My mother, my sister, and I make up a boomer sandwich. Meaning, my mother is WWII Generation, my sister (16 years my senior) is Boomer Generation and I am Gen X.
My mother and I have our complaints about the Boomer Generation. For my mother, the Boomers were the ones telling her that she needed to have her consciousness raised and that she was wasting her life by being "just" a housewife. I have received my own share of comments about how the Boomers broke barriers for me and here I am, ungrateful and a waste of a college degree, staying home with my babies.
The more things change ...
The self-importance of Boomers is a bit grating for my parents. "Weren't we out there marching, too? In fact, weren't we the ones organizing the marches?" they might grumble. Except that they are WWII-Gen, and they generally don't take the time to grouse. I am interpreting their rolled-eyes.
As a Gen X, my rolled-eyes come from the idealistic weak memory of some Boomers. "Well, we've solved the other problems, I think we'll find a solution for the environment, too," one clueless Boomer friend recently said to me. No, she was not being facetious.
And hey, while I am grousing, thanks for inventing the 60-hour work week!
Of course the truth is, some of you Boomers did some amazing stuff. And really did change the world. Sarah Weddington, I give you my thanks. All the female UU ministers who got out there and showed congregations that having a female minister wasn't so wild and crazy. All those who actively worked for tolerance and inclusivity. The women who busted the doors down to the Boardroom.
But as a Gen Xer, I have had the feeling, "Okay, okay, you were wonderful, you changed the world ... can I please stop genuflecting now?"
The problem is, just as there genuinely are slacker Gen-Xers, there are genuinely Boomers filled with their own self-importance, convinced that their view is not just valid, but that it's RIGHT. Exclusively.
And that, I think, is why Obama's quotation had some many folks sitting up and taking notice:
"There's no doubt that we represent the kind of change Senator Clinton can't deliver on. And part of it's generational. Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the '60s. It makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done. And I think that's what people hunger for."
Depending on your birthdate-definition of the generations, Barack Obama could be characterized as either a Boomer or a Gen Xer. With this quote, he put himself firmly in the Gen X camp. And a lot of Gen Xers cheered.