Obama and GenX politics

“Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what’s needed to be done. Today we are called once more–and it is time for our generation to answer that call,” declared Barack Obama, uttering the word “generation” no fewer than thirteen times in his speech announcing his intention to run for President.

This is from an article in the The Nation about Obama, the first GenX candidate for the presidency. It details how, despite the stereotypes foisted upon Generation X by asshole Boomers (mainly marketers and advertisers in order to fabtricate an easily definable so-called buying block, which of course didn’t pan out because GenX is not easily definable, which is why these same jag offs turned their attention back to their own now retiring minions and their frightening plastic, star-obsessed, technology-obsessed-to-the-point-of-zombification, incable-of-relfection, progenty, the Mellinials), we care, we’re active and involved, and in addition, some of us are pretty fucking pissed off at the havoc that two back–to-back Boomer’s in the White House have reaped on this country and the world. We’re sick of the self-indulgent, solopsistic, self-entitled bulshit politics of this self-entitled revolitonary generation.

Hey Booomers! You had your chance. Now get the hell out of the way because GenX is read to take the lead. And we will do it better, smarter, and with a hell of a lot more integrity.

Link to the full article:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071203/chaudhry

But here are some interesting quotes as well:

“In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation–a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago–played out on the national stage,” writes Obama [in his book The Audacity of Hope]

and

Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the ’60s. It makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done.”  [Barack Obam in an interview with Fox News (suck!)]

and

“We hear plenty about people in their teens and twenties, and even more about people in their fifties, but the stodgy old species known as the thirtysomething has been shuttled off, like Molly Ringwald herself, to some sort of Camp Limbo for demographic lepers,” fumes Details editor at large Jeff Gordinier in his upcoming book, X Saves the World. A recent Chicago Tribune article on Obama’s message of generational change focuses exclusively on 18- to 30-year-olds, discussing every other living generation in passing but with nary a mention of his own peers.

I suppose as GenXer I could be pissed at Obama for neglecting to mention his own generational cohort. But anyone who understands the X ethos knows that this does not matter. The attention is not what we care about. Boomers care about that, crave the spotlight. Xers toil away on the fringes, which is better because we can go undisturbered, allowing us to get shit done. It’s how we, along with many others, have helped to get Obama to this point. And we’ll keep on toiling  until that man has shut down Hilary and won the Democratic nomination and can enter the general election to take on Senator McCain.

To wit:

As Jerome Armstrong, founder of MyDD.com and best known as the Blogfather of the progressive netroots, says, “It’s people drawn from Generation X–the people who have gotten involved in politics this decade–who have brought about the whole new movement of progressive Democrats.”

And though Xers have been accused of apathy of every sort, especially the political variety, please consider this point:

Bill Clinton was at least partly responsible for the lack of political engagement that characterized the ’90s. His election in 1992, when he pulled in 52 percent of the under-25 vote, marked a hope-stirring thaw during a long winter of conservative dominance. Gordinier says Clinton was in many ways “our first political love who broke our hearts. We’ve never been able to trust any politician quite in that same way again.” The sense of betrayal combined with the ugly partisan politics of the era reinforced the sense of disillusionment. Gary Ruskin, who directed the Congressional Accountability Project at the time, told The Atlantic Monthly, “Republicans and Democrats have become one and the same–they are both corrupt at the core and behave like children who are more interested in fighting with each other than in getting anything accomplished.”

And as far as activism goes, well:

Third parties were no longer the answer–even though many X-ers had voted for Ralph Nader in the past–and X-ers had never embraced street protests like the boomers. So they turned to the medium most of them knew best: the Internet.

The point in this quote is particularly significant, I think. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been chastised either directly or indirectly by some fucking Boomer of the 60’s activist ilk on how me and my generation (X) have no senses of activism, no willingness to “take the streets and force change” blah blah blah. That’s right, we didn’t often take to the streets. But we are taking to the blog-o-sphere, and that is how in primary contest after pirmary contest, not to mention fund raising efforst we have helped Obama hand Hilary her ass. No small feat when you consider the size of the sucker! (Yeah. It was mean. And uncalled for. But I’m okay with that. It was funny. Only a self-important solopist that has undergone a humor-labotomy would think otherwise.)

Well, you get the point. And thanks if you actually bothered to read this far. Check out the article.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071203/chaudhry

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Obama and GenX politics

  1. Actually, since that Nation article appeared, there has been a growing consensus in the media that Obama is not a Gen Xer, but instead is a member of Generation Jones–the heretofore lost generation between the Boomers and Xers. Numerous major media outlets, including NBC, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, have argued that Obama, born in 1961, is specifically part of GenJones (born 1954-1965), which gives him a different worldview than Boomers and Xers.

  2. Well. This isn’t a really a new opinion. Also, I’m not really inclined to jump on the media consensus bandwagon. The “news” outlets mentioned don’t, even if the are “major,” have the last word on this matter.

    The fact is that being an Xer is an ethos that doesn’t necessarily have anything to with the year one is born. I’d refer to this quote in the article, regarding Obama:

    “The Audacity of Hope certainly hits all the same notes as many of his X-er peers: the journey from political alienation to commitment; an impatience with the ideological legacy of the ’60s; measured skepticism toward liberal verities; a push for a new paradigm for a new millennium. And he displays characteristic X-er impatience with the traditional left/right divide on policy matters. As Obama told a New Hampshire audience, “I’m a Democrat. I’m considered a progressive Democrat. But if a Republican or a conservative or a libertarian or a free-marketer has a better idea, I am happy to steal ideas from anybody, and in that sense I’m agnostic.”

    That speaks to the X ethos. Which is why Obama is an Xer. One can subdivide all one wants and make up all manner of new labels as a way to muddy the picture, but in the end the Gen X marker, for good or ill, is part of the popular venacular, and as Gordinier says in his book, X Saves the World, let’s leave it at that because it’s as good as anything else, and frankly it’s too late for a brand relaunch.

    Finally, the fact that Obama is not and can not be identified as a Boomer is more than enought to make him an Xer. Calll him what you want, the ethos is the same, the battle against Boomer’s is the same.

    Not to mention that next to no one is familiar with Generation Jones. I hadn’t heard it until just now. So it’s pretty much pointless. Obama is GenXer. Done deal.

    Zing!

    He shoots! He scores! And the crowd goes wild!

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