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Baby boomer generation

By Jim Killebrew

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[March 31, 2014]  The "baby boomer" generation is the product of the "Greatest Generation." Once having put the world at peace after World War II, the Greatest Generation, as they have been called, set about building their families, neighborhoods and communities. They participated in one of the greatest growth spurts in American history. The military-industrial complex with its innovation for advancement in technology and commerce became only a byproduct of their efforts. The sweat-equity they poured into their jobs and careers built a foundation of solid economic efforts that allowed a young president in 1963 to declare the presence of a man on the moon by the end of that decade. Naturally that happened; theirs was a generation of accomplishment.

They did all of that and even more; they raised children called war-babies and baby boomers. They instilled in those pliable minds the love of freedom and national pride. They established a moral character of "middle-class" America that forged a strong bond with God and country that was reinforced with the likes of Billy Graham, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Maya Angelou, Ella Fitzgerald, Clarke Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Jordan and, yes, even Ronald Reagan.

Working during the week and making family trips to town on the weekends was a way of life. Eating out was a treat; buying a new or used car was the thrill of life. Entertainment included taking in a ballgame and watching the advent of a new thing called television, watching the first shows that had come from the radio to television with Jack Benny, Red Skelton, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and the Ozzie and Harriet show.

Many American dads and moms during those years participated in family worship on Sundays, ate meals with the family, bought groceries, paid bills and led the family in ordinary life. Dad, along with mom, was the leader of the family, and children, along with the grandparents, sat on the front porch in the cool of the evening to talk while the kids caught lightning bugs, roller-skated on the sidewalks or rode their bikes that dad and mom had given them for Christmas.

That was the generation of accomplishment. In the span of their lives they sat on buckboards pulled by horse or mule, ate food from an "ice box" cooled with a large block of ice delivered to their homes or picked up at the ice plant in town, drew their own water from a well outside or pumped it from a kitchen sink pump, received telegraphs in emergencies, rode the train, saw the first cars roll off Ford's assembly line, witnessed the first generation of airplane flights, but still managed to see in their lifetime John Glenn orbit the earth in near space and see Neal Armstrong walk on the moon.

The war babies and baby boomers have now grown up, having careers for themselves, raising their children and grandchildren. They have listened to the stories of their parents talking about the "Great Depression" and the war fought to eradicate the world of a madman. Many of the war babies and baby boomers knew exactly where the buck stopped in the White House, and even though they did not understand it, some of them, along with their parents liked Ike and practiced many times hiding under their desks at school to protect themselves against the "A-bomb" that could possibly drop from the sky at any time.

The "three R's" were a staple in school, along with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States being recited each and every morning as the first thing of the day. In most schools, this generation also publicly read the Bible in front of the class, listened to announcements over a centralized intercom system and studied American history to cement into their minds the foundation of America.

As time moved on, the baby boomer generation began to change.

By graduation time, this generation saw itself slipping into a war that quickly became unpopular, as if wars are ever popular. This one lacked the full-scale commitment from the American people as WWII had established. Vietnam was a far-away place where people were fighting for independence from a communist stronghold. Peoples in that region were mixed into different kinds of fighting groups, and it was unclear about who constituted the enemy. It seemed the United States government was tepid in their desire to actually win the war in Vietnam.

The war dragged on without a formal declaration, with definition changes ranging from "war effort" to "police action". The war moved from the commanders on the battlefield to the politicians in Washington. Coupled with the civil rights movement that sought equality for all Americans, the president waged "war" against poverty and fought battles for other social justice programs in a divisive stance with the more volatile war in Vietnam. With the country torn by war, civil unrest leading to riots and political campaigning, the president, Lyndon Johnson, chose not to seek another term in office.

Our generation was the last one who really touched the tentacles of an adversary with national identity and communist backing: Southeast Asia. The baby boomer generation was called one more time to serve in our national interest. Perhaps you experienced it much more closely than I by being in the middle of it. But even during that time, you could see the current and next generation losing its will to wage war. The president was at home declaring a "war on poverty" while at the same time not giving the troops the same support they had received during past presidents, like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. The left-wing liberals had already begun to take the constraining grasp on American individualism and greatness. Even Mr. Nixon crawled through a first term with minimal effort to "win" the war raging in Vietnam. It was not until his second term that he allowed the prevailing weakness at home to influence his will and give way to even what he had called the "domino effect." The generations that followed have been weaker by each year. With the exception of the Reagan administration years, the military was downsized essentially from that time forward.

