Op-Ed: OK, Boomers, it’s time to act for the common good

About 10,000 Americans turn 60 a day (that’s roughly the same number of Americans born every day), and each of us crossing that mark lives an additional 23 years and seven months. Will stay This is the Baby Boomer cohort, and with the older “silent generation”, we have 70% of the wealth in the country. We Vote – People aged 60 and over were almost 50% more likely to vote in 2020 than people aged 18 to 29. But we also watch television for about 5 hours in a day.

We can and should do more. The United States is facing divisive crises, and older Americans – veteran Americans – are indebted to themselves and their children and grandchildren for moving the country in a better direction. We are both over the age of 60, and we hope – we trust – that our partners who care about civil rights, economic justice and environmental conscience are ready to direct their life skills and resources towards the common good .

After all, in their first act, our group participated in or testified to profound political and cultural changes for the better: the civil rights movement, the campaign for women’s equality, and at large we have shaped or been shaped by – and benefited from – Campaign against the war in Vietnam. If you’re about 70 now, you were about 20 on the first Earth Day, which means there’s a pretty good chance you were on the road.

Of course, not every youth in those years could be called progressive. And among those who were, as our long second work progressed, the enthusiasm seemed to have faded. Perhaps we thought we’d actually solved these problems that engulfed us, or perhaps we treated ourselves more as consumers than citizens. Many of us did the “right” things—got jobs, had families—and with Reagan-era political change, it was easy to put our heads down, go to work, and be involved in our families and communities.

But we have now grown to use them in our later years with talent, knowledge and often money. Our children and grandchildren should help us focus on the fact that if we don’t take action now, we could leave the world a worse place than we found it to be.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that only age makes people conservative. Certainly the right-wing tries hard to make it look like this: The average age of Fox News viewers is 68. For example, the Koch Network and the American Petroleum Institute helped fund 60-plus Assn, which has opposed climate legislation and health care. Improvement. And whatever your politics, you might be showing a disturbing tendency toward the trafficking of the oblivious. So, okay, boomer.

Journalist Jill Filipovic explained in her book “Okay Boomer, Let’s Talk” that while people in our age group were good parents, our own children were “a nurturing base from which to grow” and encouraged them to “pursue their own.” Doing”. Passion,” we did not do enough for the society at large. Instead we voted for a tax cut.

Bruce Gibney put it this way in his book “A Generation of Sociopaths”: Boomers have “destroyed the sense of social cohesion, the sense of commitment to their fellow citizens. That ethos is gone. and has been replaced by the cult of individualism.”

The generalities are as vague as they illuminate: Women of color in the over 60 demographic have worked harder than anyone else to keep their sense of solidarity and optimism alive. But it can’t be denied that many of us who were born at the end of World War II could have gone to college and emerged with a little debt. If we weren’t redirected from the suburbs, we would have quickly landed on the great escalator of rising real estate values. We worked harder (probably too hard – work-life balance was never our specialty), but more work Need to do now.

Here’s an example: Perhaps in the lifetime of anyone over 60, no law has been as transformative as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It should be beyond painful for our comrades to see it destroyed in the face of new voter suppression laws. We can help in that fight by joining current campaigns against voter suppression at the state and national levels, and share our long memories of voting at all times to help ensure that no one takes it lightly. by including.

Meanwhile, youth, including Greta Thunberg, have explicitly sought help to tackle the climate crisis. Here’s an option: Join the demonstrations on October 29, which will target fossil fuel industry funders, giant financial institutions like Chase and Citibank. Their executives may take particular note if the people whose retirement accounts fill their vaults cause it.

Leadership for progressive action comes mostly from youth – as in the Black Lives Matter and Sunrise movements. But older people can also be catalysts of profound change. Asking the youth to save the world on their own is not fair nor is it possible.

If 70 million of us who have crossed six decades join in, we have a chance. We’ve done it before.

Akaya Windwood is the lead advisor in the third act, a new effort to mobilize older Americans. Bill McKibben, founder of climate group 350.org, is a co-founder of Third Act.

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