A House Divided
By Larry Teren
I generally try to avoid any discussion of politics in this blog site. There are two things, however, that I noticed in the last couple of days that I cannot leave alone. One is a news analyst on election night using the expression “a house divided” and the other is an idiotic article written by a smug generation x-er on a left coast print media website.
I doubt if anyone of an older vintage is unfamiliar with the “house divided” allegory. I wonder, though, how many youngsters learn about the occasion that brought this phrase to fame. Abraham Lincoln spoke these words “a house divided against itself cannot stand” on June 16, 1858, a couple of years before he became president. At the time Abe was referring to the fact that half the country was pro-slavery and half against it. The analogy the news analyst was making for today is that this country is half liberal and half conservative, half Democrat, half Republican, half this, half that…..
This is something that cannot be denied. (It’s kind of ironic that the word denied is an anagram of indeed, yes?) Ever since the 1960’s when everyone was finally given equal rights and opportunity, it seems as if we have shifted to a situation where everyone feels they have the right to put their two cents in. There is no middle ground- either you are with me or against me. As a society we tend to be polarized so our leaders are as well. After all, they reflect us. That’s also why we have sports- you cannot sit on the sidelines and be indifferent. You have to pick a team and stick by them, win or lose- right?
But what exacerbates this for me personally and I am sure the majority of Baby Boomers is when an idiot writes a post blaming all Baby Boomers for what is wrong with America, politics included. I don’t blame all generation x-ers like the author of that post. I recognize that he lives in La-La land in Southern California. This is the place years ago that tried to convince the rest of Male America to wear purses tied around their waist. That lunacy lasted much less time than leisure suits.
This alleged journalist wrote an article trying to convince the rest of us that all Baby Boomers are selfish and trying to force our politics, social mores and economic philosophies on all of humanity, as if we all ascribed to the same ideologies.
Baby Boomers recall a 1968 movie titled “Wild in the Streets” where part of the premise was to throw everyone over thirty into jail. I suspect that the writer of the article would enjoy watching this movie. Supposedly the famous line “don’t trust anyone over thirty” is attributed to Jack Weinberg when he was at the University of California at Berkley. I had always thought it was one of the Chicago Seven gang. Maybe it is because Abbie Hoffman (of the Chicago Seven) famously said a decade and a half later in 1984 “don’t trust anyone under thirty”. I guess it is all about perspective.
Yes, we are a house divided- but shut the door when you leave. It’s cold outside.