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.