There is absolutely no question that the country and the world would be better off right now if Hillary Clinton had been elected, but would the country be better off five or ten years from now? Was Susan Sarandon right when she said that Trump would galvanize the country such that we’d see more change and so we were better off with him than with Hillary? 

The real question is how long-lasting Trump’s damage is likely to be. How quickly can we reverse what Congress is doing? What will continuing to have a Supreme Court minority cost us? I can't answer those questions. Maybe you can. 

We may be better off for a very odd reason. How many of you have read Strauss and Howe’s Generations? I don’t mean the later book that Bannon loves, I mean the original. They posited that American history has four kinds of generations that show up in sequence, each trying to correct what they view as the excesses of the last and creating their own new problems in the process that the next generation wants to correct. One of those generations sometimes skips, depending on the timing of crises. They take this analysis all the way back to the 1600’s and the pattern fits over that long a period. By the way, the term Greatest Generation comes from Strauss and Howe, as does Gen-X and I think Millenials. 

I don’t have a copy handy and there are details I don’t remember, but I think I can give you enough. The generation that sometimes skips is the kind that the Greatest is. The previous generation like that fought the American Revolution but was skipped in the era of the Civil War because of the timing of that crisis. So, depending on which crisis developed when, the Millenials would either be like the Greatest or like the generation that follows them, the Silents. Incidentally, the Greatest and the Boomers are dominant generations - more tends to happen when they’re active. The Silents have produced no American Presidents. The two most major leaders from that generation were MLK and Bobby Kennedy, killed within two months of each other. That generation produced a lot of people who spoke to the Boomers, like Bob Dylan.

It’s hard to know exactly where the shift is. My wife is a professor and her primary area of expertise is student development theory. She says that when they got to the boundary between Gen-X students and Millenials it was like flipping a switch. The main difference was relationship with their parents. Gen-X is the least sheltered kind of generation, latchkey kids, lots of movies in the theaters about demonic babies and children. When the Millenials were little, you saw Baby On Board signs on cars, and when they got to college, we suddenly saw Helicopter Parents, parents heavily involved in their students’ lives. And it didn’t happen gradually: One year there were none and the next it was a common phenomenon. Boom. 

The time is about right for another shift coming of age. It may have happened already or it may not have. The other day I read someone call the next generation the Centennials. I don’t know if that name will stick. Who are they? We may have just been given a clue. Who do the Parkland kids remind you of? 

I don't know to what extent Hillary would have provoked this coming generation, but there's no question about Trump. Maui Surfer has been talking a lot about activist kids, like he feels a kinship to them. 

There may be a very good reason for that. And, if so, it may be in time for us to reverse what has happened to our country. It will be a bumpy ride, but it has to be. 

Quality time with your grandchildren at the barricades. 

Views: 382

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on February 20, 2018 at 9:26am

Only those w means and a remarkable sense of selfishness, such as Ms Sarandon, could dream of dismissing the least among us and their inevitable degrading and harm under a Trump administration could have the gall to say what she said, believe what she believed/es abt the overall societal benefit of a rump win. 

Only Trumps's Russia involvement will/may bring him down, not any combination of churlish personal behavior or policy positions...unless one thinks that he's doomed by definition if he runs again AND that all this harm has been and will be worth it when we consider women, lgbt, workers, the poor and otherwise marginalised.

This is not too far from the wholly immoral positions among far too many Orthodox rabbis who explain away 2,000,000 child-murders betw 1939 and 1945  had to be, given the attributes of the traditional Jewish God, a positive Good.


This general way of thinking is at best perverse.

Comment by alsoknownas on February 20, 2018 at 9:40am

Endorsing JW.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on February 20, 2018 at 10:13am


Comment by greenheron on February 20, 2018 at 10:22am

What your wife may also report is that this generation suffers the highest level of depression I’ve seen since 1985 when I began teaching. An avg 3-4 students in every class have accommodation letters for anxiety disorders, depression, and learning disabilities. Two this semester, two last semester, one successful, have attempted suicide. I carry a box of Kleenex to every class and there’s another in my office, because I’ve never seen so much in class crying, and it’s not because I’m harsh.

As a state employee, I’m prohibited from talking about politics, yet when I ask students how they are doing, their response is fear for their future. They fear that nothing will change, while at their age, we had hope that everything would. Even so, they are politically active. They are aware, in touch. Like we knew who Nixon’s associates were way before we could legally drink, they know the characters in the present White House. It’s in their art. Even though I avoid his voice and his pictures, ironically, I have to look at more images of Trump every day than I might on the WaPo cover.

