What Just Happened? An old Boomer Veteran Ponders

The Most Significant Surge in America is now Obama's mandate: Hope

This election boiled down to the choice between an overdue transfer of leadership from the olders past dominant generation in its denial and inability to recognize the headlong rejection of the old ways of doing business.

Hillary's faded presidential candidacy reminded me of one of the last scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Indy - hanging over a ledge above a chasm - found himself barely inches from the Holy Grail.

Indy just couldn't quite grasp it.

Then a voice of reason is heard from his father, played by Sean.

"Indiana .... let it go."

"But I just need to -"

"Let it go, Indiana."

In view of what has happened in an America that has undergone prolonged suffering from a presidential incapacity - accurately described by Mr. Maher last Spring - of America's first retarded president, it might have been better had we passed the baton to post-baby boomers back in 2000.

Speaking in fantasy, it also appears that had McCain somehow managed to avoid or overcome the total dishonesty of the Bush campaign and managed to wrest the nomination in 2000, what would the result have been back then?

Ignoring the reality that Gore actually won that race, we can conclude that Mccain's apparent conscious-less pandering in this campaign suggested how a McCain presidential campaign in 2000 would have required the same pandering to the only political coalition that made the 2000 election winnable for Republicans.

McCain would have needed the same kind of sleazy partisan help. This political sleaziness constitutes the "same old same old" that politicians of my generation have been enmeshed in for years. Only the most naive of my generation would insist that the pre-2002 government more dominated by Democrats was entirely ethically clean and free from corruption at the highest levels.

Republicans?

Having finally achieved their Viagra dream in the nineties with a majority status in Congress and with a haste borne of poor assumptions, elected Republicans rushed to the pork troughs and the lobbyist all-you-can-take buffet like seagulls to popcorn on the beach.

They commenced their own version of "back-room deal making" with an abandon that revealed a civic immaturity embarrassing to any politician still able to include ethics with responsibility.

Led by the likes of Tom Delay Republicans behaved like junior high students acting out their own limited perceptions of how the government of Democrats must have included widespread corruption, graft and opportunity. These apparently were perceived then as entitlements/spoils of Republican victories laid out like an all-you-can eat buffet.

It also reveals the shallow understanding of the consequences of dishonest Rovian-style Limbaugh-publicized political discourse based on lies, distortions and hate.

The truth is that even in their most shameful moments of public stewardship, the Democratic Party - over all those pre-1990's years of majority status - suffered much fewer embarrassments of civic failure and criminal conduct than Republicans have managed to accomplish in their few years of recent Republican control.

These national Republicans were sustained and elected by their respective state party organizations all coached and controlled by national RNC schemers.

Many of the newly elected arrived in D.C. either riding the coattails of the Bush victories based on deception and dirty tricks, or heavily subsidized by the likes of Tom Delay (who then installed the lock-step device in their greed-motivated brains.)

That's the legacy of Republican experience.

It is this "same old same old" working environment from which and in which both Hillary and McCain kept their campaign context.

As much as I initially supported Hillary I felt then and still feel that this was the ultimate weakness of Hillary's tactic of trumpeting her experience. It was an unconscious admission on her part that business-as-usual is the only method of governing Hillary knows.

The same is true for McCain, but it involved a more gruesome and shameful truth with the Republican Party,

It's the Fear-Mongering, Stupid!

McCain now has those discredited Republican minions and Bushco's economic management to thank for having had to to limit himself to a Johnny One-Note campaign focused on many things that ran counter to his strongest marketable assets. The desperation of the party overrode the utilization of a more effective presidential campaign tactic which - more than any campaign failing based on an unfettered decision my McCain himself - remains the reason for the breadth of McCain's loss and the current pitiful Republican minority in Congress.

McCain's primary selling point boiled down to the fact that he used to be in the military, that he has a Patton-like understanding of what it means to be a commander-in-chief who presides over a nation of quivering cowards created by irresponsible and dishonest fear-mongering.

... that he used to be a prisoner of war and therefore has an ex-prisoner's perspective against torture.

Most Americans understand that opposition to torture is an American Core Value. This ideal campaign tool was now been over-0rused and squandered by the expediencies of McCain's candidacy and poor advice from those advisers closest to him.

In addition, the choice of Palin - admit it or not - was an absolute betrayal and personal insult to every currently serving soldier and military veteran in this country. That includes those soldiers and veterans who are totally active and immersed in fundamentalist evangelical religions toward whom the shallow Republican tactic was targeted.

Problem is McCain had to appeal to the same "conservative" Republican constituencies that have always been very volatile, rigid and inconsistently unreliable supporters and would have remained so in the overall administration his presidency.

That of course would be business as usual for Republicans and their con of social conservative voters..

