As of late if you look on Social Media there are a lot of “Gen-X’ers” claiming accolades, for lack of a better word, about how they raised themselves. Of which for the most part and for many of us was true. Gen-X is considered to be the generation born from 1965-1980, many of us were latch key kids, raised on television by navel gazing Boomers who barely paid attention to us if at all. We had to figure it out for ourselves and then face rebuke when we didn’t. When Ronald Reagan became President he destroyed many of the things that the Boomers enjoyed and that the Gen-X’ers would never experience. The right to Unionize, Arts in School, Affordable Housing, etc.
In my opinion as an X’er I feel that the Boomers held on for way too long, especially to the cultural artistic more’s that guided our society. The Rolling Stones kept milking The Rolling Stones and Paul McCarthy kept milking the Beatles sucking the collective creative air out of Rap and Grunge, still the X’ers pushed on. However some of us didn’t, some of us felt threatened by the Pearl Jam’s and the NWA’s and if we didn’t some of us would never have the two mixed in our CD collection. I did.
When Ronald Reagan became President and cut funding to the “arts”programs in public schools it ruined my life. However I’m also convinced that by doing so he and his administration inadvertently gave rise to Hip-Hop, again that’s for another post. Again for me personally it ruined my life, I knew that parents or guardians could make decisions that could change your life, be they arbitrary or not, at least they had, (the adults), had some personal knowledge about who and to whom those decisions were being directed towards.
Ronald Reagan didn’t give a fuck about me or my generation nor does the Republican Party as we know it today, care about Gen-X, and my fear is that we are just going to bend over and take it, with No Vaseline.
There are three things that can happen later in life when you were basically responsible for raising yourself, you crave authority, you rebel against it, or you just throw you hands up. According to recent articles that I’ve read many of my “White” Gen-X’ers are craving authority and are Trump supporters. Which makes sense, for the simple fact that so many grew up in homes where our fathers were absent, if not physically, then emotionally. Which meant we blamed ourselves, because our “Boomer”, parents where too narcissistic to teach us otherwise. So when you have “Daddy”, issues and someone acts protective and or pretends to know the way and defend you against “fears” you fall for it, especially if you are “White.” Then there’s the other side, the ones that just throw their hands up, the ones that believe that there’s nothing that they or anyone else can do about it. For the simple fact that they have experienced too many disappointments in their lifetime as adolescents and they just can’t believe in anything anymore. They tend to be Black.
Now do the lines cross these “racial” divides of course they do, but these are the two spectrums that worry me the most, especially at this moment and in this time. 9/11 was Gen-X’s great tragedy, sure we had the Challenger about a decade and a half before, but that was internal. The tragedy of 9/11 was external and it meant that we were not in complete control, and that we could be attacked at any moment. On some levels as Generation X, we had felt those feelings during the AIDS crisis, the Crack epidemic etc. Yes, we lost many but not all and some of us are still willing to put up a fight, well at least I hope we are.
If we allow the Republicans to gut Social Security, erode Medicare, raise the retirement age, destroy a woman’s right to choose in every state, then we as a Generation will carry our moniker to our grave and it will be indicative of our mark in this moment. X marks the spot. Now I am against comparing and contrasting trauma at any level, the experience of trauma is unique to the individual feelings as well as the generations that are going through it. In other words I can’t compare the trauma of “The Depression” to that of “The 60’s”. However I believe we are the last generation to create much of what our generation saw and did, an end to Apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the presidency of the first African-American president. However I also feel that many of us are exhausted. We’ve internalized more burdens than we were ever supposed to. We were a generation that had to raise ourselves, then raise our parents, then raise our own kids, and then continually try to raise the consciousness of America, as we take care of our parents into old age. I can understand why some of us are exhausted. And yes, that exhaustion could endear us too authoritarians because we are tired of being responsible and terrified at the same time. Or, we can just throw our hands up and do nothing but complain about our children’s generation, and their children’s generation and get lost in pronouns and the false claims of indoctrination. The truth does not indoctrinate, she liberates, and the truth is that the less we get hung up on labels the freer we will be as a society, again that is for another post. I give more credit to the Gen-X’ers that vote and participate than those that just throw their hands up. Yes even if they believe in Trumpism. Half of those that could vote in the last election didn’t, and I’m not sure how many of those were Gen-X’ers, but one is one too many. Those of us that are pessimistic, passive, cynical, and yes exhausted have to participate, this is our chance to save America and in turn the planet. Now I’m not a conspiracy hound, I think competence is over rated when it comes to the execution that lies there-in. In other words I think it takes too much, and too many people to execute some of the conspiracies that we’ve seen historically. Now with that said do I think that there is a conspiracy against Gen-X, No. However if someone broke it down for me methodically I would be able to open my mind. There has never been, as far as I know a study on the psych ops of a Generation, I volunteer Gen-X. Again I’m not comparing and contrasting but I believe that there has never been a generation prior that has been psychologically dissected, studied, and dare I say manipulated. This is what happens when you grow up in absence of the sacred, again for another post. Please don’t get me wrong are there well adjusted, “no matter what” Gen-X’ers out there absolutely, and if they fall on the left or right on the political spectrum I love them. They have found the balance, I believe in a world that is trying to tilt us all, away from our belief and our faith in ourselves.
So Dear Gen-X, please remember what it was like to look at the sky before you had an iphone. What it was like to go Burning Man or Joshua Tree before you had to post it and let everyone see. Or even WoodStock ’99, what an ash show that was. It doesn’t matter, Gen-X’ers are the last line of defense for the American Dream and we need more of you to step up, or just bend over and take it with no vaseline.