Friday, June 11, 2010

Opinion - The Selfish Generation

The selfish generation
That’s My Opinion
By Bob Robinson

“Kathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping… I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why…”
One of the things us “oldsters” sometimes do is listen to the music that defined our youth. For me, it was Simon & Garfunkle.
While not as famous as “Bridge over Troubled Waters” or “Sounds of Silence,” S&G’s “America” was almost a theme song for my adolescence.
We were the generation that didn’t trust anyone over 30. Some were involved in the peace and “make love not war” movements, although I wasn’t. In fact, I was ashamed by many of the things I saw in the news. I had friends on the other side of the ocean fighting on our behalf.
I lost a good friend in Vietnam. I had other friends who served and – thank God – came home.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t one messed up cookie. I had good parents – I knew they loved me – but I rebelled anyway.
I didn’t understand what was going on in the world. I didn’t understand what was so bad about a president that he had to be assassinated. When I was younger, I didn’t understand a leader from the other side of the world pounding his sneaker on a table in New York and threatening to bury us. I did understand mushroom clouds and they scared the hell out of me.
I didn’t understand the Great Society… how can a society be great when it creates dependency? I didn’t understand why we would throw away so many American lives by running from a war we could have and should have won… I didn’t really understand why we were there in the first place.
All I knew about politics in my youth was that if we elected John Kennedy, the pope would be running our country from the Vatican; but if we elected Barry Goldwater, we’d have mushroom clouds for breakfast when he started WW III. We went with the Vatican. When JFK was assassinated, Lyndon Johnson assumed office. Any good Texan could have told you that LBJ’s politics would have made a Chicago precinct boss blush.
All of these thoughts came back to me as I listened to the magic of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle on my trips back and forth to Piqua this spring. It was a sad day when they broke up.
Then I got married and had to grow up. I had a family to support. We eventually chose to make our living in Sunny Southern California… after all, Ronald Reagan had been the governor, the state budget was in great shape, and it was the golden land of opportunity.
BIG mistake!
Over the next 25 years I saw California shape our country’s future. Some of you may have heard that all things – good and bad – originate on the Left Coast. Sadly, it’s mostly true. And mostly bad.
If you want to know where Ohio will be 20 years from now if we don’t change our direction, look at California’s $60 billion budget deficit and looming bankruptcy. I’ll make the same prediction for our nation, despite the fact that the U.S. constitution does not require the federal budget to be balanced. There are other balancing factors, such as the economic upheaval we are currently experiencing and runaway inflation.
Our standing as the greatest nation in the history of the earth is, frankly, in jeopardy.
As I remember the challenges of my generation, I worry about the challenges of the next generation.
The youth of today are no different than the youth of any other generation. They want to experience life to the fullest. They want to make a living doing what they enjoy. They want to raise a family. They want to make the world a better place for their children. They want to enjoy their golden years when the time comes. And they don’t understand the challenges the world faces today or how those challenges will affect them.
Sound familiar?
We have been accused of being the “selfish” generation. We are going to break the bank because so many of us are going to be hitting the Social Security rolls in the next few years. I’m already there. Our “crime” is living too long and possibly killing a government program that was flawed from the beginning.
I submit that our failure is not in growing older, but rather that we didn’t challenge the devastating steamroller called big government that has been building for decades. We have been too lazy and self-serving.
Simon & Garfunkle wraps up their song with “All come to look for America.” I submit that’s still true today. The American dream is not dead, but it’s on life support. It’s time to take our country back… at all levels of government.
If not for us, then for our kids and their kids.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Bob Robinson is the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. If you wish to receive his opinion comments by direct email, send your email address to: He also has an open blog at Please express your views.

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