Haven’t we had enough with Angry Boomers? Time for Gen X to Lead!

Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) are rather famous for their outspoken and contreversial manner. In their youth they expressed a great deal of anger at “The Man” (aka their GI Generation parents) and used that anger to stop the Vietnam War and break down the shallow society that surrounded them. Even as a Gen X’er (born 1961-1981) I have respect and admiration for the changes that they instigated (I am not really a fan of the idealized American Dream) but times have changed, and I wonder if Boomers are ready to adapt.

I came upon a site that was truly troubling: “Angriest Generation” which has a call to action for the Baby Boomers to “Get Angry”. The author is looking for stories about what angers Boomers and why we need to listen to them rage about it. My response: sorry Boomers, you had your chance at protest, and now it is time to grow up and help the younger generations put this society back together. Enough of the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” already. If Boomers really want to be productive, they should follow the advice of Neil Howe and William Strausss from their book “The Fourth Turning“:

The continued maturation of Boomers is vital for the Crisis to end in triumph. These one-time worshipers of youth must relinquish it entirely before they can demand from Millennials the civic virtue they themselves did not display during the Awakening.”

[See Howe and Strauss’ full script for Boomers]

So we don’t need anymore anger or outrage from Boomers, we need forbearance and wisdom. If you are a Boomer and you are ready to put your idealistic rhertoric aside, we need you in leadership. But if not, then it is time to let Generation X lead the way. In fact, an article from the Harvard Business Review Blogs a few days ago, makes this point very well:

Why Generation X Has the Leaders We Need Now

We already have a Gen X’er in the White House. Time for other Gen X’ers to step up and heed the call of pragmatic leadership at all levels. And Boomers we need your help! Just don’t think we are going to be interested in hearing what you are angry about, or that it will help solve the monumental problems our world is facing today.

5 thoughts on “Haven’t we had enough with Angry Boomers? Time for Gen X to Lead!”

  1. Amen, brotha! Geez……………………..It's getting old!

    Have you heard anything from Guy? He keeps asking for feeds, which I know you've sent him.

    1. @Jen – I have not heard from Guy. I did not send the feeds to him, but rather put them up on my blog (I think you RT'd that post). I can't find Guy's replies to you (must be too old). Can you send him a direct message? He seems to respond to you…

      Dave

  2. I think that the Boomers who protested against an immoral war in the 60s did show civic virtue. Civic Virtue shouldn't mean going along with whatever the government tells you.

    That said, I am sick and tired of the self-righteous moral hypocrisy of many older Boomers who have grown to push for harsher drug war sentencing and the 21plus drinking age even though they where able to drink in their youth.

  3. Howe & Strauss? You must be joking. It is more theme oriented journalism with lots of citations, interviews and “factoids”. Not even close to any real in depth analysis. And the authors’ essential conceptual model and conclusions are problematic. It seems to me that the whole “generational” model is an artificial (and, at worst, stereotype-driven) way to break people into easily-labeled groups. In fact, I think things are a lot more complex than the authors seem to believe.

    Prospective readers should also be aware of the background of these authors. Although they are referred to in various reviews as “historians”, their backgrounds are closer to what might be termed “Republican policy wonks”, who now run a consulting business based on identifying and advising on generational trends. If one has read their other books or heard them speak, one becomes aware of their antagonism to cultural trends. Their whole concept of “generations” such as “Xers and Boomers” is largely a marketing and pop culture phenomenon that frequently “fits” the way a horroscope does. Make a few suggestions, present some “proof” and voila, an instant read on history and the future. Their books and their generational divides in general are mostly unsubstantiated, unscientific hooey.

  4. Howe & Strauss? You must be joking. It is more theme oriented journalism with lots of citations, interviews and factoids. Not even close to any real in depth analysis. And the authors essential conceptual model and conclusions are problematic. It seems to me that the whole generational model is an artificial (and, at worst, stereotype-driven) way to break people into easily-labeled groups. In fact, I think things are a lot more complex than the authors seem to believe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *