I really do try to keep my blog non-political, but right now, with my novel percolating and my characters misbehaving, I decided to write about something that’s been bothering me lately. Canada has just been through a federal election. It’s over, though some would have us believe otherwise, and conversations have gone back to “what’s wrong with the country anyway”. Many older citizens are contributing their opinions, so are the younger generations but when an opinion from a senior conflicts with that of a junior, it seems the stock response is “OK Boomer”. Seems innocuous enough but the phrase is actually meant as an insult. Why?
It is widely felt that the Boomer generation were given everything and contributed nothing to the world in general, that we are responsible for the environmental disasters befalling our earth, for the greed of large corporations, for poverty and disease. But hold on a minute. It’s time us boomers laid our cards on the table.
Our parents, one or both, enlisted in the Armed Forces to fight for the world and for their, as yet unconceived, children. The joy of a world war ending resulted in a wave of children born into happiness, to parents who swore that their children would never see the horrors they had experienced. Those parents kept their promises. Canadian children, when they grew up, did not have to go to war again. Unlike our parents during the Depression, we had food. If we lacked education it was in the learning of our history and indigenous people, most of us had the advantage of going on to some form of higher education or learning a trade. Life was good and we needn’t apologize for it.
Yes there are some of my generation who became greedy, who don’t understand what is truly at stake but do not paint all with the same brush. Yes our generation did make mistakes but aren’t many of the ensuing generations making mistakes as well?
Let’s have a look at what the Boomers have accomplished and are proudly passing on to our next generations. We rid our country of capital punishment. No one who is wrongly accused and languishing in jail, will be put to death. We are proud of that.
There is no more polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella or whooping cough at least not until those who prefer not to vaccinate their children start succumbing to those epidemics. Wearing seatbelts is mandatory too. Boomers did that.
Huge strides forward have been made for women. Birth control, freedom of choice, opportunities to advance in the occupation of their choice. Boomers made these things possible for women. Civil rights are finally being recognized and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is enshrined in the constitution which gives such rights the legal status they need. Yep, guess who you should thank.
I’m very pleased to tell you that the world wide web, personal computers, and smart phones came to us via boomers like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. All the best innovative thinking gave you these absolutely essential things we depend on to keep us informed about what’s going on in the whole world. You know things, thanks to these men and others like them.
Our generation determined that we wouldn’t have to go to war again. Yes there have been wars and some people have tragically lost their lives but we no longer have war on the massive scale seen during World War 2 and the threat of nuclear war has diminished.
Here in Canada, gay marriage is now legal and people are free to love whomever they want. Men and women don’t have to be married to live together. Boomers made that possible. Yes there is still hate by some, but that is intergenerational, taught by those who never learned to accept all others. It’s not just one generation that is responsible for the hate the world is experiencing right now.
We have learned to apologize to previous generations and others who suffered at the hands of our forefathers. Well I’ll give the Gen Xers that one but you know what? Now that we have had history corrected and learned about the atrocities of the past, we have no real issues with the apologies or the reparations. At least most of us have no issues.
As for the environment, it was the boomers who got rid of acid rain, and warned about the destruction of natural habitats. The book Silent Spring was published in 1962 and was one of the first books to warn people about the harm technology could do even while it helped us. It is not my generation who became addicted to single use plastic, I and my friends drink tap water or filter our water, we also try really hard to not use plastic grocery bags. We didn’t grow up with them so the transition to reusables was easy for us.
So these are my thoughts with a little help from the internet. I hope we can all learn to be more tolerant and stay away from the blame game. I really don’t want to start my sentences with “okay kiddies”.