McCain's "same old same old" then would have been worse than Hillary's.

But Hillary also had the 8-year reputation of an ex-president husband who seems to have squandered much of his own good will and popularity with his campaign behavior who didn't seem to understand the need to speak to Obama's generation and the younger generations rather than campaign solely to those who voted for him in 92 and 96. He did not know when to speak up and when to shut up.

Hillary also - when her experience was hi-lighted - included an unsuccessful attempt to reform health care 16 years ago that collided headlong with lobbyist and Republican business-as-usual.

Including this experience, Hillary this season proposed that she had learned how to fight dirty - but made no mention of asking citizens to help her achieve her goals without having to fight dirty.

She did not seem to be mostly interested in merely sweeping out what's under the rug to make room for more under-the-rug stuff rather than taking out the rug, leaving bare floors with much more stuff visible in the house..

We boomers born in the late 40's and the 50's have had our chance with Clinton and most recently, Barbara Bush's Doofus. That means we muffed it when we had our last chance.

The generations to whom Obama appeals OWN the future and have more of a right to it than we do. These are the generations who got out TO vote, got out THE vote and outnumber us older folks by tens of millions. These are those who did not want or need our generation's permission or approval to become politically and civic-ally active.

The foolish attempts by Hillary and McCain to cut Obama off at the knees by denigrating hope was also a hype of diminished expectations. That was the effect when McCain and Hillary - with apparent personal arrogance - ignored the need to talk to voters about acting like genuine town hall citizens who must think for themselves. Obama is pressing voters toward hope, faith and civic participation. McCain and Hillary merely said, "Trust me. I'll do your thinking for you."

You could make the case that failure to insist that post-election citizens take action caused experience-touting candidates to mimic other failures: historical leaders around the globe who've pretended to be father, mother or parent of an entire nation.

... leaders who promised to protect citizens and fix everything needing fixing without citizen help. Few of them are remembered as benevolent successes and most presided over failure and disaster.

We know that these "when I'm President I will ..." promises were not intended to rule out or exclude citizen participation. However in talking in this manner, Hillary and McCain failed to communicate any expectation or demand of understanding and ownership of personal actions by voters.

Business as usual means that most of the country then is purposefully left out of the action - which is what the Republican Doofus adminstration of 2000-2008 was been all about.

Obama knows that. He is speaking to the generations that will call the shots.

America's core values are founded on hopes and expectations; attitudes that sustain or contrast actual reality. It's a reality that may reveal the yet-to-be-corrected or something-needs-to-be-done issues that constitute life in this country.

That's why they are "core" values.

It is hope, courage and willingness to tinker with problems.

It's in the attempt to change coupled with the will to focus on equality and national security that might generate laudable civic successes.

The founding fathers were not primarily warrior-veterans in their 50's and 60's who served their country based on military experience and age. The wisdom of the Constitution did not come about because 100 folks my age put the distillation of their life's experience into the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

That some of those Fathers were folks my age is true. But that the majority were of my age group is not true.

They were closer to the age of the President-electo.

However all of the founders, regardless of age, were significantly united in one of the most important attributes demanded of leaders ... courage.

We olders owe America's youngers a greater demonstration of patriotism and the taking of responsibility for our own governance beyond cowardly pretending that experience matters more than courage.

We need to demonstrate a belief and will to look for and support change when change is necessary.

We must recognize that Hillary's failure to appeal to the majority generational activism of her own party could not be explained away or ignored by an appeal to our fears of another "My Pet Goat president" if that moment tragically returns.

McCain's inability to unite his party demonstrates a dangerous lack of leadership communication skills - or too much subordination to his parties foolish strategy of desperation.

The greatest gift we can give our children and grand children is not our fear, not our timid caution in the face of all the "what might be's" offered up by aging politicians who needed us to be fearful so they could take care of us while the took power.

The greatest gift we can and should pass on to the generations that already own and deserve to run the future is strongly epitomized by Mr. Murrow of my parent's generation.

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men."

That thinking is what made a generation get remembered as the greatest generation.

Comments

SpottingTrends said…
Thought-provoking post and blog. Relevant to your comments is the fact that many experts have argued that Obama is a member of Generation Jones…the heretofore lost generation between the Boomers and Xers, now 42-54 years old.

I've noticed that there’s been quite a bit of buzz about GenJones in the context of this election; I saw several discussions on national TV about Obama being a Joneser, as well as about GenJones voters being a key swing vote.

You may find this link interesting, my friends and I have been linking people to this page because we think it matters: it has a bunch of print excerpts and videos of big time publications (e.g. The New York Times, Newsweek, etc.) and pundits (e.g. David Brooks, Clarence Page, etc.) all talking about Obama’s identity as part of Generation Jones: http://www.generationjones.com/2008election.html