Land of the Oppressed, Home of the Handout
These days, one often hears derogatory comments about "Baby Boomers." Mostly they are pegged as being whiney, self-absorbed individuals who tend toward complaining about every little thing. Pundits who label my generation in this way need to investigate the past before drawing ignorant conclusions. Our generation was launched on the tail end of WWII, while our families were still suffering the effects of the Great Depression.
Today, if we appear discontented, it is only because we know that our freedoms are being furtively withdrawn with each new bill that passes through the halls of Congress. These new laws undermine our ability to create and prosper. They are not properly vetted by constituents -- indeed, they are passed according to one-party politics. Citizens must wait until a bill is passed to know the content; meanwhile, our freedoms are being abrogated by a bloated one-sided government.
In the 1950s, we Boomers had a great deal more freedom than we are afforded today, even though we lived on less and enjoyed fewer luxuries.
Today, the "lefties" are steering our society toward "blue-sky" programs with no realistic vision for the future. They advocate bottle-feeding the "downtrodden," subjugating them with their liberal mindset, making promises they cannot fulfill. These spuriously oppressed parasites have become a whole new class, encouraged by our government to sit back and take it easy.
The Boomer generation has made one serious mistake: some have coddled their children and grandchildren to the point where their young people believe they are entitled to the very best without the effort required to attain success. Too many kids have been given anything they desired, thereby diminishing the value of whatever was received.
My parents were wiser. By the time I was seventeen, I was required to find part-time work after school, as were many of my peers. In the summers, if nothing else was available, we did the work of field hands. I picked strawberries and topped brussel sprouts. Later, I switched to retail and office work.
Personally, I will always extend my hand to those who are truly in need. However, I expect the able-bodied to stop making excuses, pull up their bootstraps, and march forward on their own two feet -- not on the backs and accomplishments of others -- even if it means taking a job they believe is beneath their dignity or expertise. We all must start somewhere.
Our current soft-headed entitlement society has stifled and discouraged an authentic work ethic. They believe in a "level playing field" where successful working people should share equally with their lazier counterparts. Those who subscribe to this ideology are the ones I see as selfish whiners and cowards. We live in a relatively free society where anything is possible -- so what's the problem?
Taking from the rich to give to the poor is an unfortunate and antiquated model, a throwback to medieval feudalistic societies. Today, where everyone if given plenty of opportunity, it is nothing more than class warfare. Your God-given gifts, if used intelligently, will provide what is needed to survive and prosper. Remember the old proverb: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."
Growing up in the 1950s, we had less than what we have now, but it was enough. Today, incomes from that era would be considered below the poverty level. Our parents wanted more, so they worked hard. Talents were shared throughout extended family and community. Sharing did not mean a handout. It meant a temporary leg up, which you were expected to repay by helping one another and providing sweat equity to the community.
My parents' take-home pay was $180.00 a month. We had enough to eat, and a few small but cherished luxuries. As they did better, things improved all around. They budgeted to buy a house in 1952, and my mother didn't work outside the home. They purchased only what they could afford. They used lay-away plans, green stamps, and other methods to stretch their income and stay out of debt.
Unlike today, the 1950s family placed more importance on the family itself than on earning a big income. Children were not raised by "the nanny." My mother didn't go to work until I was in college. She put aside her personal fulfillment until she had raised her kids. As an octogenarian, she still claims that her best accomplishment was raising honest, ethical, and industrious children. Together, my parents both worked hard and prospered. They gave us a better life than what they had. Best of all, they gave us the tools to take care of ourselves.
Fast-forward to the 1970s -- when my husband and I started out, he was making around $1,000 a month. I was making roughly a third of that. Before our second year of marriage, we bought our first home. We used our talents to make a good life, while giving back to our community.
Long ago, we foresaw the current financial storm, never expecting Social Security checks at retirement. Now the government is threatening burdensome taxes on what we have saved, forcing us to stand against our leaders who would make this the land of the oppressed and the home of the handout.
Recently, I spoke to an Eastern European immigrant who told me that she doesn't think capitalism works. Ironically, she works in the American banking industry. How does she think she acquired the opportunity for self-determination? Her family spent years under communist regimes, as she watched her relatives, friends, and countrymen slaughtered over religion. They were spied upon and suppressed. Now she is critical of the way our democracy works? These people come to us not fully understanding American history, the Constitution, and why it was framed the way it is. And now, apparently, neither do some of our younger native-born citizens.
In the 1820s, our country was infused with the spirit of Manifest Destiny. Many of our ancestors settled the American West, where, essentially, there was no government. They trusted in God, settled the land, birthed broods of children, and made a good life. They had the opportunity to develop their society without the roving eye of a government agent. They helped one another, and no one was left behind.
Boomers just have longer memories and more experience than those who would call us whiners. James Madison was an intellectual and wise leader, the U.S. Constitution his brainchild. He framed it with scholarly experience, encouraged by Thomas Jefferson, who provided him with books on world governments. God forbid we ever forget their dedication to our nation and hard-won freedom.