August 28, 2016

Boomers vs. Millennials: Will We stay the Course or Change It?


The baby boomers had the best sex. They had the best drugs. And, goddamnit, they hold all the best jobs.

I suspect millennials are getting fed up with baby boomers pushing their weight around. First came Brexit, and now the impending U.S. Presidential election where neither candidate is millennial backed. But Trump? A millennial’s worst nightmare—and, unfortunately, one that may come true.

So, let me be clear. To effect the change needed to move our country towards a more mindful, conscious-driven society, millennials need to do one thing and one thing only: Vote. In big numbers. Vote as if your life depended on it.

I realize Bernie was your candidate, with millennials voting for him 4 to 1 over Clinton. But with Clinton you will at the very least get the ball rolling in the right direction. If Trump succeeds it’s a downhill slide of unprecedented proportions. With Trump at the helm the potential damage for future generations is unfathomable.

This election may be the most important election for the millennials, and here’s why.

We are witnessing an ideological clash between the baby boomers and millennials. With the onset of soldiers returning from World War II, the boomer generation was conceived. Thus creating a generation that many believed to be an era of opportunity, covering the span of years between 1946 and 1964.

This boom was the greatest demographic event to date in U.S. history. This is a generation with 77 million members that wrapped itself around a culture like no other generation before or since.

While the baby boomers reaped the rewards of the world they created, the generations that followed would reap its repercussions.

The new generation, the millennials or Generation Y, roughly spans the birthdates between early 1980s to the early  2000s, many reaching adulthood by 2000. Resentment of boomers spans successive generations. But millennials actually pack enough punch to change the course of history.

Baby boomers exert a disproportionate influence over the U.S. political process and are predicted to do so for at least the next 25 years.

It is difficult to simplify a generation that consists of almost 77 million strong. Therefore, one approach is to divide the diverse boomers into groups with different experiences that have shaped their attitudes and beliefs, thus the reason for Trump, Clinton, and Sanders supporters.

Until recently, boomers had more political clout than millennials just in sheer numbers. But in 2011, boomers and millennials were neck in neck in size. By 2030, the millennials will overtake the boomers; they will be 78 million strong to the boomers 56 million.

2030 is over a decade away, so much can happen, and will happen, within that span of time. Millennials, do you really want to allow things to go on as they are—or get worse? You have the numbers right now, if you turn out at the ballot box, you can create a nation that reflects back to you a nation of like-minded ideologies..

Even though the population numbers are currently neck and neck, in terms of voting, the millennial edge in numbers at the ballot box is not evident, in large part because many do not vote. Boomer seniors turn out at over 70 percent, while barely 40 percent of those under age 25 cast ballots.

However, the turn out for Bernie Sanders was unprecedented, which I believe is an indication that the millennial tide is turning.

Many millennials believe the “American Dream” is dead and that their parent’s generation are to blame. They see boomers as being poor stewards to Congress, Wall Street, the news media, the political arena, and to the overall poor health of our planet.

How are these opposing factions, boomers vs millennials, going to affect the political outcome come November?

Sadly, for the millennials, when it comes to the presidential candidates both are boomers who don’t share the same political ideology as your favorite, Bernie Sanders. Though a boomer himself, millennials backed Bernie Sanders because his ideology and belief systems were more progressive and aligned with the younger generation of today.

So, the question becomes, where do we go from here? Let’s take a look at the candidates and their traits.

Hillary Clinton personifies many female boomers, the ones seen as the most educated, powerful, accomplished, complex, outspoken and demanding women in history. As a Vietnam protester and feminist, Clinton also epitomizes the generation’s extreme shifts.

Clinton is also viewed as part of the boomer worldview which created all the things the millennial are wanting to change.

But if you look at her accomplishments regarding the issues, here is what you find.

She has been the strongest advocate of any political leader on women’s rights issues, as an early advocate for universal healthcare, she supports stricter gun control laws, has voted to combat global warming, fought to raise the minimum wage and was also involved in promoting peace and cease fires in troubled areas across the world. So when we look closely, we see that Hillary is on the right track and has the record to prove it.

On the flipside, Donald Trump represents boomer egocentrism in that he makes his own rules. He wants most to be powerful and admired. He’s materialistic, brash and overconfident—classic boomer traits, despite the popular image of boomers as being all about peace and love.

And, needless to say, all we have to go on with Trump is what he says, which has run the gamut from ludicrous to terrifying.


Here’s the caveat.