Trump will be over soon, regardless of Mueller findings, his self-destructiveness, or simply, death. The present crop of youngs will be here for decades. They have my complete faith and trust. I said this elsewhere here the other day and was corrected for my naïveté I guess it was, but now you’re getting to see the same picture, and it’s beautiful, is it not?

Have to head into work now and look at more Trump paintings, urp. Someone’s got to do it and I'm proud to serve :)

Comment by Phyllis on February 20, 2018 at 11:03am

Change is inevitable, and this period that we are going through was inevitable from start to finish. It's been coming for years! As long as I've known all of you there has been angst in your posts regarding the direction of the U.S. and the world. The dumbing down of the population, the increase in mental disorders (probably from not allowing the kids to excel as they were born to do), and the unmitigated greed that sets our policy. (It's not just the politicians and rich folks, either, it's the people who elect them because they just KNOW that they'll hit the lottery some day and need all those protections to keep their theoretical money safe.)

We had a chance to make change easy by electing Bernie. Yes, Congress would have fought him but he would have fought right back! HIS Executive Orders would have been building a structure to protect people and to give us a chance to reach our real potential. Congress would have had to justify any law they passed to undo his good. Instead we went the hard way and gave the populace a choice between a rock and a hard place. Whether or not things would be "better" with Hillary would be a matter of degree after the DNC went full on hard core big money during the campaign.

We are going to change. That is the end of that discussion. Unfortunately we chose the breech birth method of achieving it. Trump is our Nero, we'll have to see what history does with his record.

P.S. If you are interested, astrology is all over this, too. The U.S. is approaching its Pluto return. Give it a Google, it's pretty interesting.

Comment by Maui Surfer on February 20, 2018 at 11:24am

Generation Z! They even have a cool name. Surfing is one of the few multi-generational sports where you participate together, and, afterwards before and during, socialize together. I can tell you one thing that hits me, my native language, Hawaiian Creole English, is evaporating. They are on the phone all the time with people all over the world, and they hear native English speakers on YouTube and Instagram constantly, and, because they are developing, they assimilate. It used to be new arrivals to the Islands could barely get by communicating, not so anymore, these kids sound like they are from at the very least LA and maybe Kansas City. They are all one, a wireless web holds them together, they know the news before me, I hate learning stuff on Facebook and love Meet The Press, so, they actually know it before me, the political junkie does. The world is shrinking, to the point that that even the Asian employees I work with on Skype and Slack no longer have strong English accents, for the same reason ... and none of them want to shoot each other up!

I'll take our Pluto return over the Saturn return every time!

Comment by Ron Powell on February 20, 2018 at 11:50am

"On March 23, 1971, a proposal to lower the voting age to 18 years was adopted by both houses of Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The amendment became part of the Constitution on July 1, 1971, three months and eight days after the amendment was submitted to the states for ratification, making this amendment the quickest to be ratified." -----Wikipedia

The kids that made this happen couldn't vote either.

Perhaps there's an irresistible similarity between kids dying in Vietnam and kids dying in classrooms that will give this "children's movement" the traction and momentum it needs going forward.

Comment by Anna Herrington on February 20, 2018 at 1:38pm

There have been many discussions among people I know about whether we'd be like frogs sitting stupefied in an ever hotter pot of water if Hillary had made to the Oval Office rather than the shaking off of apathy that has begun to be quite visible in this era of Trump.....

easy to dismiss while looking in certain areas, easy to ponder in others.

We are where we are.

...and Bob Marley's Redemption Song lyrics keep ringing on a loop in my ears....

(as they have for decades, frankly, but ever louder).

Comment by Anna Herrington on February 20, 2018 at 1:40pm

...and really great comment, P.

(...although Caligula does come to mind...).

Comment by Boanerges on February 20, 2018 at 1:56pm

"Quality time with your grandchildren at the barricades."

That is why I posted the song "Shape of Things to Come" on someone's blog the other day. I fear my intent may have been misinterpreted. The song was from the movie "Wild in the Streets" (1968), which some of us of a certain age might remember. It's about the younger generation more or less forcibly taking over and chucking the reactionaries out on their fat asses. I am all for that, and yes, would man a barricade -- even though I'm a fatass these days myself. It wouldn't be the first time I've helped fight this battle over the years.


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