Derek Hunter

People have been saying the country is “going to hell in a handbasket” for decades. It’s sort of a rite of passage for every current generation to look at the next one and think it will screw up things so badly everything will be ruined. But the handbasket this current generation is creating may well be the one that sinks us.

Every generation is the product of the previous one – its culture, morals, priorities, everything. In the 20th century, that meant passing on a work ethic, the importance of family and the American Dream that each generation will do better than the last. That optimism hit a wall with the baby boomers.

Baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, are the current leaders and, as such, set the tone for what comes next. The example they’ve set as the “me generation” planted the seeds for what we’re seeing now in the news, and those images do not bode well for the future.

Baby boomers pioneered the “if it feels good do it” mentality prevalent in the ‘60s and ‘70s – sex, drugs and rock and roll; a lifestyle that lived for the “now,” future be damned. They seemed to lack an appreciation for consequences; the hangover never sets in if you don’t stop drinking.

But the bills will come due; the piper must be paid.

Baby boomers are the credit card generation, living on money borrowed – taken, actually – from their children and grandchildren. They’re also the generation that placed emphasis on self-esteem above all.

High schools and colleges across the country have, and are, graduating little monsters who’ve never heard the word “no,” who’ve been told they’re never wrong and every choice is equally valid. These kids don’t have parents, they have “best friends.”

Parents aren’t solely responsible for this, although they are individually responsible for their own children. The culture they created, accept and celebrate is the main culprit.

We once celebrated success. Now, we simply elevate being. We once shunned certain behaviors; now, they are the yellow brick road to the future.

Andy Warhol famously said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes," and he was nearly right. Nearly because “famous” is no longer a result of actions; it’s the goal. Celebrity is heroin, and we have a generation entering adulthood as addicted as any junkie.


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.