After Mr. Nixon and the initiation of the "all volunteer" military, the generations following have consistently lost ground. All but the most patriotic have lost their way in a world of greed, corruption and political morass. The military was almost gutted during the Carter and Clinton administrations.

By the end of 1968, the country had lost important civil rights leaders through assassination like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and political figures like Robert Kennedy and had elected a different political party to the office of president of the United States: Richard Nixon. Promising to end the war, the new president lingered on for an entire term with Americans still dying in Vietnam. It was not until his second term President Nixon pulled American troops from Southeast Asia. The feared "domino theory" became a reality; Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam fell to the communists.

A blight of anger, indifference and downright hatred fell over the returning troops. Americans seemed to blame those who fought the war rather than the ones who politically controlled it. Soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines were even spat upon in some cases. They seemed to have to carry the burden of a nation who had rejected a war, but found no response from the politicians, so they heaped their scorn upon those who were visible as they returned and walked the gauntlets of Americans who were dissatisfied with the involvement and results.

As time passed, the baby boomers settled into corporate America and continued in their careers. The so-called silent majority seemed to turn their focus more on economics and politics than anything else. Greed was the new theme with Wall Street, fantasy and most of all everything mega. Career, education and commerce ruled the day. The baby boomers worked two jobs, secured higher education and had babies to create the next generation: Generation X.

War babies and baby boomers seemed to meld into the landscape as the political structure and leadership was passed on to the next generation. Many in the baby boomer group simply worked and raised families; they have buried their parents from the Greatest Generation and have been putting the finishing touches on their own retirement plans. But some cracks in their plans have emerged.

Baby boomers are set to retire over the next few years. After having paid into the Social Security system and Medicare for their entire working lives, they are being told the systems are unsustainable. They are being told the money they have paid from each of their paychecks even before they received them is a type of "welfare" or entitlement similar to the welfare benefits. They are being told that the "Trust Fund" has been used over the years and is now empty with not enough funding to provide what was promised. For years the politicians have talked about the "third rail" of government, meaning Social Security, and the need to make adjustments in the system. The baby boomers have watched and heeded the onslaught of the attacks on their future. Their medical care is in jeopardy; their retirement supplements are in jeopardy; their economic strength is being eroded by massive amounts of debt by out-of-control spending; the standing of America's strength in the world is in jeopardy; and the political structure of America's greatness is in jeopardy. But the baby boomer generation is being attacked from other fronts as well.

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Slowly through the years a new kind of war has been waged. The Middle East and Europe have both experienced that new war methodology more than the United States. Terrorism, a form of focused destruction and murder from radical groups, has emerged as the mode of choice from groups who see more industrialized countries as a threat to their culture.

Perhaps the most radicalized groups have come from the radical Jihadists that see the Westernized industrial, technological world as "infidels" and thus, an enemy that must be destroyed. It would be difficult to argue that Sept. 11, 2001, was an act of war with the attack of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Pentagon. The weapon of choice for that attack was hijacked planes taken by force by radical terrorists and used as weapons. But even prior to that time, the American people had become synthesized through the tenants of multiculturalism, educational restructuring and political left-wing liberalism that resulted in an array of political correctness that attacked traditional American values. Judeo-Christian values came under intense attack through a resurgence of atheism pushing social changes that over the years resulted in reduction of recognition of the Ten Commandments, prayer in schools, even substituting the word Christmas, and using instead the term holiday season.

Slowly through the past two decades, the sentiment has changed to a greater tolerance toward any value other than the Christian value. Efforts have intensified to completely separate Christianity from mainstream America to retreat behind church walls. People are being taught intolerance toward Christian values, but acceptance of other, more radical values. It is increasingly politically incorrect to speak openly of Christian virtues in schools, or anyplace where the words can be heard. People are "offended" by any use of Christian symbols or words. Through it all, there are many in the baby boomer generation who have remained quiet, fearing the condemnation of being identified as a "right-winged" Christian radical. I believe this is a mistake for our society.

