Monday, January 11, 2010

Calling it Quits?

"We're a cross between our parents and hippies in a tent." -- Greg Brown, "Spring Wind" from the CD Dream Cafe.

What happened to us? In our 20s, our optimism and energy was unbounded: We believed we could change the world, and we did. But then we got complacent, or was it jaded? How could we just stand by and let our country turn into one big strip mall, our manufacturing jobs go to overseas sweat shops (buying their products back from Wal-Mart), and credit cards become a way of life?

We've been in one military disaster after another (remember "No more Vietnams?"), and we remained quiet while American soldiers and innocents died. Did we simply replace the communist threat with another perceived bogeyman, which assuaged our guilty conscience? Did we wipe our hands clean after our initial successes, handing off the responsibility of a healthy planet to those younger, as we turned to the more "important" chores of careers and parenthood?

From what I've observed working with young people for nearly 40 years, the latest generation, although intelligent and capable, is too self-absorbed to do anything more than sit idly by, as they lack the highly personal experience of involvement to do anything; today's insulated internet youth do not have the energizing influence of being in touch with the real world or nature.

Are "boomers" a dying breed? Will the world never again see the emotion, the passion or the drive to make things better? It's a shame we gave up.

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