Aging hipsters


There are a lot of Boomers. They say around 78 million. With those kind of numbers, that we would agree on much of anything is next to an impossibility. From our politics to our religious convictions, from our hobbies to our voting preferences, we are a diverse group of rebels. We get some hints along the way as to how aging hipsters might think and view the world, giving us a glimpse into how things might unfold in the future.

This election year we have shown some of our old spunk. The election stirred some of that old sixties rebelliousness we still hide in our collective psyche. After electing two consecutive baby boomers, as different as night and day, we have moved on. Backwards is not a direction most of us hold very dear to our hearts. McCain, at age 71, is not one of us, and his campaign smacked of racial overtones, attempting to scare white people into voting against a black man. He clearly underestimated our potential and inclination to go after youth, energy, and differentness rather than experience, tradition, and the status quo. After all, Obama is one of us. At age 47, he is a late baby boomer, having been born in 1961. He is the third consecutive boomer to take office.

Sure, there are red and blue boomers. We've all taken our issues and resolve to stand by them, come hell or high water. Some of us think stem-cell research is necessary and good, others believe it is immoral and bad science. Some like guns and nuclear weapons, other of us prefer plowshares and negotiation. Some would drink beer with Bush, others prefer cheeseburgers with Clinton. We are pro-choice and anti-choice; pro-war and anti-war; evangelical and humanistic; right-wing and left-wing; homosexual and homophobic. Some support creationism, while others prefer to read the biblical stories as mythology. And yes, there are boomers who would still chose a President by his/her color or sex. Thankfully, most of us would not. One thing is for sure, we are not to be defined easily.

But this election pushed us to our limits. We are products of the sixties. We challenged the status quo and define ourselves as a peace loving and equality seeking generation. McCain and Palin challenged our resolve. Make no mistake, boomers were the largest voting block to go to the polls. Of course, we were also the largest voting block in the two previous Presidential elections. We seem to find our way only when the going gets tough. Maybe the same will hold true with the economy, our insatiable appetite for oil, ending an illegal and immoral war, producing food to eat rather than corn for gas, saving animals and redwoods from extinction, choosing national public radio over corporate psycho-babble, locally grown over foreign produced. Maybe one day we'll run the fear mongers like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter off the air, replacing them with rock and roll. Maybe one day we won't care if same sex couples get married, or a lesbian couple raises a child. Maybe we'll quit killing people in the name of peace, be willing to talk to our enemies, and embrace diversity rather than whiteness. Maybe health-care will be seen as a right, not a commodity, and a decent paying job will be created for anyone willing to work. I once included on my list of maybes and hopes that a minority person or female would one day be elected President of the United States, if for no other reason than to show the world we are more than a bunch of white, male, Christians colluding in the back room to rule the world. It was said to be impossible, an unrealistic dream of an unrealistic dreamer. Well, welcome to aging hipsterdom. This is only the beginning. Aging hipsters will unite to carry out our destiny. We still have a chance to change the world. Hopefully it will end up, like we hoped in the beginning, to be for the better.