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Mark Goulston, M.D.

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The Looming Gen X Global Revolution of 2020

Posted: 08/29/11 03:29 PM ET

inspired by "All Together Now," NY Times column by Thomas Friedman

If you thought the emperor had no clothes, check out the Baby Boomers

When you read Friedman's column above about the institutions of various countries, continents and cultures of the world, it appears that they are breaking down as the younger generations globally are seeing what others have and how others live and how they could have and live the same.

Friedman doesn't say it explicitly, but if you read between his lines and then look around you at the different generations, you will see that a revolution is brewing. But it is not brewing between democratic and totalitarian regimes. It is between generations. In America, the Greatest Generation that fought in WWII will be mostly gone by 2020 and may they go and rest in peace for what they fought and sacrificed so that succeeding generations could prosper.

By 2020 the Baby Boomer generation will reveal much of what they're about and what makes the Generation X'ers so angry. Just as the "Emperor has no clothes," more and more the Boomers will be revealed to be very self-concerned, desperately grasping on to power for as long as they can (isn't that what we've seen in fallen tyrants in the Arab world), feeling entitled to have a comfortable and subsidized retirement (when they have made the financial prospects for Gen X'ers and Millennials incredibly challenging).

Much of what you see in the pathetic "zero sum," constituents be damned, wrangling in Congress is a great example of how little it appears that Boomer aged officials care about their responsibilities to the people they represent vs. their own personal and partisan issues.

I think a terrific analogy is when you see divorcing parents talking about their concern for their children, but who in their actions are much more consumed with fighting and retaliating against their about to be ex-spouse.

In the year 2020 the Gen X'ers will be coming into their power and judging from what I hear from them now, they are not going to be interested in or willing to give more to the Boomers who will be heading toward the final chapters in their lives, nor will they be interested in or willing to let the Millennial children of the Boomers off the hook when it comes to being accountable.

To the Gen X'ers, blaming, complaining, finger pointing, excuse making and especially feeling sorry for themselves by Boomers and Millennials are like "nails on a chalkboard" and Friedman hasn't said it explicitly, but has implied that Boomers and spoiled Millennials are on notice because of it.

The Greatest Generation may heed General MacArthur's words that, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." However the Baby Boomers who have had much more than their turn at the trough and desperately want to hang onto it (just look as some of our elder statemen who just can't say goodbye to the spotlight), may in all likelihood, "Not go gently into that good night, but rage against the dawn." If they try that, they might find themselves facing the same fate as the fallen and falling dictators around the world at the hands of the generations who follow them.

 
 
 

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