action or inaction, are directly responsible for the place we find ourselves in today and unless the democratic faithful can understand that, this country will remain startkly divided and you will remain as happy as a pig in shit.

          Does it bother you even a little bit that the entire country has to die for your partisan demons to be satisfied?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          PS: Being a condescending prick doesn’t help your cause, either, but keep at it Don Quixote! You just might convince Americans yet that your crew isn’t out of their mind. Been trying for 40 years now, what’s forty more between friends?

  • Jason Everett Miller

    Americans would rather makes excuses for their bad behaviors than change their lives. That is what I meant by sublimation. Americans would rather take pills and eat tons of food than deal with their demons. That is what I meant by medicating our way to happiness.

    This entire blog was about a generation unable to rationally and logically examine their lingering issues, so your pulled quotes and follow-on explanations clearly show you understood what I was writing, however much you disagree. Obama was a child during Vietnam and the fractured mess that came out of it, so trying to fold him into the mix is intellectually dishonest.

    “Generation Jones” is much closer in influence and mindset to oldest Gen Xers than they are to Boomers. Speaking of Boomers, where did I say their time is over? Many, like my Mom and my mother-in-law and aunts, are just getting started on new adventures. No where in my blog or my many comments on your fascinating generation of wackos and wunderkind did I say they should exit the stage.

    Shut the fuck for a minute and take some direction, sure, but they are still an integral part of the play.

    As a matter of fact, I wish we had the Internet twenty years earlier, so we didn’t lose the World War II generation’s contributions to our national discourse. We all must play our parts to best of our abilities, but the continued political acrimony among “middle-aged” Boomers is stifling our progress as Americans.

    One question, though. How is 50- to 60-years into an average 80-year life span middle-aged?

    This is part of the problem as I see it since your generation passed through middle age a decade ago and many are working on that final third of life. I am actually middle aged at 40 years old yet most Boomers still want to pat me on the head and give me a lollipop. Condescending doesn’t begin to cover it.

    Moving on.

    You don’t consider our global commercial and military empire a tragedy of epic proportions? The poor people we kill or enslave half a world a way is just business as usual? Our schizophrenic foreign policy that has us at war with East Asia at one moment and friends with them the next is A-OK with you?

    There were no missed opportunities as a society to be more equitable and fair to more Americans?

    That might be an odd position for a “liberal” to take but it is understandable given your generation’s need to be safe and secure in all their daily endeavors, no matter how mundane, despite the inherently dangerous nature of the universe in general. An inability to rationally judge the consequences of your actions over the last few decades is another lingering flaw.

    That is how personal computers and The Titanic become acceptable stand-ins for real progress on a number of vitally important fronts that seemed to have died on a balcony in Georgia.

    Not sure how much more clear I could be in this blog or my repeated attempts at clarification of fairly straightforward and basic points, but I am going to stop trying for now since you seem to be willfully misunderstanding my words at every turn in order to counter positions I never took.

    • SleepinJeezus

      What a stupefyingly incoherent rant!

      It is you who complains so regularly about “whiners.” And yet you declare a whole generation to be failures because they have not achieved political Nirvana. And then you build strawmen to make your point. To wit:

      “You don’t consider our global commercial and military empire a tragedy of epic proportions? The poor people we kill or enslave half a world a way is just business as usual? Our schizophrenic foreign policy that has us at war with East Asia at one moment and friends with them the next is A-OK with you?”

      Incredible. Stupefying, even. With all the consistency of a popcorn fart, and just about as welcome in civil company.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        PS: You and Howard need to get a room because you are starting to sound the same. Perhaps you should decide ahead of time who is going to use bluster or popcorn fart, huh?

    • readytoblowagasket

      Obama was a child during Vietnam and the fractured mess that came out of it, so trying to fold him into the mix is intellectually dishonest.

      Actually, it’s not intellectually dishonest. Since I’m a year younger than Obama (and therefore only 7 years older than you), I happen to know a lot about Obama’s age group. As I said, Obama is at the tail-end of the postwar baby boom demographically, but he is in the group nonetheless. Two years after I was born, the birthrate in the U.S. dropped precipitously (which you can literally see here). That’s why the U.S. Census Bureau includes Obama and me with the rest of the Boomers.

      According to Douglas Coupland (who is Obama’s age), Obama and I are Gen Xers.

      According to Jonathan Pontell, Obama and I are Generation Jones.

      Whatever we are, the bulk of the Boomers does not accept the early ’60s babies as Boomers, so I have gotten my share of lollipops and pats on the head too. That’s just the way older Boomers are: everyone’s older sibling.

      But that attitude has freed me to reject the burden of the Boomer identity, and the part I reject are all the Boomer character flaws. (I fit more comfortably into Coupland’s underachiever/nonconformist Gen X description from his novel, and I get along best with people who are young-at-heart, no matter if they are 70 or 35. So I love Lady Gaga and Ella Fitzgerald with equal delight.)