I have said for awhile we have remained silent too long against speaking out against those who wish to kill us. Where are the women's groups in this country who fought for women's rights, but say absolutely nothing about the wholesale destruction of women in the Middle East under Sharia law? Men are allowed to beat women, own them as property, divorce them on a whim, marry them against their will as teenagers, and treat them as if they are less intelligent than men. They control the lives of women in every way; even as to how they dress or are seen in public. American women, even those who are ultra-liberal, travel to the Middle Eastern Islamic countries and wear the traditional dress to cover their faces and entire bodies. That is something they would never tolerate anywhere in the Western world. Yet here they are, never saying a word about the treatment of millions of women in the Islamic world. Where is the National Organization of Women? Where are the feminist groups who protest to ensure "women's rights" even to the degree of taking the life of an unborn child for any reason whatsoever? They are conspicuously silent when it comes to defending their counterparts in the Islamic world.

We have been brow-beaten into submission of silence on our university campuses where radicalized groups hold sway over the speech of others. We can celebrate the other world religious faiths but castigate Christianity by claiming "separation of church and state," thus shutting down the use of the Bible even as a historical book. We are held silent by the liberal press and "politically correct" crowd when we see with our very eyes the results of the radical terrorist violence and hear their vows to "kill the infidels." We see small children groped and touched through invasive searches at airports, and elderly women taken from their wheelchairs to be searched, but see clerics of other faiths, with their traditional dress hiding their body and head, prance by unhampered as they board the airplane. We don't want to be called "racist" or offend anyone by any hint of "profiling" anyone who meets the criteria of radicalism, so our backs are broken in several places by our self-imposed practice of bending over backward to spare their feelings.

Yes, our freedoms are vanishing before our very eyes. Our world seems to crumble as each day goes by as we submit further to the will of those who hate us. Our president bows a waist-deep bow to the leader of a country whose desire is to see us dead; we borrow vulgar amounts of money from a country like China whose communist goals have been to bury the Western way of life for the past century; we "save" vast amounts of oil, coal and shale reserves through political edict of embargo that results in our total dependence on foreign energy; and we face the prospect of losing our great country to the whims of a few political hacks whose goals seem to be our destruction.

But you know something, there is still hope.

Once again our hope lies in those of us who are older, wiser and continue to believe in the greatness of our country. Our fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, fought and supported the fight against tyranny from the socialists and Nazis during WWII. They fought against communism in Korea after the world was in flame from madmen; through perseverance and great personal loss, they won those wars. Later they also won the cold war when President Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom understood how to defeat the enemy by the careful rebuilding of our infrastructure and military, personal faith in God and resolve for freedom the world over. Even though faint-hearted, liberal people advised Mr. Reagan not to utter those words at the Wall in Germany. He knew what he was saying when he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." When that wall came down, so did the infrastructure of the USSR since it had only produced an empire of form instead of substance.

It seems our current administration has bent its knee to the Russian Bear once again. The leaders of Russia have once again cast their eyes toward Crimea and the Ukraine for annexation. The West is offering sanctions, but the Bear continues to cross borders to devour ethnic groups whose plans for freedom and democracy are being dashed. Even after a decade or more of fighting the terrorists in the Middle East, the current policies are leaving in their wake countries like Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq returning to the terrorist clans. Iran seems bent on developing the atomic weapons of war while Israel is left hanging in the wind.

There is one last chance: Millions in the "war baby" and "boomer" generations are going to have to carry the load again. We are going to have to look to the future into the next election cycle and make the right choices by working and voting to carry the day for America. Our tax codes are bloated, the regulations from commerce are debilitating, the debt is burdensome, and our philosophical and Christian values are tarnished. Our freedoms are being bled away by our own national agencies who spy on us, examine those on the political "enemy" lists, while national leaders tell total untruths and half-truths to congressional investigators. This younger generation has lost its way and has found the teat of the government handouts to sustain it until the next nanny comes along for it to latch onto. So we must buck up, go out there and do it again, looking backward to our forefathers, grandparents and parents, and our Christian heritage for motivation, but looking forward to our great losses as a nation if we don't stand up and do the right thing and muster the strength to overcome radical socialism once again to preserve our American dream for our children and grandchildren.


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