There is a supposedly derisive phrase being bandied about these days about people of my generation. The phrase is “OK Boomer.” The phrase seems to have been growing in popularity among young people on social media for months. The first time I encountered it was in a news article about a young New Zealand lawmaker heckled by an older member of Parliament. She responded to his interruptions with, “OK Boomer” and it worked. She did not invent the phrase, it had been appearing on social media for some months already.
I found myself not having any emotional response to the phrase. Well, maybe I did, but it certainly was not one of anger. I think I may have actually smiled because for some time now, I have felt the same way. What has happened to the moral compass of my generation? The generation of “free love,” Woodstock, Viet Nam protests, and Civil Rights activism. Did the social commentators and the media get that all wrong? Were we closet conservatives all along?
Boomers are from the generation of good wages, high employment, extensive employer provided medical coverage, pensions, inexpensive college degrees, travel opportunities, Medicare in retirement. Why have so many of us become devoted capitalists? Why have we been the primary electors of representatives who have diminished the strength of unions, passed tax cuts for the wealthy, forgiven unscrupulous industries, reduced the availability of medical coverage, cast doubt on the validity of climate change, questioned the value of immigrants, politicized the Supreme Court, and sought to restrict the voting rights of minorities. Is it any wonder that younger generations are raising their voices about Boomers continuing to live in the sunlight, leaving them in the shadows. We have had our day, and most of us don’t fully understand or agree with what is occurring now. Do the younger generations have it all right? Probably not, but we didn’t either. OK Boomers, it is time for us step up to help younger generations get what we had, or to get what they believe they now need.
— Bryon Ennis