BOSTON (CBS) – Many of the eulogies for the late President George H.W. Bush this week had a similar theme – honoring the man’s commitment to outreach across party and generational lines, extolling his willingness to sacrifice for others, as in the risky military duty he volunteered for, and praising his fundamental selflessness and compassion.
Too many commentators dwelled on the stylistic differences with our current president, not an unfair point to make, but one that didn’t seem in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. But very few observers that I heard picked up on what to me was a key takeaway from the Bush memorials – the stark contrast between Mr. Bush’s generation, and the baby boomers currently in power.
They didn’t nickname the boomers – born between 1945 and 1965 – the “me” generation for nothing. These are generalizations that obviously don’t apply to every baby boomer, but along with good things like industriousness and creativity, they are known for being self-centered, materialistic, and excessively judgmental of those they don’t agree with.
All those traits are on display right now in places like Wisconsin, where the Republican-controlled legislature has reacted to the election of a Democratic governor and attorney general by pulling a lame-duck power grab aimed at curbing the authority of the newly-elected officials and making it harder for Democrats to win again in the future. If and when boomer Democrats take over the State House, I bet they’ll return the favor.
This is no way to run a democracy. And I’m sure if George H.W. Bush were here to see it, he would be appalled.