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Is Charlie Hebdo a Boomer ? Vol 62

January 16, 2015

If Beyonce is still 2nd to Whitney Houston, you must be a Boomer !

Writing a Blog on Boomers, I do try to deal with some of the political, economic, and cultural issues of the day. Its the context of today, the world view that we Boomers use as a frame to lead our lives, to guide us in making decisions, in deciding what to do next. Medical advances point to a long healthy life, while pension worries inject financial realism that we will outlive our wealth. In between these signposts, the great question is do we watch, or get involved ? A continuum for sure, bouncing us from side to side like a clock pendulum, sometimes daily.

The Paris attack on the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo is a perfect example of this pendulum swinging between our urge to passively cocoon on one hand, and our angry reaction to nuke the bastards.

Over the holidays, like many Boomers, we enjoyed many celebration’s. Before Christmas, my whole family got together and did a pot luck, somehow sitting 25 diverse people around the table. The ages ranged from 19 to 59, meat eaters to vegans, boyfriends and girlfriends, brothers and wives, all enjoying themselves. At one point, I looked around the table and noticed that only one person was not white. An amazing view when you consider that we live in a community of many clans and faiths. My reaction was to notice that my family has a long way to go to be Charlie Hebdo.

The next morning, my immediate family had our own celebration at home, between hangovers and omelettes . A nice simple gathering, before we all left to see other family in other cities.

At my in-laws later that week, we had 2 large dinners with shifting invitees, culminating in an off-site gathering that my father-in-law pays for, numbering 30 people. All in all, it was a great time, with little bad news to muddle the story lines. Boring, but with the snow and cold, a cocooning filled with jokes and calories. We also saw old friends, staying in touch with all the old stories.

Idealistic, a perfect time to enjoy family, get caught up on events, and re-connect, a rare event in our otherwise scattered and on-line world.

Of course, the pendulum swung back, and gunmen broke our calm with the killings in Paris, and the continued police actions today in Belgium. The speed by which our world can go from peaceful to chaotic continues to amaze me. In our 7/24 connected world, I suppose this argues for the Boomer cocoon, saving ourselves from events we can not control, so why view them ? A powerful argument, that lets us tune out, lowers the powerlessness feeling, and lets us watch Netflix all day. After all, the chances of you being in the wrong place at the wrong time is lower than the chances of a traffic accident, so relax !

After all, isn’t this the message the Charlie Hebdo survivors are telling us ? We are bigger than a few misguided Muslims, they can not dictate policy or censor free speech, don’t let them win ! True enough. But then why do I feel the need to bomb ISIL back to the stone age ?

I am a long term optimist for our species. We will eventually intermingle socially and economically, allowing religion as a sidebar to our organizational hierarchy, a moral bridge we all need to assist in judging our journey in becoming a better race. ISIL is a stone on the road of progress, and we tried to kick it off the path, only to stub our toe on a rock that, like a glacier, was mostly buried. Do we spend the resources to stop, dug out the rock, fill in the whole, and move on, or do we just accept the fact that some stones will impede our path forward, and like a rock that become sand under the never ending movement of water, ISIL will soon become irrelevant to our journey.

If ISIL’s plan was to seek redemption, they will soon fade from out TV screens, as other items race for our attention. I am sure that they did not believe that attacking a second rate cartoon magazine that most of the world had never heard of, let alone most French even read, now sells millions of copies worldwide. Is this what they really wanted ? Whether you believe that seeing Mohammad portrayed satirically is proper or not, and I personally do not, all ISIL has done is shown that the cartoon to greater than the gun ! This has always been so, but ISIL did not get the rallying cry they wanted.

So, we do need to stay involved, not allowing a small radical group to cower our positive direction. When even Hassan Nasrallah, the Shi’ite Hezbollah leader speaks out on the issue and condemns ISIL, well, isn’t that a true sign that ISIL messed up !

All in all, the point is that Charlie Hebdo, a group of unknown second rate cartoonists are fighting the good fight, and they died trying to keep us from the cocoon. They have earned our respect as they continue to try to keep us engaged in denouncing the things that inhibit our progress. Hopefully next Christmas, I will see more diversity around my dinner table, and they will be part of the reason.

Next on Boomers – WTF ! , whither the liberal or conservative soul ?

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