Richard Nixon’s Revenge

It’s surely a gross oversimplification, but does anyone else see the aging shouters and angry protesters at the health care town hall forums this month as the logical extension and growth of the Baby Boom generation?

In the late Sixties and early Seventies, these were the protesters fighting against the Vietnam War (and their younger siblings in awe of them), dismissed as hippies while chanting down LBJ and especially Richard Nixon, sacred protector of the so-called Silent Majority.

Four decades later, the tables have turned. The Boomers are still shouting at a President, but it’s in a Bizarro world. Fuck giving peace a chance (and health care for everyone). Now, don’t touch what’s mine, and fuck you if you can’t afford what I’ve got. And, oh yeah, now I’m a member of the not-so-Silent Majority, becoming what I’ve beheld.

The Ghost of Richard Nixon surely must be smirking somewhere, seeing how the kids that burned him in effigy on college campuses grew up, got old, lost some hair but are still shouting at a President as if they simply needed something to shout about, dammit.

And, true, while it’s probable that many of these aging Boomers were unlikely the left-leaning marchers of 1969 (though some of them may possibly have been, changing their stripes as they got older), it’s almost like their right-wing generational cohorts have been waiting 40 years for their own chance to shout. It’s as if noisily protesting — correct or dead-wrong — is in their generational genes.

Whiskey Fire and Latchkey Man, reliable as ever, have great posts on the age politics at work in the health care debate.


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