I’m not much of one for politics, elections, who-is-our-savior/who-is-the-devil stuff. I’ve tried. It’s just isn’t my thing. What does fascinate me is cycles, generations and cultural movements deep underneath what manifests and is given heed.
I will offer to anyone who whines about how the economy/ unemployment/ jobs creation/ budget woes etc were terrible under Obama’s administration, get over it. He didn’t create the problems. He can’t fix them back to the level they were at. And no one can. I’m not advocating that he’s been the Best of the Best president, but …
What I do understand is that we are in Society’s Winter (a 20ish-year period starting around 2006ish). We are in a Fourth Turning. I understand that Winter — just like in nature — is the time of contraction; it’s when things not hardy die; when there is less external activity; when there is little to harvest; and when resources and stores of wealth need to be watched and distributed with a different eye and a perspective that stems from the understanding that some seemingly harsh decisions will need to be made so that the majority of the tribe will survive til Spring (starting around 2025ish) when fecundity, new energy, and genuine hope for a bright future will once again uplift Society.
I do believe that President Obama is the best leader for the times — even in his foibles and stumbles. He’s a GenXer, born in 1961 the first year of the GenX gen (1961-1981). And I believe that both parties, come 2016, better have GenX candidates primed and ready for the campaign. As with all generations and all cycles, each generation in midlife (42-63 years of age) has the understanding of the times and the skill sets to lead in that era.
Unfortunately, President Obama will have a very hard time doing what GenXers do best (getting to the root of the structural problem and fixing it). He needs for the Boomers to move into their rightful and appropriate role as our Society’s elders. And in doing so, for them to have their “Ah-hah” moment, first in small clumpings, then as a national calling and a moral rectitude few in their generation will rally against.
What is this “ah-hah moment” you might wonder?
The Boomer “ah-hah moment” is to recognize that they are now the senior generation. (Yes, there are still millions of Silent Gen living, but it is the Boomers that are redefining what it is to be Society’s Elders.) And in recognizing that they are the senior generation, their mortality and legacy will start to hound them with a piercing that they had not previously understood. In that hounding, they will realize that they are unwilling as a generation to leave to the Millennials (never mind the GenXers; they neither need nor expect governmental help) the burdensome debt of caring for them. Nor will Boomers accept a legacy that provides little economic hope for their beloved Millennials (a gen born 1982-2004ish).
And what will the Boomers do?
They will do what no government can do without their collective permission (nay, leadership!) as a generation. They will begin to redefine what is due to them. They will begin to extoll the virtues of wisdom that can only be imparted by elders and a life lived morally and well. They will begin to decry and call wrong the folly of science and medicine to thwart their Makers’ Will by trying to extend life beyond what is natural and spiritually right. They will redefine what they expect in the form of medical care and Medicaid, transforming the conversation from the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in healthcare to save but a life to a conversation around meditation, reflective prayer, and maybe how organic carrot soup with a wee bit of ginger will help with their bodies’ circulation so that they can better sit in their meditative and prayerful poses.
They will demand the right to a natural death … and government support for their yoga instruction at their holistic retreat centers while they come to terms with their diabetes, their Reiki sessions versus chemotherapy, and acupuncture treatments along with physical therapy and drugs post-stroke. They will demand of their well-to-do generational brethren that they opt out of Social Security and other benefits. And they will do what no politician or political party can do: they will change the conversation around “entitlements” by putting their own needs front and center in the conversation and doing the thing their generation will yet learn how to do: COMPROMISE.
But they have to get there themselves. As a generation that is now 69 on the top end (born 1943-1960), the Boomers (the Prophet generation in generational theory) don’t know is that their archetype’s greatest contribution to Society comes not in their youth and their Peace, Love and Rock-n-Roll days, but in their elderhood, when they are known in each generational cycle as The Grey Wolves, able to take their role as elder statesmen (and -women) in a time of Crisis.
Calling it: Boomers will move from their current reputation of fueling a Red State/Blue State nation divided over arguments stemming from their young adulthood values wars into a mature generation that will call ONE PATH the right path forward. And that path will have much to do with making sure that Millennials have the chance for a future. While I could be wrong, I would say the area of entitlements is the area where this generation can — and most likely will — leave much of its legacy.
Time will tell.
And, um, there isn’t much time left.