It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And thinking about it, I find myself in a mood for Bob Seger’s darkest, most contemplative hit:
Members of my generation should know the feeling well.
The longer I live, the more Bob Seger strikes me as the bard for my generation.
We came to our majority full of ourselves, sure we needed nothing from anyone. We blithely dismissed the wisdom of our elders, certain that such stuffy self-restraint was unnecessary to us. We traversed the “Summer of Love,” with all its arrogant certainty about its convictions. We suffered the depredations of the sexual revolution and the drug culture, and emerged from them sadder but not necessarily wiser. We contracted unwise marriages and unwise debts, and paid for both. And we staggered, bloody but not quite unbowed, into the Eighties.
Things changed so radically that it left us gasping. Capitalism! How could we have failed to appreciate its opportunities? But we did, and the readjustment was barely short of traumatic. We adjusted to the 180-degree shift in perspective as best we could. Some of us prospered. Others found themselves relegated to careers in retail.
The world was turning beneath our feet. The changes were good ones, yet they chafed us. We’d been so certain our flower-children attitude was morally invulnerable. The problem was what it always has been: it only takes one dissenter to spoil the illusion.
Ronald Reagan appeared a hero-saint to some, but a devil to others. He’d brought down the system to which the great majority of us had subscribed as the inevitable course of the future, the proper destiny of Mankind. Some could not accept it. I knew some of that cohort. The survivors will still tell you today that socialism would work if only we were allowed to run it. A lot of them work in retail too.
The Nineties might have stung worse than they did, except that by then we expected that those who postured as “our leaders” would prove false. We still had hope. After all, they gave way to a new decade, a new century, a new millennium! But ejecting the Left in favor of the Establishment Right would prove no great improvement. Wars multiplied like maggots on a corpse.
The Naughties gave way to the Left’s next Anointed One: The Lightworker, the Magic Negro from Chicago. We hadn’t yet surrendered our hope, and here there seemed genuine change. But the Magic Negro was just one more arrogant, un-self-critical poseur. He proved incapable of admitting to error, and even less capable of gracefully retiring from the scene. He and his allegiants bent all their powers toward thwarting America’s choice of a captain who might, by dint of his Outsider status, succeed in righting the course of the ship of state.
Here we are in this year of Our Lord 2023: hagridden by a political Establishment that refuses to admit that its time has passed, suffering the presidency of a dementia patient behind whom the Deep State continues to milk America’s inheritance of freedom for every penny it can be forced to yield, uncertain whether the Pretender-in-Chief will precipitate the end of human civilization. The Republic we knew seems to have vanished. The malaise is deep. Many prepare, most elaborately, for the end of things as Americans have known them. And it might come to that yet.
Our numbers dwindle steadily as time and assorted maladies claim our lives. It’s no ultimate moment, for subsequent generations stand ready to take the helm and repeat all the mistakes we’ve lamented and, in many cases, repented. We cannot look ahead optimistically, but what does that matter? Soon enough we’ll no longer be around to do so.
But at least we’ve had Bob Seger.
May God bless and keep you all.