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Susan Rhea Headshot

Calling All Baby Boomers

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I am a baby boomer. At least that's what they say. I was born in 1955. The boom started after the war and supposedly went until 1959, so technically, I'm a boomer too. But I didn't feel like one growing up. Boomers were my older sister's age, born between 1945 and 1951. Kids who, if they were male, were drafted for the Vietnam war, and if not, male and female, were protesting that war. They were awesome, from the sidelines where I watched (I was still in junior high when all that was going on). They brought down the military industrial complex, they put the president in his place, they stopped U.S. engagement in a war. They did. They published Our Bodies, Our Selves, they established women's study programs in colleges, they chanted in New Age religions that touched their souls, they gave up privileged homes and lived in communes, they started local farms and rejected fast food -- 40 years ago! They almost elected a peacenik president... where would we be now if THAT had happened. I can only imagine.

Because where we are now as a nation is not where I thought we would be. We aren't where those rebels tried to lead. They didn't stop that war and invent new religion just to end up watching "The Simpsons," reading "Doonesbury," blogging on Facebook and soaking the next generation. I mean, really? Is that what the boomer generation is going to be remembered for? Just a single burst of youthful idealism, then a quick fade to the back?

What happened to those rebels? and I mean you. Where are you when your congressperson comes to town and doesn't hold a town meeting this summer? Where are you when s/he votes to let the NRA call the shots on sensible gun and ammunition control? Where are you when your representative starts caring a lot more about raising funds for the next election than working on legislation to protect working class wealth over investment class wealth? Where are you when your representative doesn't think every person in this country should have the right to decent medical care? Where are you when your representative doesn't agree with educated climate scientists about the negative effect of burning fossil fuels on OUR climate? Where are you when social justice is a fine idea, as long as it doesn't involve income redistribution, immigration reform or legalized marijuana? Where are you when personal responsibility doesn't include banking reform, farm subsidy reform, or corporate income tax reform? Where are you when public services decline because a holy few think any government is bad government?

I know, there are too many issues to count, too many to be involved in all of them. But where are the baby boomers? Where is that demographic bulge that danced to the coming of the Age of Aquarius? Where is that passion, that personal responsibility to think globally, act locally, that we-can-do-anything spirit? Did they beat us, after all? Did they drug us with that perfect combination of fat, sugar, and salt? Did they drug us with fake reality TV? Did they drug us with negative ads so we opt out of political involvement entirely?

Come on people between the ages of 68 and 54 - we are the biggest generation, and we have political power. It is time to remember the ideals of the hippie movement - we are in this TOGETHER, COMMUNITY what it's all about, money for money sake is EVIL, FLOWER POWER is a good thing. The Age of Aquarius is upon us. It is not dawning any more, it has risen. And you need to step up for the global good.