essays

The Blame Game Sucks

VW beetleHow much mileage can you get out of blaming baby boomers for everything? A lot apparently. Enough to drive cross country fifty times, bitching all the way.

According to some in Generation Jones and some of the thirty somethings, baby boomers are at the root of everything that’s wrong with this country -- no wait, the whole world. Are we that powerful? I don’t think so. My take is that no single generation could have that much influence. Like, hello -- things were not rolling along perfectly fine when 70 million babies came on the scene and then ran it all into the ground.

Everything that is wrong can be blamed on the selfish, former hippy, pot smoking, mary jane leafliberal, free loving, never sacrificed anything ME generation. Crime, war, the subprime mortgage crisis, greenhouse gas -- you name it -- it’s our fault. It doesn’t matter that many of these problems have been a long time coming, or that boomers are not a monolithic group where everyone thinks and acts in the same way -- it’s still our fault.

As one blogger notes, blaming your parents never goes out of fashion, so why not blame the baby boomers for everything about this world you don’t like. I’ll tell you why. Because as much as SOME boomers can be blamed for SOME rotten things, a lot of other boomers have done a lot of the right things. Such as seeding a genuine environmental movement, becoming activists for civil rights and womens rights, launching a peace movement that helped to end an unjust war, or dreaming up many of the technology breakthroughs that now make the Internet a reality in almost every home in the country. And before I forget, if you don’t have any baby boomers, you don’t have any generations to follow them -- as in you would never have been born!

peace signEvery generation gets mad at the previous one for slights and insults, perceived and real. I think my parents were greatly influenced by living through the depression and that in turn colored the way they saw their world. In many ways I think baby boomers reacted to this overly cautious and frugal world view, just as gen Xers and Yers are reacting to their boomer parents. How does the blame game help to end global warming or prevent a recession? It doesn’t. Our time might be better spent in group therapy, where we could learn to move beyond the blame game to the let’s make good things happen game. Sign me up!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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