With Obama, many say bye-bye to boomers
Jan. 20 will symbolize the passing of an entire generationLINK
NEW YORK - When George W. Bush lifts off in his helicopter on Inauguration Day, leaving Washington to make way for Barack Obama, he may not be the only thing disappearing into the horizon.
To a number of social analysts, historians, bloggers and ordinary Americans, Jan. 20 will symbolize the passing of an entire generation: the baby boomer years.
Generational change. A passing of the torch. The terms have been thrown around with frequency as the moment nears for Obama to take the oath of office. And yet the reference is not to Obama's relatively young age — at 47, he's only tied for fifth place on the youngest presidents list with Grover Cleveland.
Rather, it's a sense that a cultural era is ending, one dominated by the boomers, many of whom came of age in the '60s and experienced the bitter divisions caused by the Vietnam War and the protests against it, the civil rights struggle, social change, sexual freedoms, and more.
Those experiences, the theory goes, led boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, to become deeply motivated by ideology and mired in decades-old conflicts. And Obama? He's an example of a new pragmatism: idealistic but realistic, post-partisan, unthreatened by dissent, eager and able to come up with new ways to solve problems.