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Boomers – wtf ! and the US Election

November 13, 2012

Welcome back to Boomers – wtf !. I am Tom Hunter, a Boomer, 57, with probably 40 years of life left, and no idea what to do with it.

Last blog, we discussed the history of the problem, and I labelled it a “hole in the soul”. This is my best characterization, although I am sure that there is a technical term somewhere that is better suited. You could use the term Mid Life Crisis, but this sounds very medical, and although it’s a major life event, it is finite. You could say it influences each of our futures, but so did getting married, or having kids. It’s a life event, not an aspiration. Send me your label ideas, and I will publish the best ones.

Before we go on, lets be clear that I think this whole exercise is a very positive thing. We may discuss lots of reasons or facts that seem to be negative or pessimistic, but that is just to define the issue, or describe our landscape, or view the size of the hill we have to climb. Really, I think we have a journey to take, so there is no harm in discussing the current roadmap, or what baggage we need to take ( or throw away ) as we start.

Perhaps the real issue here has to do with everyone’s expectations !

Speaking of expectations, I have spent the last ten days locked into the US election, with a few hours also spent upgrading my computer, from a 1999 PC to a 2009 laptop. Both events had their challenges, upsets, and frustrations.

The election was very depressing, whether you were a Democrat or belonged to the GOP. Both parties lied to us, repeatedly and blatantly. All in, the Dems barely won the close states using their Big Data computer machine. They won the popular vote by 1%, which is not a mandate. Obama worked hard, but he should have lost on the merits of his record, with no plan for the future. Forward to what ???

The GOP should have won, but pissed off too many voters with their policies. Really, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, telling women what to do with their bodies is a recipe for losing. I really like the adage that if men could get pregnant, no-one would be pro-life. Second, the Latino vote continues to grow in importance, and not having a reasonable immigration policy was suicide. Self-deportation ?

As a quick aside, there is a global strategy book that talks to the next 90 years, and covers off major changes our world will see by the end of this century. One of the topics is the continued growth of the Latino population in the US, growing to over 50% of the population by 2050. Imagine our politics then ?

The point is that we get the government we want, one way or another. The electoriate is smarter that you think, and does make judgements as to their interests. The fact that there was no discussion on the fiscal situation was really criminal. I don’t mean to bypass Paul Ryan and his budget, but the fact that he would not spell out the actual effects, make the math add up, proves my point. Really, invoking Regan and Clinton, no matter how well meaning, was insulting to a majority of the electorate. Without real-time grown-up leadership, you get $6 Billion spent and do not spin the dial even a little. Would I be pissed if I was a big time donor to either party! Where is my refund ?

The US electorate wants the GOP House to monitor and reign in the President. The Tea Party is a real movement, as long as it stays economically conservative, it should grow in importance. Some commentators describe them as old white people fighting to keep what they have, and what is wrong with that ?  Doesn’t the AARP, the NAACP, and the Latino Conference do the same thing ? Everyone knows that the government will have to shrink, and obviously want the Dems to be in control of who pays what. All in, an interesting situation as the Fiscal Cliff gets closer. It is a true-ism that everyone thinks a class ahead, planning for the day when they get to move up a rung. The Democratic base sure believes this. Next year will be a reality check on that dream.

The rest of the world is waiting for the US to have these arguments, take sides, get all personal, make the hard choices, and move on. Then Europe and Canada will make the same decisions, and we can stop fighting ourselves and turn to watch the Chinese blow up economically.

The alternative really impacts the Boomers in a negative way. Jobs, pensions, and real estate values will be decimated globally. Freedom 65 becomes Freedom Never for many of us. The middle class will quickly disappear, or perhaps self-deport ?

The US is definitely at a crossroads. Two related items bear this out. First, the pot initiative to legalize marijuana is the appropriate Capitalist response to something most of society wants – procure, control, and tax it, the same as we do with alcohol. The fact that pot is not legal today is a functional aberration. Yes, some parts will remain illegal, like driving infractions and the hard drugs. The good news is that this will fix the cartels and the associated crime issues overnight. If the Post Office system were to become the official government dispenser of Pot, we would fix two things at once.  The other major fix would involve the prison system and the Black sub-society inequities. More productive members would only improve our future.

The second item was the continued pulse of gay marriage legalization. While some are personally against gay marriage, whatever the justification, Boomers are becoming irrelevant to the discussion. We are slowly dying off, and its not an issue we will engage our energies on.

The thought of a second Gomorrah could remind us of the fall of Rome, a beginning of the end of our civilization. Keeping the religious aspects out of this will be hard, but in the end, gay marriage in our mixed breed society will matter little compared to the continued interracial melting pot that brings everyone together as one people. The sooner that happens,  the better.

The other event I mentioned was the laptop upgrade. Boy, each new technology takes some training before it teaches us its benefits. And then a new technology comes around, and so on…  It takes some energy to keep current, but its a must for all Boomers. Many Boomers, like my wife, refuse to partake in the new stuff, and its scary to consider what they will not be able to do in ten years.  Its okay to be a late adapter, as long as we all get current occasionally.   

Its Remembrance day, and as a Boomer, someone who did not fight a war, the day is spent in reflection, however briefly, of a time we can not comprehend. Kinda like our future …

Next time, admitting we are in an expectations transition, on Boomers – wtf !

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