Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Note From Gen X to the Millenials

Dear Young Compatriots,

How I envy you. When I was in college, my comrades and I took to the barricades for Michael Dukakis. Ah, the heady days of youth. We were going to bring the Reagan Era to a screeching halt. Long story short, it did not turn out that way.

You, by contrast, have done what so many generations aspire to but few achieve. You have made revolution; you have made history! You more than any other part of our Republic brought about the presidency of Barack Obama. Bravo! On behalf of the nation I extend you thanks!

Since then you may have heard a lot of whingeing (mainly on the part of Baby Boomers) that Barack Obama is a big disappointment, that he has fallen short of expectations. Don't believe it! In my entire life before 2009 I was witness to a single piece of landmark, progressive social legislation- the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 (during the Nixon presidency). The excitement of that moment was lost on me at the time- I was three years old. The next 39 years were rather surreal, watching a government that seemed incapable of doing ANYTHING.

Against that backdrop, the last two years have been a shock. To see our government do so much- avert a depression, rescue the auto industry, make ground-breaking investments in new energy, pass historic legislation for health care reform, re-regulate the financial sector, and transform the student loan process- is almost too much to take in. It is like watching a corpse suddenly get up off the pavement and breakdance.

Now, however, conventional wisdom expects our Lazarus government to go back to sleep. On election day, so goes this view, the GOP will take the House, and gridlock will return. The next two years will be a carnival of subpoenas and investigations. The nation will be turned from questions like health care and clean energy to the problem of whether Barack Obama has a birth certificate.

On this score I envy you all over again, because you are going to turn conventional wisdom on its ear! All of the prognostications of imminent doom are based on statistical models that calibrate for "likely voters," and in all of those models you are not "likely voters!" The statisticians (and the GOP candidates measuring the drapes for their new offices) are all counting on you to stay home. Ha! Contemplating the surprise you have in store for them makes me laugh. When you actually show up to vote every playbook will have to be rewritten, every political assumption will have to be reassessed. You will have made revolution twice in as many years. Lucky bastards. Green with envy as I am, I extend you thanks again, in advance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And bravo to you!!