The Worst Generation

Monday, November 14, 2011

Over at Streak’s place, he links to a great essay written by an Iraq war vet and published at the Washington Post.   In the essay, Thomas L. Day  says:

Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.
Day says what I have been thinking for a long, long time. If the WW II generation was the greatest, the one that followed was the worst. The greatest generation paid the taxes that built our roads and infrastructure that created an economic boom. They went to school on the GI Bill and sent us to the moon. They were patriots, who paid their fair share. The generation that followed failed us. They greedily squandered what their parents built, because they selfishly wanted cuts to their taxes and favored benefits of the individual over the collective prosperity of our nation.

This is what the Occupy Wall Street protests are all about.

Read it.

3 comments:

Smitty 2:31 PM  

You know, I like that. I read it and posted over at Streak's place, but I like that notion you said: that the Greatest Generation didn't mind paying their share. Shit, I remember being in elementary and middle school, interviewing my grandparents about the war. My grandma recalled RATIONING. There was only so much gas, meat and veggies you were allowed in a week. Imagine Obama or even Bush saying "look, America. In order for us to keep this effort up, we've got to ration gas and burger meat." It would be fucking MAYHEM. PANDEMONIUM.

Bob 2:45 PM  

"My grandma recalled RATIONING."

Oh.my.God, the stupid fuckers running congress would be screaming about the Nazi's in the Obama administration trying to starve everyone.

steves 10:30 AM  

I will have to play the contrarian here and say BS. While I agree that this fiasco shows a major institutional problem with Universities and major sports programs, or even what happens when powerful people abuse children, but I think it is a little far fetched to extend this to some generational critique.

While I don't want to take away from any of the greatest generation's accomplishments, I do want to point out that times are different. Even with WWII at its height, income taxes were lower than they are now. While people were willing to accept rationing and buy war bonds, just a decade earlier, there was a great deal of reluctance to go along with the New Deal. It is a credit to FDR that he was able to get this stuff passed.

My grandparents told me about rationing. My grandfather was a mine superintendent in the 40's. He remembers strikes and people being killed by car bombs in the UP of Michigan. He also remembers the federal govt stepping in and forbidding strikes. The anti-union people would be ok with this, but how do you think this would play with the left? How about putting US citizens of Japanese ancestry in camps? Some of these actions don't look so good.

It is also important to remember that the greatest generation was around for much of the latter 20th century. Sure, they got us to the moon, but they also got us into Vietnam. They also voted for people that let infrastructure go down the tubes.

I am not trying to give current leadership some kind of pass, but I just don't see the comparison, nor do I see anything that would make me believe that a past generation would have been better equipped to handle what happened at Penn State. If anything, I think people are more willing to report child abuse now then they were in past decades.

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