I am a “Baby Boomer”, and “Product of the Sixties”, which at my age makes me somewhat sad when I see what has been happening across America over these past two years.  I see our nation in search of new leadership, a younger generation attempting to correct the problems my generation created and finally and maybe most importantly, not being able to pass along to this new generation the advantages my mother and father gave me.

It is my belief we started out on the correct path of change in the 60’s; we wanted to stop the war in Vietnam, we volunteered for the Peace Corp., we supported a newly formed organization named Greenpeace we were against nuclear power and wanted to help the underprivileged not only in America, but throughout the world, we demonstrated for better government.

We lived in commutes, grew organic gardens and so on and so on; basically we were the “we” generation, if I was to provide a title for us.

Somewhere in the early 80’s someone coined the phrase “yuppie” and perhaps this was where our downfall began where we became the “me” generation and personal greed came about as the topic of the day.

Today, to my distain I see my generation has never left this “me” mentality; in the pensioners I meet and converse with it’s not “who I am”, instead it’s “who I am” and “what I have”, not “what I have contributed”

Surprisingly, these same people do not necessary talk about their children but more so about their ex-wives or ex-husbands and their kids are mentioned in an “also by the way” fashion.

I was once told “as you grow older, you become more conservative”, perhaps so, but for myself; I’m a liberal Democrat and what I feel most importantly “I’m still a product of the 60’s beliefs”.


All The Kids Who Survived The 50’s, 60’s And 70’s

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because of eating or drinking those things.


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day; and we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computer! s, no Internet or chat rooms…….


And when we didn’t we went outside to find new friends!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


An article which I feel is befitting to the times we live in:

Stephen H. Dinan: The Shift to Social Synergy
from by Stephen H. Dinan

Last week, I wrote about the emerging transpartisan movement and its importance in moving us beyond fractious politics. A similar theme threaded through my radio show yesterday with Gordon Davidson and Corinne McLaughlin on “Co-Creating the New World of Synthesis” (download here), who offered deep wisdom on how to collaborate from a place of synthesis.

The essence of each is the shift into social synergy, a term that futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard uses extensively in her work. “Syn” comes from the Latin root “together” and “ergy” is from the root for “work.” Social synergy is a way of designing our society such that we work more effectively and creatively together, from the grassroots to the highest echelons of power. This collaborative work can include service to those most in need, such as building homes for the poor, or the creation of strong businesses. Or it can reflect our highest aspirations as a people, such as creating parks, universities, and public art.

Work is an expression of our unique, creative gifts. It reflects our core purpose, both individually and culturally. Innovative business leader Chip Conley emphasizes that when any employee sees their work as part of a higher purpose, it makes it more meaningful, which translates into better results. This has even been true of frontline housekeepers at his hotels who, when asked to explore the question of the purpose of their work more deeply, might see themselves as “Moms away from home.” A clear higher purpose gives their work a deeper meaning, which makes them happier and more effective.

The current recession offers us a time to reorient our collective purpose to a higher level and shift into social synergy. Our purpose in the past largely revolved around individual success. Each of us sought to get a larger slice of the pie for ourselves and protect “our” interests. We glorified excess consumption, chased money and glamor, and sought leverage in the halls of elite power. This version of the American Dream didn’t allow for real social synergy because it was based on individual self-interest. It was not a shared purpose that we could work towards together.

The recession offers us the opportunity to strip away layers of falsehood and recreate our core beliefs as a society, as well as find bolder and more beautiful shared dreams. For example, what if we shared the dream that America becomes the most sustainable country in the world, leading the way on solutions to all our major environmental problems? What if we shared the dream that we help to broker peace on a planetary scale? What if we shared the dream of a strong economy that creates opportunity for all without damage to our environment?

These dreams require tremendous social synergy to accomplish. To solve major environmental problems requires robust entrepreneurship, individual discipline, conservation of resources, innovation, and the support of institutions such as churches, schools and businesses. It needs all political parties, and social groups to get on board. To succeed in such a shared purpose, we need the skills and talents of everyone, working together with as little friction as possible. Similarly, building a truly peaceful culture on a planetary scale requires that we learn how to collaborate effectively at home, turning our cities into oases of peace and training our children in conflict-resolution skills from their earliest days.

Rather than feel hopeless or simply “wait out” the recession, the call of this historical moment is to reinvent our society around the principle of social synergy at the deepest level of our national character. The first part of that shift is re-invigorating the American Dream with a more expanded vision that we can all get behind. Then, as we raise our aspirations as a people again, we can liberate our enormous creative energy for the tasks that will be required to achieve that dream, with each of us working together on our piece.

The shift into social synergy is manifesting in transpartisanship in the political system and stronger collaborative networks at the grassroots levels. As we shed the old beliefs that celebrate individual greed and begin to work towards our highest shared aspirations, social synergy can jump start the engine of the American economy and power us towards a more meaningful and evolutionary destiny.


1 Response to “Commentary”

  1. March 10, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    I’m a pre-babyboomer, born in 1940, and a registered independent who voted for Obama for the same reasons you did. I enjoyed reading “All The Kids Who Survived The 50’s, 60’s And 70’s” and could very much identify with it. However, could this commentary not support an argument for less government?

    The resaon that I decided to register as an independent was that I could not fully identify with the ideology of either major party and I did not want the burden of a party label. So far I am very pleased with Obama and perhaps at some future point I might call myself an Obama Democrat. In my view he is not a liberal democrat, but rather, the intelligent, pragmatic leader that the country needs.

    An example of just one issue that prevents me from identifying with either major party is the “war on drugs”. The USA’s war on drugs is causing severe problems in Mexico. We supply the market, the money, and the guns that have Mexicans killing one another to be our supply chain. We did not learn from the lessons of prohibition, which resulted in the formation of organized crime in the USA. Now we are engaged in a costly “war on drugs” that is consuming our tax dollars while kids in America go hungry every day. The only reason that pot is illegal is that a bureaucrat in 1937 needed something else to do with the large government organization that had been waging the war on booze. Facts better support making tobacco illegal than pot. The other controlled substances present more of a challenge, but for sure, our current policies aren’t working and are causing much of the violent crime, while costing taxpayers $$.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a user of pot or tobacco, just an observer of the stupidity in our democracy.

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