Posts Tagged With: Baby Boomers

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

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Categories: Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s a pill for that.

I do not in any way claim to know all the ins and outs and sideways views of depression. However, I have known several people over the years who also did not know they were at least clinically despressed, so I think that the playing field is sufficiently evened out for me to say what I’m about to say.

There have been several losses of good people this past year, as there are every year. Death is a well-known fact of life, no matter how much we attempt to preserve our youth. One of the ways some people attempt to preserve their youth is to maintain an energetic, youthful persona, while others sometimes go in search of more permanent, more surgical methods. My point is this: it’s perfectly all right to have a bad day. It’s perfectly all right to have things in your life which upset you and cause you either physical or emotional pain. These also are facts of life, but in recent years have become far less well-known. My personal belief is that coping skills are becoming the least known of all the Facts of Life.

We pad our kids’ playgrounds, as an example, and sometimes their clothing to keep them from physical harm, and yet, growing up, skinning my knee once taught me not only that what I had foolishly attempted was not well-calculated, and it made me second-guess my next foolish undertaking in order to avoid other skinned body parts. On the flipside, I was taught the kindness of my parents in their treatment of that skinned knee and in the process, I learned empathy from their example. Not such a bad bargain, all things considered.

But if we continue to protect our children from what’s out there, they will eventually grow up into adults at least in the physical sense, but their coping skills for life’s hiccups and u-turns will be greatly retarded if not altogether non-existent. I see “adults” now who cannot cope with, for instance, the coffee machine being out of order for a day, and they waste the rest of their day from that tiny little upset that morning going around complaining to anyone who’ll sympathise that they were deprived of their daily jolt of caffeine. This breeds problems down the road on an exponential level. If a malfunctioning appliance is all it takes to stop your processes for that day, what will you do when you get blindsided by something more severe on some idle Tuesday? You’ll reach for something, but maybe not what you really need. Ironically, the anti-depressants many reach for will, in fact, cause further depression and suicidal thoughts, among some other unpleasant side effects like cancer and heart stoppages, along with restriction of airways. Either way, you’re going down the rabbit hole.

Many of these adults reach for pills like anti-depressants and what can only be described as snake oil nerve tonics, rather than get right to the heart of the matter and deal with their issue at hand, on their own and without any pharmaceutical assistance whatsoever. Certainly, no one enjoys dealing with the unpleasant aspects of life, but these are still aspects of life and by dealing with them head-on, and not shying away into bottles of pills or booze, we can learn and grow from those experiences, painful though they may be, and our future decisions can be based on what was learned and gained through not only the upsetting experience, but also from the process it took to get past and hopefully resolve the problem, thereby ensuring that we are better equipped for the next round of obstacles life brings.

’cause you know what? Life is full of obstacles. Shocking, I know.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, self acceptance | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Oh, Canada…

The True North, strong and free?

The True North, strong and free?


A group calling itself ‘Restore Our Anthem’ has recently put forth their campaign to make our national anthem, as they put it, restored to its original gender-neutral lyrics to reflect what they believe are the values of present-day Canada. Granted, we are a society well-known for its celebration of multiculturalism and which is welcoming to people from all over the world. But do our lyrics need to be changed to reflect this, and does this change need to be made on the basis of the beliefs of a small group of people who may or may not represent a cross-section of present-day Canadians?

While there is some merit to the statement that as our country evolves, so do our values and beliefs, I object to their claim that they wish to restore our anthem to its original gender-neutral state when, in fact, they only wish to make the lyrics gender-neutral and not to the original state as they were written by Stanley Weir in 1908, which begins “O Canada, our home and native land! True patriot love, in all thou dost in us command…” (The English version we currently use reflects changes made in 1968 by a joint committee of Members of Parliament and Senators.)

The official lyrics, as they currently exist, are as follows:

O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!

From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

The Restore Our Anthem group proposes to alter the line, “In all thy sons command.” to “In all of us command,” which is not, in fact, the original lyric.

So is the claim to make the lyrics original, or to make them gender-neutral? What, then, happens when a new group is formed to make the lyrics religion-neutral as all lyrics from the original to the proposed include references to God, a deity widely accepted as Christian.

Bearing this in mind, how many more attempts will be made to reflect the needs of the special interest groups who all want their voice heard in our lyrics? And then, in so doing, how much of the meaning will be lost and with it our national identity? And with so many Canadians already uncertain of the lyrics, do we have any hope of re-learning the new lyrics and in the process of muddling the original, with the official, with the revised, will we lose a sense of ourselves as Canadians?

Like our flag, our national anthem identifies us as a people, distinguishing us from the rest of the world. Would the same group wishing to change our national anthem’s lyrics support the changing of our flag? And after that, what else should be changed? Perhaps our system of government, our system of health care and with it our sense of national identity.

It is safe to say that if one approached an American and asked whether the lyrics to their national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” should be changed to reflect the wishes or whims of a special interest group, that it would be met with vehement opposition and a response which would likely be to the effect of, “If you don’t like it here, leave.” I believe the same could be said for England whose own national anthem changes only to reflect whether a queen or a king is currently sitting as monarch.

These other countries do not wish their lyrics to be changed because a national anthem is meant to symbolize a nation’s strength and place in the world. To change the lyrics would imply to the rest of the world that when put under pressure from special interest groups, we will not hold fast and true to our beliefs, but will instead limply bend to accommodate. In this world’s political climate, I am not certain this is the message we Canadians wish to send.

