From middle school to my first year of college, President Reagan was in office and was pretty much a hero to me and my whole circle of friends. We were conservatives all the way. We even called ourselves the "Commie Chasers." We'd see through our teachers' attempts at indoctrination and call them out. My favorite example was my Advanced Global Studies teacher bringing out a huge bar graph that showed federal expenditures on public schools and defense. Of course the defense bar was DRASTICALLY higher than the education bar, as schools are mostly funded at state and local levels. She went on about how tragic it was that we were spending so much on missiles and bombers and so little on schools. (Maybe she wanted a raise? No, that would've been too capitalist for her.) So my friend Gary did a little research and made a graph of education spending at all levels of government compared to defense spending. When state and local budgeting was added to the graph, of course education now dwarfed defense. Teacher had to eat crow. During my college years, it was largely the same story. Even at a state university, liberal students were scarce and kept a pretty low profile. The school was full of Reaganites.
For many years since, I'd held to the notion that My Generation would make things right. I'd been confident that right about now, people about my age were quietly making their way through statehouses and mayor's offices, on their way to higher positions. People of my generation who were motivated my liberty and nationalism would be in places of influence, and we'd start to roll back the liberal nonsense foisted on us by the baby boomers.
I'm less confident now. I didn't see Obama's punch-drunk moment on 60 Minutes, but I've read some transcripts and I was really deflated by what I read. Don't get me wrong, I have no quarrel with the interviewer confronting Obama's indifference/casualness/whatever. He needs to be called out. But what bothers me is the realization that Obama is an early example of what we'll be seeing a lot more of. He is part of the Indulged Generation. It seems I was on the trailing edge of "normalcy" and those right behind me were the first to be the indulged in large numbers. You know, the ones who were never disciplined by their parents, or were raised by one frazzled parent who couldn't keep up. The ones who were praised in school for being mediocre. The ones who get trophies for every event they participated in, whether they won or came in last. The ones who could skip school, get high and go skateboarding all day without consequence. The ones who can't hold a job because no matter where they go "the boss is an idiot and I don't have to put up with that." The ones whose self-esteem must not be endangered for any reason. These are the ones who think they deserve everything for nothing. Obama is their prototype. He was raised in a permissive environment, praised and elevated by all, while accomplishing zilch. Grossly overconfident because he's been such a notable "success" at every previous endeavor, when difficulty arises he is unable to seriously consider the possibility that he may actually be wrong.
My generation, which I've had such hopes for, seems to have found a distaste for political service. We look at DC and want nothing to do with it. Sadly, that void is being filled by the coddled, the lazy, the adulation-seeker. Obama is a preview of the kinds of people that our society has produced in great numbers. Statesmen need not apply.