      Anyway, you are totally off the mark when you say:

      That might be an odd position for a “liberal” to take but it is understandable given your generation’s need to be safe and secure in all their daily endeavors, no matter how mundane, despite the inherently dangerous nature of the universe in general. An inability to rationally judge the consequences of your actions over the last few decades is another lingering flaw.

      You guessed wrong about my “positions” and you guessed wrong about my age.

      I’m not going to take the bait about the positions. You should know the parameters of my views well enough by now to admit these are silly accusations.

      I only want to say I think you made some necessary clarifications in your comment. You didn’t articulate these points in your original blog post, however. That puts the onus on your readers to intuit the details of your positions, and I was saying that you didn’t give us enough information to intuit much of anything. In the future, if you take the time to add such details in your original post, you might get an entirely different discussion going. Maybe a more productive one.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        I never guessed your age, but the idea that you were claiming a basic Boomer identification was based on the words you used to comment on this piece.

        Mea culpa for the error.

        My uncle is a little older than you are and is quick to disavow any connection with the Boomer generation based on a lack of connection with most of their cultural touchstones.

        For many of the same reasons you do, apparently, which means we certainly could have had a meaningful discussion on this matter since you apparently intuited my unstated clarifications just fine.

        Those omissions that come with any blog, no matter how long someone takes to compose it, are usually hashed out in the comments. That is the beauty of the medium.

        I maintain that anyone who was “offended” by my piece would have been offended no matter how assiduously I crafted the argument.

  • SleepinJeezus

    “Not sure how much more clear I could be in this blog or my repeated attempts at clarification…”

    Now, FINALLY you have stated something I think we all can agree upon!

    …”but I am going to stop trying for now”

    Ummm… in the words of one of the best and brightest of your Republican colleagues, I can only respond “YOU LIE!”

    Please prove me wrong.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      There you go, talking for other people again. Just who is this “we” you speak for. Like any petulant child who can’t make a good point, you stick our your tongue instead.

      As to yet another out-of-context quote, that wasn’t a statement made to you and was in reference to the ideas found in that specific thread at that specific time.

      Thanks for perfectly illustrating my blog’s main point with a standard performance straight out of the pissy partisan playbook.

      • SleepinJeezus

        “…but I am going to stop for now”

        You said it. You own it. In context. Addressing everyone (the many!) who have taken you to task for making such an incredible false equivalency* such a major part of your schtick.

        “…but I am going to stop for now.”

        You lie. Prove me wrong.

        —————
        *”In a two party system that trades influence every ten years or so, both parties are equally responsible for dire straights we find ourselves in”

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You pull a quote out of context and give it whatever meaning you decide it needs to make whatever inane nit you have decided to pick.

          That sentence that says “Posted by Jason Everett Miller in reply to…” very clearly shows who I was talking to with that particular statement and in what context.

          Your tactics remain as transparent as they are pathetic.

  • SleepinJeezus

    Indeed!

    You’ve now slide entirely off the rhetorical map into the absurd!

    You said it. You own it. It’s about time you give up this quixotic attempt to argue that we should all read what you meant and not what you wrote. It’s really a childish game to avoid taking responsibility for your senseless gibberish offered as meaningful dialogue (monologue?).

  • SleepinJeezus

    Monologues, indeed, sport!

    I (and many others) have too often made the attempt to engage you in specifics, jason, only to be offered your dodge that we misunderstand what you wrote, or some other nonsense such as “You still take a lot of words to prove you don’t understand a single thing…” .

    The link shows, for example, a clear case wherein I very specifically challenged a very fundamental part of your whole schtick; a false equivalency that you continually make that “both parties are equally responsible…” Here in this blog, in fact, you incredibly malign an entire generation to make a point that cannot withstand even a precursory examination.

    Your response is childish and insulting – and transparent in its attempt to avoid defending your fundamental thesis.

    And, yes, I have indeed been a “prick” to you, as charged. It comes in part because I don’t suffer fools gladly, although this usually results in my ignoring them. In your case, however, you mix foolishness and ignorance with a large dose of arrogance that begs a response. Just READ, for once, the many criticisms offered to your blog in the comments above. Most are tendered quite graciously, yet your response is to dismiss them with a timeworn insistence that you are somehow misunderstood – and you then continue on as if you have successfully reinforced “the truth according to jason” in the commission of such a dodge.

    This would be comically irrelevant, at best, and worthy of nothing more than a dismissive yawn except for the fact that your arrogance prompts you to disparage others in effort to support your nonsense when logic and factual arguments fail you – which happens on a regular occurrence. And you can expect to be called out for such arrogant blather whenever it occurs, either by the more genteel commenters that populate your comment section above or by those like me who grow very weary of your pompous ego that can only be fed – not with accomplished thought and genuine contribution to a discussion – but rather by an insistence that you hold the keys to the universe and that all others are “failures” who should simply accept your indefensible blather without question.