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November 08, 2007



I somewhat agree. But that doesn't completely negate Sullivan's views. There are many battles where the victor necessarily is someone of the next generation, because no matter how right or victorious one side proved to be, its scars were too deep to move on past the struggle. Whether we are now able to do that, or at least the younger generation, is yet to be seen. I hope so.


While I agree with you re: Obama, I must disagree with your characterization of "Boomers" as "the hippies, the war protesters, the drop-outs, the integrationists, those hairy, messy, starry-eyed kids who moved to San Francisco with flowers in their hair..."

That's the packaged media view of that generation. But, as a card-carrying 59-year-old, I take exception. (But, what's wrong with being an integrationist? We have a moral obligation to accept each other.)

As someone whose first exposure to the context of the 1960's came in the form of white and black kids who rode buses to the deep South to fight racism, I see "hippies", etc., as apolitical and selfish folks who decided to throw a party instead of working hard to make American live up to its promise. When they started showing up on TV instead of civil rights marchers being thrown back by dogs and water cannons, conservative Republicans began plotting their anti-democratic attack.

I'm not certain Obama would make the "best" president compared with his competition. But, I am pretty sure an Obama presidency would do more for our country than would any of the other possibilities.


Great post. Really wonderful post. I am glad Sullivan linked to it. And, as Democratic dad, I will have to read your post about Obama as the Dr. Spock of the next generation's approach to parenting. I am also an Obama supporter. But I disagree with your analysis here, though maybe I do not entirely agree with Sullivan. I would say that the battle was over with Reagan and the Bush-boomers one. We should not forget how Clinton was elected the first time with a third party candidate and splits between the core factions of the Republican party, splits that Bush II put back together to win twice. Nonetheless not since Reagan and the end of the cold war, the civil rights movement, the peace movement that his presidency occasioned there has been a vacuum. We are in a way waiting for the sequel. Sullivan's point is the Clinton and Giuliani are almost unconsciously writing the next chapter as a gloss on the old. Obama is a complete break from that past. He is truly the first great politician of the next generation. With the splintering that occurred during the 80s the standard notions of left and right became denatured loose bits floating unanchored that an enterprising could pull together to make something new. Perhaps it is not transcendent or romantic in the sense that Obama will not in his own right be able to repudiate all the debates of the 60s--there is no need to really, they have already been laid to rest, and hippie is as antique a term as flapper or fireeater--rather his point, Sullivan's point is that we are in a new era, and the era is waiting for a sign of itself, a glimpse of itself in the mirror. Obama is just one such symbol who has already emerged--others (good and bad) are still waiting in the wings. Even if he does not win, Obama is the picture of inevitability--the first post-modern president. Hillary may have a machine, the muscle, the skills, but she will not be able to overcome the fact that she is of another age--even if she gets elected. Thanks for your post. I'll add you to my roll.

Alice AN

I'm glad Andrew linked to this - you capture the essence of Obama and the meaning of his candidacy so well.

Your take does not necessarily negate Sullivan's; just offers more dept. Indeed Obama does represent the triumph of one side of the boomer generation, but he also represents the modern era; the post boomer culture war era.

The reason he is both is that, one side of the culture did for the most part win the culture war (and the other has been stuck trying to turn back the hands of time to the 1950's). Obama as POTUS would simply be the last nail in that coffin. Well not quite - there is still the matter of legalizing pot :-).

G Davis

Justcorbly-I actually laughed out loud when I read your post as you describe to a T what we hippies were...

The civil rights movement, the womens movement, the hippies, the war, the birth of the neo-cons...all of it contributed to an era of social upheaval that can not be described, doesn't lend itself to easy release for those that went through it. True polarization...

I don't entirely agree nor disagree with any take I've read so far. I do hope with all my soul the country is ready to elect a new generation...my generation has run the course of it's idea bank, I believe. We need a fresh perspective to serious problems.

Be warned all you young pups...the boomers of today's power elite will not go quietly into the night. The power they hold will be very hard to give up. Hopefully there are enough of us honest boomers that realize it's time to *turn the page* and together we will prevail.


Well, that's the same Andrew who thinks petty Clinton scandals would be somehow horrific after 8 years of Bush/Cheney torture and massive corruption scandals. Remember Enron? So long ago, just the beginning.

And then there's Obama - at least not too uptight to do a skit with Hillary as a witch. Sorry, we'd already overcome when Jessie Jackson made a strong showing across color lines in the 1984 race. Now I'd simply like a candidate who has experience, competence and staying power. I guess some see Obama as a heroic traveller/warrior, but I don't feel heat like I did with Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan. Okay, a luke-warm post-boomer candidate. I should have guessed.

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