Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Open Letter to the Baby Boomers

Much is being made of the Democratic nomination process between Senators Clinton and Obama as a battle between competing aggrieved groups (women vs. blacks). Given that much of the media is owned and operated by Baby Boomers, it stands to reason that many pundits would opine on the contest in terms of these kind of identity politics. Clearly Obama has been fighting to get out from under this kind of victimhood masquerading as empowerment, and that's why young people who've grown up in an integrated society where women are expected to occupy the workforce are flocking to him in droves. Clinton is fighting a battle that for Gen-Xers and Millennials has in many respects already been won, and they simply can't relate. And frankly, we've got bigger fish to fry.

Clinton has been trying her best to bring Obama into her frame, and the media has lately been playing along. On the gender card tip she's thrown Gloria Steinem and Erica Jong at him. Bill, Bob Johnson and
Geraldine Ferraro shuffled from the deck of race cards. And even she has joined the fray with her thinly veiled southern strategy-type pronouncements.

But yesterday Clinton made statements that did worse than wade in the gutter of gender victimizing, race baiting, divisive politics.
Comparisons, though sometimes inflammatory, can often be instructive in understanding the gravity of contemporary political realities. But Clinton - sans irony - compared the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida voters in the 2008 Democratic nomination contest with one of the major U.S. social movements of the 20th century, and in effect denigrated a core life changing juncture in her generation's coming of age in order to pander for votes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe anyone in Florida or Michigan was lynched, firebombed or disappeared in fighting for their right to the vote.

Clearly Clinton's moral relativism (read: lying) seems to mean nada to most white women Boomers who are after the crown, principles be damned. I have to wonder about other Boomers out there, though, like Glenn Loury who support her because it's their generation's "time". Does he still think its acceptable to support this candidate when she would willingly sell out one of their shared formative experiences? And does he and other thinking Boomers really think this kind of behavior would stop once the power was seized? I've got to ask: can you people come to your senses on this woman and these kind of tactics already? Or will this really require an actuarial solution to be rectified?

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