Although initially shocked at last Tuesday’s election results, upon further reflection I get it. Several factors were at work in getting Obama re-elected that were easy to overlook. And in my opinion, one factor was greater than any other and was brought on, sad to say, largely by my (baby boomer) generation.
During my late high school and early college years in the late 60’s and early 70’s, our generation was getting immersed in the “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll” culture. Of course, not all of us participated, and there was often a significant divide, both life-style and philosophy-wise between those who did and those who did not. The key point is that those who chose what was then the counter-culture (and in philosophy at least is now the prevailing culture) refused to acknowledge that there were consequences to their actions. Instead, they favored no-strings-attached sexual encounters; getting high on drugs to escape the humdrum realities of life; and tuning in to acid rock and later, heavy metal bands that promoted their lifestyles and philosophy.
So, how does this “no big deal” approach to life translate into voting tendencies? Well, let’s look at what people overlooked last Tuesday night as they cast their votes for four more years of Obama:
1. High and continuing unemployment—no big deal.
2. $16 trillion in national debt and trillion dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see—no big deal.
3. The fallout from the “Arab Spring,” as exemplified by the Americans killed in Benghazi, and the administration’s deceit-filled and incompetent handling of it—no big deal.
4. Lies and mega-lies about promises to reduce the deficit, protect the middle class from tax increases, protect your right to your doctor and medical plan under Obamacare—no big deal.
5. Real threats to shut down the coal industry and real actions to delay or curtail oil and gas drilling—no big deal.
My generation, I’m ashamed to say, started and accelerated this tendency to minimize the consequences of its actions. Succeeding generations have surely picked up on this. As a result, we have a nation of voters whose apathy combines with their ignorance to elect and re-elect a president without a single truly positive accomplishment (aside from bin Laden for which all he had to do was give the order). Unfortunately, those in my generation (and others) who have never grown up; never been honest with themselves or others; and never have accepted blame or responsibility, relate to a president who exhibits many of the same brazen characteristics. In short, they actually admire a liar, but only one who demands nothing (except votes) from them. Then in an added twist, they project their weakness onto a basically honest, decent man like Mitt Romney and see absolutely no double-standard or hypocrisy in doing so. This is because they can’t stand a guy like Romney who has been highly successful in life and wouldn’t dream of being irresponsible. And speaking of irresponsibility—what about the 3 million fewer Republican voters than in 2008 who chose to sit out the most critical election of their lifetimes? No excuse for that given what was at stake.
So it turns out we’ve been focused on the wrong things. Instead of obsessing about Obama’s true citizenship, his true feelings about Marxism versus capitalism, or his professed love of or real contempt for this country, we should have been understanding how he can so easily get away with lying—and still get re-elected.
Granted, there’s no easy solution to this problem. Those who insist that the Republican Party is outdated and must grow a bigger tent, miss the point of how much appeasement this will entail, given the left’s brazen attitude that it’s my way or the highway. Unfortunately, my generation and the vast cultural divide its self-centered attitudes have caused may have to pass away before any meaningful reforms can take place. That’s what this election has taught me.