Greatest Generation, My Ass...
Sometimes, people say or write stupid things. Ronald Reagan is a particularly egregious example and I could quote many idiotic things that he said. However, the single-most idiotic thing that he ever said (please do not argue with me here, because this quote is not only stupid, it has created the most long-lasting damage to our nation) is this: “Government is not the solution; government is the problem”. I don't think that even that the “Great Communicator” realized the effects of that particular quote when he read it from the teleprompter. Yet there are many other jerks who have inflicted a lot of damage.
Tom Brokow wrote a book. He was looking for a catchy title. Naw, he was looking to make a buttload of money. He did. He chose for his title, “The Greatest Generation”. Sounds harmless, no? I disagree. Because it caught on. I have heard this meme a lot and every time I do, I just want to scream and/or barf.
The World War Two generation did accomplish much. The threat to the entire world was real and they did conquer that. In no way do I wish to minimize their accomplishments. What they did was astonishing. All of them. Hell, I cannot even imagine the courage of African Americans fighting for rights that they did not possess, but hoped that their children might. Or Japanese Americans stripped of all rights, impoverished by their government, their entire families imprisoned in concentration camps, fighting to prove that they were actually Americans. But the greatest generation? With Jim Crow, rampant misogyny, homophobia, religious bigotry, etc..?
All generations are the products of their time. It is difficult to be too far outside the mainstream. I know that. So let us not over-glorify or idealize a time period or the residents thereof and let us not vilify subsequent generations. I am a Baby Boomer. It is not my fault. I did not ask for it, I just was born. Oh, well. I have seen Baby Boomers demonized a lot, most of it deservedly. But a lot of good things happened with our involvement (if not leadership, most of which was from the slightly older, but not combat-ready in the early forties, generation). Civil rights advanced. Women's rights. But we were not the greatest generation. Hell, no. But we were freer and more educated than our parents. We thank them for that. And we were more tolerant and more liberal (in the broad sense of the term).
Some people like to condemn the children of boomers. They were spoiled brats, the “Me” generation. They turned out way, way better than we did. They had a head start, though...
The Millennials... how much have we all read about them? How self-centered and all else they are. Wrong again. Better than us. Thank God. Way, way better. And better by far than anything that has come before. Ever.
The upcoming generation? Wow. They are really great. They are tech savvy, well-educated, more diverse and, and... just incredible! But are they the greatest generation? Yep, so far, but they are not the greatest generation. The greatest generation is the next one. Always. If we lose sight of that, we lose everything. The greatest generation is ALWAYS the next one.
That is why I am a liberal, and why Tom Brokaw is a douchebag.