Last week I got some blow back from people who strenuously disagreed with my comment that I believe my generation, the Boomers, weren’t particularly good socially responsible stewards of this society. That was probably a combination of my failure to clearly explain my meaning and a tendency of some people to over react. Whoa there Gramps, slow down, don’t hyperventilate, you might fall down and break a hip!
I was raised in Dearborn MI, World Headquarters for Ford and home to their white employees, Black people were not allowed to live there. Mayor for 36 years, Orville Hubbard, was a famous segregationist who kept the city White. As far back as I remember, I was disgusted by that truly ugly man. The City Services and school system were top notch, so you could say I was raised in a Trumpist’s heaven.
My earliest inklings re the incorrigible element amongst my peers was in school, where I noticed a large plurality of the students didn’t listen, didn’t care that they were being given the gift of a very good education, insulted the teacher, threw spitballs at her when her back was turned, etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite a trouble maker myself, but I was respectful and always earned good grades. By high school, it was my few friends, the “dirty hippie dogs”, pitted against the majority, the “greasers” and the “jocks”, who delighted in ganging up on the hippies whenever possible.
At that time I attended the first Earth Day march and many Anti war demonstrations. I also developed my life long belief that finding a profession where I was able to make a positive contribution (and a steady paycheck) was much more important that pursuing big bucks.
Cut to the eighties, the country had actually seemed to be bending in the right direction, until Reagan and the Greed is Good ethic took precedence. I was working on the GM auto assembly line, where I was offered a supervisor’s job. I turned it down because even back then I was a strong critic of corporate power who told people all the time that the country was headed in the wrong direction. In fact I still have my DIE YUPPIE SCUM T-shirt. Then management offered me an artist job, doing graphics, posters and such for the plant. To their astonishment I set two conditions before accepting the position (they believed people would sell their soul to get off the line). I agreed to take the job as long as I was not asked to do any promotions or marketing, and to get photos of the work I produced. I remained in that job for eleven years, that is until the Bush family pressured GM to cease operations in that plant (that’s another story).
So the point of all this is to respond to those who last week accused me of being an “ageist” and biased against the Boomers. First, it’s weird to call somebody an “ageist” who left a good paying graphic design job, with 27 years experience and a very good portfolio, in 2008 when I relocated to the West coast, and was then denied even an interview for many jobs equivalent to past experience. Ageism may be hard to prove but it’s fairly obvious when it’s staring you in the face. And if you want to accuse me of Boomer bashing, that’s a misunderstanding. I’ve been a vocal critic of corporate control and right wing greed for most of my life. I’ve turned down many jobs for ideological reasons while struggling to raise a family. The right wing has repeatedly obstructed any meaningful progress for as many citizens as possible, in favor of catering to the super rich. Now I’ve always believed that “For evil to triumph all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing”. Also Bernie Sanders has stolen my line that we need to put “People before Profits” (actually i believe Noam Chomsky said it first).
It’s hard to dispute that this country turned to the wrong direction right about when Boomers came into positions of influence. I’m open to discussion about that “coincidence” any time. Any educated person knows that ancient Roman writers complained about the younger generation going to hell and I imagine young cavemen gave the older cavedudes grief around the nightly campfire. So I’m not dumb enough to make a blanket accusation against EVERY member of a generation. The reality is that in every generation the majority is not politically involved on a regular basis. A minority on the left and right have always been active while the rest are preoccupied with their daily lives. So no serious person would condemn an entire generation. But I’m speaking to those fascist enablers on the right and those progressives such as myself that, as my handle on Dkos.com indicates, “You’re either part of the problem or PartOfTheSolution.”
I fully understand that most people will never work for change but as a member of the Boomers I am not ready to ignore the profound damage done to our society especially in the last four years. I have always thought involved citizens should try to make a positive contribution using their abilities and/or resources. Some people feel they owe society nothing which goes against what I was taught to be the responsibilities of citizens of a Democratic Republic. It’s a free country, anyone is free to disagree with me. As a graphic designer, critiques have been a daily part of my job, and criticism helps to improve job performance. So I’m pretty impervious to criticism. But I don’t have to accept uneducated opinions, and anyone who wants to characterize me with simpleminded insults, well I don’t listen to you. Have a great week, PLEASE SHARE if you like the comic, thanks!!