August 16, 2010
2010 Politics and the Cult of MeBy Jeremy Meister
The "Me Generation" was cute until it got in charge.
The "Greatest Generation" came home from fighting and suffering in World War 2 and gave birth to the "Baby Boom." Like most children, these "Boomers" rebelled against their parents' values, like honor, duty, and sacrifice. It was the '60s, and the old fuddy-duddy ways of doing things were frowned upon by the new generation. The "Boomers" were going to have a good time regardless of the consequences.
If the Greatest Generation made a mistake, it was that they loved their children too much. They would always be there for their kids -- didn't matter if it was paying for a broken window from a sandlot baseball game or bailing them out when they were caught posting graffiti. Thus, they taught their kids that responsibility was someone else's problem. And it began to show in every aspect of American life.
STD rates began to skyrocket. Illegal drugs became a growing problem. Crime rates spiked. Throughout all of this, the Boomers always looked to mommy and daddy at home -- for money, for food, for a place to sleep, for whatever they needed. Of course, publicly, the Boomers mocked their parents. Many feminists took great advantage of mommy always being home even as they decried the evil of common housewives.
As the '70s began, Boomers began moving out the house. The "Me Generation" had come of age. And it was all about "Me." Clubs glorifying sex with strangers become common. "Everything is curable with a shot," smirked clubgoers. There were no aftereffects of a hookup. Divorce rates went up. "I deserve to be happy" became the battle cry of divorcees everywhere. No longer did people even bother trying to take the time to find a mate whom they could live with. Careers began to take priority over kids. "Latchkey" children became common. Daycare began cropping up everywhere. The kids would just have to understand.
As Boomers grew across the decades, their attitudes didn't. They didn't save money and bought everything on credit with no care as to how it would be paid off. Their momentary happiness trumped all. It truly was all about "Me."
It is this self-centered attitude that is causing a lot of our political problems in 2010. The self-serving Boomers now control the halls of power at the federal level. It's not hard to spot their Cult of Me attitude everywhere. Why should abortion be legal? Because "it's a woman's right to choose" -- as if a woman's decision impacts no one else.
The greatest value has gone from doing the right thing to doing the thing that feels right. The greatest crime one can now do is standing in the way of someone else's happiness. Thus, the tax cheat Tim Geithner deserves his job enforcing our tax laws. Roman Polanski's alleged drugging and raping of a young girl is just fine. John Kerry thinks nothing of parking his yacht in low tax zones even as he votes for tax hikes. Only the evil condemn such things.
It reminds one of spoiled teenagers. Politicians don't even bother reading legislation anymore. But isn't that their job? They also spend trillions with no thought or consideration to how it will be paid for. It's simply someone else's problem.
No cost is too high for the Cult of Self. It's easy to do when it's not your stuff you're throwing away. Notice these high priests won't give up their own precious things. Well-defined ideas like honor and duty are being replaced with vague phrases like "social justice" and "fairness."
Then the Rulers want praise from the people whose property and freedom they have destroyed.
This is what most of the stimulus spending fight is over: In the time of a depression, government employees think they should be exempt from pay cuts. And the public is supposed to be happy that government employees get to keep their high salaries and generous pensions. The attitude is also reflected in the First Lady's Spanish vacation. She's spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a pleasure trip -- even with her husband at home lecturing citizens about cutting back.
The Cult of Me comes up in other places, too. The Ground Zero mosque isn't about peace and tolerance. It's about making liberal leaders feel good about themselves. The war in Afghanistan is devolving in to a mission about salving the guilt of the ruling class, who feel bad about fighting wars. The whole plan for the redistribution of wealth at home and abroad is all about warm fuzzies. And the list goes on and on and on.
But there probably is no place in American politics where the Cult of Me is playing out more than with the Gay Rights Movement. California's Prop 8 was thrown out last week by a judge with a political agenda. His verdict (note that the judge in the case is gay) was more about self-gratification than it was about the law. Most (if not all) judges and politicians swear an oath to uphold and execute the laws to the best of their ability. This one didn't even try. Who cares if his decision tears a hole in our legal system? He's going to get what he wants. Anything short of being happy for him is frowned upon as criminal.
Or take the case of Bradley Manning, who works for the U.S. military. He's been charged with providing secret documents to the Wikileaks website. The articles included U.S. military operations, Afghan fighters working with U.S. forces, and local spies. Why did he do it? He was angry about U.S. military policy on gays, and this was his protest -- with no regard to the lives his actions would put in jeopardy. The Cult of Me strikes again.
Irresponsible self-gratification left unchecked always leads to destruction. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to be an adult and clean up the mess. Hopefully those people show up while there is still something worth saving.
Jeremy Meister works in radio and film in the Midwest. He can be reached at Meister@windstream.net.