Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will the 60s Never End?

Matt Bai's piece on current political debates STILL being stuck in the 60s drives home one of my biggest irritants--that almost 50 years after they grew up, the 60s generation still dominates American political discourse. The article points out 2 issues of the last week--Rand Paul's waffling on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Richard Blumenthal exaggerating his service in Vietnam. It ignores the biggest manifestation of 60s politics today--the rhetoric, tactics, and cultural references of the Teabaggers, who see themselves as the conservative response to 1968.

I don't necessarily agree with lumping the Rand Paul issue with Blumenthal. Paul is of a younger generation and what he's talking about is current political policy. While it does reference a key law of the 60s, Paul is talking about the role of the government today and using 1964 as an example. But that's nitpicking.

My real issue with the 60s generation is summed up in one sentence:

It is your classic self-fulfilling prophecy: the more the ’60s generation dominates the political discourse, the less that discourse engages younger voters, and the longer the boomers hold sway over our politics. 

Yep. The Boomers have created considerable damage to American political life. That they continue to do so today (and realistically will for another 20 years) is outrageous. They will fight 1968 over and over again until the day they die. And by that time, how many people will be willing to engage in politics, turned off the poisonous rhetoric and rehashing of ancient issues?