Yes, I know that title makes little immediate sense. For a few of you, it’s an Easter hymn in Lent. For most of you, it’s that the primary process is nowhere near over. Given the closeness of the contest between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, there are many primary and caucus battles forthcoming. Not knowing until the convention appears increasingly likely. Nevertheless, there is a reason forthcoming.
My Democratic choice is clear: Barack Obama. His speeches are spectacular. His rallies continue to grow. Today, more than 18,000 packed Seattle’s Key Arena for Obama, with another 3,000 forced to wait outside. For him, people voluntarily make good music videos. His capacity to motivate is unmatched in this campaign. Senator Clinton lags behind. I could write about experience and intelligence, but those appear elsewhere. Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are both highly intelligent, highly accomplished people, though Obama went to Harvard Law School, while Clinton went to Yale.They both easily achieve the criteria for Congress. Their policy positions are similar. (I do have problems with many policies, which will wait for a general election comparison. Obama receives an advantage in my mind, but it wouldn’t override leadership issues.)
In this contest, there are sharp demographic divides. Blacks support Obama; Hispanics and Asians support Clinton. Females support Clinton more than males. Most importantly, and most interestingly, the generational divide is vast. The gap between Boomers and the younger generations, Gen X and Millenials, has been discussed for years. Now we have reached the key political juncture. When I see a Democratic op-ed, I look for the author’s age. People over 45 are more likely to support Clinton, while those younger tend to support Obama. The Courier-Journal this week published a representative piece. The mother, a female Clinton supporter, is 67; the daughter, a female Obama supporter, is 36.The daughter, Ms. Lorenza Munoz, writes a great statement:
To my mother, Clinton embodies all the struggles women in her generation have faced. Clinton’s intelligence, seasoned political skills and life experience as a wife, mother and career woman have convinced my mother that she is the better candidate. “I had hoped that you would want to help break that glass ceiling, if not for your generation then for your daughter’s,” she said to me the other day. “You are not giving a chance to a woman who has fought against men all her life.”
I admire Clinton; I do not see her as a fighter for the needs of today’s women. To me she inescapably represents the generation whose mantra was “We can have it all.”
That’s not true. We can’t raise kids, have a happy marriage and advance in a killer career at the same time. And I don’t understand why abortion has been the most important issue for feminist leaders of Clinton’s generation, while things like affordable, good-quality day care, equal pay, jobs that have flexible hours and real maternity-leave benefits were put on the back burner.
The Boomer world treated women very differently than the world of many Gen X adults, and almost all Millenials. In the world of current college students, females do better in education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Women continued to earn more degrees than men in academic year 2002–03, about 58 percent of all degrees. Women earned 60 percent of all associate’s degrees, 58 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, and 59 percent of all master’s degrees.” Thirty-five years ago, during the time of Boomer women, women received about 44 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. Back then, girls needed extra educational support; in the next generation, many places will need what this article from Time describes: affirmative action for boys.
At least in opportunity, my title makes sense. The Strife is largely over. An urban or suburban woman under 25 generally sees women doing better in school. She has plenty of opportunities for exercise and sport. She has few restrictions in clothing or sexuality; every pair of short shorts with a logo across the butt is evidence of personal freedom. She likely attends a college with more women than men.
Instead of barriers, she sees the resources of the world rapidly and wastefully disappearing. Almost all evidence points to increasing temperatures and weather variability; whether caused exclusively, primarily, or trivially by humans, the trends command attention. Gated “communities” with oversized houses are dominated by energy guzzling automobiles. Government dominated by Boomers engages in a massive monetary transfer away from Gen X and Millenials. Instead of program examples, I’ll talk about numbers. The US government has debt of roughly $9,200,000,000,000.00. There are a lot of zeroes in Nine Trillion Dollars. The debt growth pattern has not been linear. As shown on the blue chart below from this debt clock page, from the end of World War II to the early 1980s, the figures remained remarkably constant for nearly forty years when inflationary forces are taken into account. Then the Boomers entered politics. After 1983 however, with the notable exception of the Fiscal Years ending in September of 2000 and 2001, the trend has been upward even when inflation is taken into account. The numbers went from about 2 Trillion to 9 Trillion. That obligation is passed onto my generation, and the generation I teach.
The so-called stimulus package, which includes money for seniors that pay no taxes, will be funded by more government debt. The millennial female will get $600 in the summer. For that temporary benefit, which will cost money to print and mail, she’ll get much more than $600 to pay later. Effectively, the Clinton generation purchases their happiness from her. And me.
Is there any wonder people of my age don’t want a dynastic Boomer, warring against Strife already o’er, and stealing our resources to do so?