By Gene Weingarten
Dear millennials: I’ve been reading articles about how we baby boomers suck. And how your generation is going to fix everything mine screwed up.If you Google “baby boomers are bad,” you get hundreds of hits, including these: “Baby boomers ruined America.” “ ‘Disgusting, Selfish, Immature’: 10 reasons baby boomers are the worst generation.” “Who destroyed the economy: The case against the baby boomers.” And my favorite, “Boomer scumbag.”
Most of these articles were written by millennials.Their argument, in general, is that boomers are responsible for all of the ills of the past 30 years, including unnecessary wars, political gridlock, economic recession followed by economic stagnation and, finally, that they are responsible for creating the toxic, miasmic ideological swamp out of which crawled the malevolence that is Donald Trump. I am here to respond.
The easy and thin-skinned response — the Trumpian response — would be to attack the accuser. I wouldn’t even have to lie, as Trump did. I would simply point out, say, that a political awareness advocacy group recently interviewed students at George Mason University in Virginia — millennials all — and found that dozens of them couldn’t identify either Joe Biden or Ronald Reagan from photographs. (In fairness, they didn’t all completely draw a blank on the photos: One thought Biden was John McCain and two thought Reagan was Richard Nixon. All of them, however, instantly recognized Kim Kardashian.) In a separate poll , 10 percent of recent college grads believed Judith Sheindlin — Judge Judy — is on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The fact is that those anecdotal, unscientific facts prove nothing, really, except that a certain unknown proportion of millennials — it could be 5 percent, or 25, or every single one of you — are entertainment-benumbed dimwits, civically disengaged to the point of treason.
Also, I believe historians will find that the most significant invention by people of your generation — as opposed to inventions by people of my generation, which include, for example, the Internet — is the “selfie.”
But I am above that sort of calumny. Besides, it doesn’t address the real question of whether your criticism of boomers is fair and accurate.I’ll handle that right here. Yes. Yes, it is. We have fouled everything up for you, just as every generation, with the possible exception of our Founding Fathers, fouled everything up for the next one.
Consider the “Greatest Generation.” Sure, they defeated the Nazis and rebuilt Europe, but they also gave birth to, and raised, my generation. How much more horribly could they have screwed up?I do understand your need to scapegoat us boomers, inasmuch as things are not going so splendidly for millennials. And for millennials, when the going gets tough, the tough get whiny. And soft.
Consider the wave of unattractive uber-sensitivity afflicting your generation. And no, I am not talking about college campuses being obsessed with “trigger warnings, “safe spaces” and “micro-aggressions.”
These preoccupations seem positively stoic when compared with the newest obsession, the ethnic food holocaust. In some colleges, millennials are protesting tacos and egg rolls and falafel and other such fare that is being prepared by white people of European descent, because it is said to be appropriating the soul of other cultures. Let us all consider this, intellectually and sociologically, and barf.
But really, millennials, we need not fight. I am not upset or offended by your criticism. I have only warmth in my heart for you sweet simps. I want nothing but the best for you. That is because I have just turned 65 and am in the process of applying for Social Security benefits.
Please stay healthy and prosperous as you finance my dotage.