Trump also brings another element to the table that isn’t being talked about much, and may prove to be his golden ticket to the White House.

In this current election, Trump is rousing something up in the psyche of baby boomers. It’s like he is digging into their subconscious and stirring up memories of bygone years. The years when the world was far more manageable and naïve.

Donald Trump is gaining traction with those who share his child-like narcissism, or at the very least, a desire to hold on to a largely defunct worldview. Unfortunately, that would be more than just a few boomers.

The Greying Trumpets Effect.

Older boomers are particularly susceptible. They are as a whole, more conservative and less likely to jump on the millennial bandwagon. They prefer the world they’ve grown accustomed to but the world isn’t cooperating. Instead, it is changing so quickly that it is impossible to keep up, much less keep it the same.

Aging boomers are the engine behind the powerful rise of Donald Trump. Much has been said about Trump appealing to down-market boomers who feel they’ve been short-handed by their better educated, more liberal and oftentimes wealthier boomer counterparts.

But Trump is also appealing to the wealthier, older, conservative boomers who respond to the “Make America Great Again” diatribe, assuaging their desire to bring back the good old days; a nostalgic romanticism that’s unrealistic with the imminent changes on the horizon.

Today, according to Gallup, 44 percent of boomers consider themselves conservative, more than twice as many as who identify as liberal.

It’s estimated that there was an estimated 74.9 million boomers in 2015 but by midcentury, the boomer population will dwindle to just 16.6 million.

With the impending threat of the growing millennial population, it’s no wonder older generations may feel like their time is running out.

In other words, they are not digging it.

In earlier generations, while the world changed, it did so at a pace that was aligned with our own ability for adaptation. With growing technology, this is no longer the case. The Boomers are feeling the effects of an exponentially changing world, which has not happened in previous generations. The boomers are used to shaping the world, and are not going to hand over the reins without a baby boomer tantrum.

This is a generation that absolutely will not go quietly into that good night.

Boomers are becoming more and more uncomfortable with this new-fangled world. They are unable to keep up, the older they get the slower they are and the world just keeps getting more complex.

Because of this they (more so than any other generation), are experiencing their lack of relevance way before their time. They are beginning to feel it and they are not happy about it.

The boomers are a generation that got a lot of attention. Why?

Mainly, through sheer size. They can throw their hefty weight around and get what they want. They were the last of the big spenders, the deep pockets, the big mouths with an insatiable appetite for more stuff.

They were the huff and puff of our nation’s economy and many believe, to the detriment of our planet.

Yet somewhere along the way things changed so dramatically that the boomers were unable to “blow the house down.” In other words, they began to lose their monopolized grasp on our economy.

Millennials are frustrated.

With a penchant for new technology along with self-entitlement in a “selfie-driven” era, the millennials are hot on the heels of the boomers and not about to make any allowances for anyone or anything else. It is also understood that millennials are easily distracted, motivated and unmotivated, and able to move more freely from one job to the next, complementing the ever-shifting tech-driven world we see today.

Currently, the millennials are at the forefront of creating this new, never before seen economy that is rapidly replacing the industrial age; the world that boomers had become so comfortable and reliant upon is rapidly becoming obsolete.

With their heads spinning, the boomers looked around and said, “What the f#ck happened?!”

Everything changed on, what they perceived to be, their watch. Trump is offering them a false promise; he is offering up to them a world that largely doesn’t exist anymore and will most likely never exist again.

He’s promising them the world they grew up with, the familiar. Ultimately, he is promising them something he’ll never be able to deliver.

If Trump wins, and he might, just know millennials, that your time will come and you can take pleasure watching Trump fall from his gilded pedestal built upon the very backs of the people he wishes to keep out.

The people that clean his hotels, mow his golf courses, wash the dishes in his restaurants.

The poor and the middle class, who bear the brunt of his ungodly wealth. In other words, the majority of the people in our country.

But it might be too late.

So, millennials, you are at a most pivotal place in history. Will you sit around and bemoan the fact that both candidates are boomers that you didn’t back? Are you going to wait until 2030, when you have the majority vote?

Or, will you grab the reins and vote now to change the course of history. Will you begin the process of creating a nation that mirrors the eco-conscious and socially-aware ideology that you fervently embrace; a nation which reflects the desires of its citizenship—you and your future generations. You can pull a Brexit and exit from the political process or you can own it and change it.

The time is now. The choice is yours.



Author: Melanie Jackson

Image:  Brian Adcock—Author Owns

Editor: Travis May

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