I’m a Swing Voter: I’m Older, Wiser and Resent Baby Boomers

Early voting has started and for the first time in my life I’m a swing voter.

I have voted the Democratic ticket since I turned 18. My first presidential candidate was Bill Clinton. Full disclosure: When I didn’t know who a candidate, judge or other elected administrator was, I voted for Democrats and women.

But this year, for the first time, I am not rushing to the polls to vote for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. It’s funny, because I hold no ill will toward Obama and I feel he’s done a pretty decent job. Still, he’s not making me swoon.

I have two major issues. The first I’ll discuss here, the second in my next post.

First, I’m older and less idealistic. When I became a Democrat I was a college student with a political science major. My experience was academic and theoretical. I also had an up-close view of Republican rhetoric coming from a Mormon family, descended from conservative Texans, which I found ideologically offensive to my sensibilities. When you’re up to your ears in a specific culture you can see all the glaring problems and inconsistencies. While your limited experience of other cultures and ideologies allows you to romanticize them, mainly because you have no real exposure to their glaring problems and inconsistencies. At least that’s the way it worked for me. I have plenty of relatives who embraced these ideologies without question or doubt.

My spirituality also leaned more toward the sympathetic side then, we have to help the poor, helpless people. Now I’m compassionate, but not very sympathetic anymore.  I’ve heard a lot of “stories,” and I’ve carried a lot of my own “stories,” but stories don’t mean that we can’t reach for the American dream. My spirituality leans more toward the fact that we create our own realities. And my spirituality is more a guiding force than my political side now. Frankly, I’d prefer to focus on helping people get rich by seeing them as inherently powerful, than to help the poor and helpless remain poor and and viewing them as helpless to change that.

Also, I’ve lived. I’ve experienced real world problems like the impact of taxes on a mortgage, the burden of student loans, predatory lending, the economic pressures of employment, insurance inflation, gas and grocery and real estate inflation, workplace discrimination and the Mommy Wars. I knew nothing about these things when I became a Democrat.

While these experiences have not turned me into a raging Republican, tuning into Fox News to hear A-holes sell anger, fear, indignation and the belief that all change means that America is ruined and going to hell, I do have thoughts I never had before.

Crotchety old-person thoughts like, Why the hell do college kids today believe they are entitled not to have a job in college? By which they are coming close to bankrupting the student loan system and creating another bubble? and Why the hell is our government allowing a poetry major to take $200,000 in subsidized loans for a master’s degree from Stanford, when a state degree would be equally useless?  

And I know enough through my research as a journalist to be afraid of the fact that 10,000 Baby Boomers per day are becoming eligible for social security. And that people in MY generation are going to have to foot the bill for that, because that’s how Social Security works. And the population numbers are highly skewed in their favor and this is going to put additional burden on my generation, and my children’s too, and I’m not sure our shoulders can bear it under current conditions.

To which my adult thoughts lean to, why the hell are we paying rich old people a stipend? Shouldn’t this system be need-based? And has anyone else noticed that Baby Boomers had it way better when raising families than my generation? They had more affordable housing, gas, groceries, energy costs — while we have had essentially the same pay and fewer benefits than they did? And now we have to figure out how to pay for their retirement? Even though they are probably the last generation that will have a “retirement” package from employers rather than the craptasticly unreliable Ponzi scheme that is the 401k? 

These are not the only reasons that I’m swinging as a voter. I’m pissed off at Democratic women and that just might be enough to cast my ballot against them. Read about my issues with Democratic Women tomorrow.

Visit The Girl Revolution.

  • http://www.travelingwithmj.com Mary Jo Manzanares

    As a baby boomer, who is still working and paying taxes, might I suggest you think about the huge bubble of people who paid taxes that kept things humming along back in what you call “the good old days.” We didn’t have anything handed to us, we worked for it. And because we worked for it, the tax coffers were full. So rather than resenting us for eventually drawing social security – which we earned, I might add – you might thank us for keep the country rolling in tax dough for so long.

    I don’t care who you vote for or how mad you are at our politicians. But blaming the generation before you just doesn’t sound credible.

    • http://thegirlrevolution.com/ Tracee Sioux

      Of course the expansion of the economy during the Baby Boomer awesomeness was great. And I’m sure I benefited from being a child of Baby Boomers.

      Still, that doesn’t make the way the social security system any more plausible. Meaning, as the economy constricts and there is a far lesser population supporting the one above it with fabulous health benefits and social security checks – well, how are we going to do it?

      There is no big fat pile of dough that you “paid for.” The generation beneath has money withdrawn from their paychecks to pay the current social security payouts. In other words you paid for your grandparents’ social security and I pay for yours. Which sounds “fair,” equitable, kind and good.

      But, however fair it is, however equitable it is, however kind it is, the fact remains that you far outnumber us and this will mean even more taken out of our paychecks if we continue as it is. And our wages have not increased. In fact many people I know make less now than they did 10 years ago. Though the prices for housing, gas and groceries did increase exponentially.

      Also, I’m wondering why we should be sending wealthy baby boomers a stipend that puts additional burden on younger generations who are struggling? And why do the wealthiest workers also get the largest social security checks?

      HOW are we doing to do it?

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