The words of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech still echo forth today for those Americans who are willing to listen:
“… Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty …“
Beautiful stuff without a doubt. But is it still true? The ‘Greatest Generation’, Kennedy’s generation, the generation that suffered the deprivations of the Great Depression, fought on the front lines against fascism during WWII and pioneered the Civil Rights movement is approaching their century mark and has nearly if not quite entirely departed the national stage alltogether. How well have their Boomer and X’er heirs honored their legacy?
A Generation of Swine
Not too well at all it seems, if you’ve been monitoring the latest dustups about the deficit reduction commission. Though I wouldn’t blame you at all if you haven’t; by and large it’s been more of the same from Republican’ts. Just one long litany of proposed hatchet jobs, both to vital programs that support the working class and retirees and slash the tax load of the mega-rich. They’re currently using refusing to renew unemployment benefits and threatening to make regular Americans work an extra 5 years in order to pay for yet another handout to their wealthy patrons. Despite a roll call of high-profile economic experts and even business moguls warning against the damage that Republican policies will do to our national infrastructure, the middle class and the economy in general, the Right Wingers seem just about Hell-bent on the “Roadmap to America’s Ruin.”
Wisconsin’s own homegrown homunculus, Paul Ryan, will become House budget chief in January, which should be a profound shock to anyone with a working appreciation for morality or intelligence. Having thoroughly shit all over himself by begging for an $800 + billion bailout for his patrons, the atavistic bankster failures AIG and JP Morgan Chase, he not only had the cojones to run interference to prevent attempts to check their excesses, but now he claims the mantles of down-home populism and economic savvy. Oh yeah, and he’s trying to repeal the law that allows parents to insure their college-age children and keeps insurance companies from denying coverage at will. Just one more chapter in the life of an American ‘patriot’.
Seriously, though, Paulie’s list of failures must loom large in the annals of the history of those of us born in the late ’60s through the early ’80s. Most social historians call these folks “Generation X“. But Hunter S. Thompson, perhaps my favorite American writer of all times had a much more descriptive and apropos name for us, the “Generation of Swine“, reflecting the utter moral and intellectual pollution of a generation, raised to be Reaganauts with the crude lack of self-awareness that is pleased to call cutthroat robbery “magic of the free markets.”
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