But I am happy to be a citizen of a country which not only allows my point of view, but the points of view – however misguided and selfish I believe them to be – of the ladies who form the group, Restore Our Anthem.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perpetuated Stereotypes.

The news these days concerning over-used health care and far-too-accessible highly addictive painkillers and prescription drugs is alarming, no doubt.  Even more alarming are the people who perpetuate these dangerous and critical errors all the while unknowingly perpetuating their very own stereotype.  Yes, I’m talking about the Baby Boomers.

This past weekend, I was privy to a conversation between four members of this particular demographic while they were seated around a table at a local fast-food establishment.  My entry into the room began with one of the husbands mentioning to the other couple that he was encouraging his wife, a hapless woman seated directly across from her husband, to have work done on her eyes for, as he put it, the benefit of her patients who visit her clinic and over which she must lean during which time they get the full and sagging effect of her face.  Why not spare them the sight of her middle-aged and slightly sagging skin, after all?  I’m sure his wish for her to get an eye tuck was out of strict beneficence for his wife’s patients.

What was even more troubling was her all-too-willing agreement with his line of thinking.  Yet, no one once questioned the husband in asking what areas of himself might be tightened up to the pleasure of his wife. Looking at the man, I could easily, if so inclined, pick out any number of defects he might have considered correcting for, as he put it, the sake of others. It was all I could do to not expound on those ideas as I sat just a few feet away, gathering data.

And so the conversation progressed, where each person seated at that particular table went on to say how doctors are “butchers” and how if they truly cared about their patients’ welfare, they would send them home with real painkillers like Oxycontin, rather than a measly half dozen Tylenol 23’s to “barely tide them over” during their recovery.

In each story recounted, they described in nauseating detail the ordeal of surgery and the infections which arose therefrom, but always, ALWAYS the conversation came back to how “peppy” and “awesome” the painkillers they’d received as post-surgcical therapy had made them feel! There was no mention of how quickly they were able to recover as a result of the doctors’ skilled work on their bodies, nor for the physiotherapists who helped them recover post-surgery. Their attention was strictly focused on the pills, the quantity of pills and how “great” the pills made them feel upon taking them. Spoken like true addicts, if you ask me.

So, what we can derive from their conversation is this:  These people, seated at a fast food establishment care nothing for their overall health (otherwise they might not have been seated at a fast food restaurant sucking back floats).  We can also ascertain that they are perfectly willing to undergo any manner of surgery, whether or not it is actually necessary, just to get their hands on opiates and painkillers, legally prescribed to them by their “butchering” doctors who were, after all, only trying to help ease their so-called suffering.  Taking it one step further, we can also deduce that the more Oxy’s they get their hands on, the better, and who cares how those pills are used as long as they don’t have to feel ANYTHING. Never mind that their kids and grandkids may very well be eyeing the Boomers’s stash of pills for their own recreational uses. And why not? I mean, it’s not like their parents and grandparents have set an example of dealing and coping with life’s various issues without using narcotics and opiates, is it?

Well, here’s the thing.  Life is pain.  It starts off as painful labour, resulting in even more pain as that little body your mother exuded grows continually to whatever height and weight it was meant to be, and then some.  And not just physical pain, but emotional and intellectual pain.  Pain is an absolutely necessary part of life.  Without it, how do we expect to learn how to cope and to grow and to realize that for every moment of hardship, there would be no reward? We become who we are through the trials of our lives. Why, then, would anyone rob themselves of such a rich tapestry of life by blacking it out through opiates and self-obsession?

I take further exception to the fact that these people who apparently rather enjoy their endless doctor’s visits and surgeries and who are, in essence, over-taxing the health care system (as is their generation’s habit of exhausting every possible resource like so much plague before them) to the point where it is doubtful to younger Canadians like myself will ever enjoy the benefits of this socialist system which was meant for ALL Canadians. It is looking more like we will end up with an American health care system, forced that way because financially our government simply could not keep up with the ever-increasing and unnecessary demands placed on it by healthcare addicts such as these four greedy individuals. Couple that with their increasing usage and enjoyment of government pension plans to which I have had to contribute, but will likely never get to enjoy, and you wind up with a very bitter, cynical and jaded follow-up generation of people who have paid all their lives through employment deductions for services which will never be enjoyed by them, while the previous generation drains it dry and leaves it not only bleeding, but in a terminal state.

To the Baby Boomer Generation I have only this to say: GROW UP AND FOR ONCE DEAL WITH THE MESS YOU CREATED!

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Think.

They hold more, and they don't collapse in the back of your vehicle spilling their contents everywhere.

They hold more, and they don’t collapse in the back of your vehicle spilling their contents everywhere.

 

I went to junior high and high school in the 80s.  Prior to and during those years, I and my fellow classmates were inundated with such cheerful information as you’d better act now otherwise your planet’s going to die and nuclear energy is tantamount to nuclear war, and who wants that? and don’t wear fur, it’s murder!

This information was conveyed to us en masse in assembly auditoriums by such reputable and surviving organizations as World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Oxfam and Ploughshares Youth.  While these organizations share different mandates, they do share at least one common thread: make the world a better place.

Or, to paraphrase Gandhi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.

All our music and media also reinforced this mantra.  We were essentially brainwashed, but is it brainwashing if the information being pounded into your head is actually true, awful as it may be?  After all, what is the point in living in denial about your own reality?

By today’s fluffy standards, that sort of information seems pretty harsh.  However, it was realistic.  Not to mention, helpful.  It spurred most of us into panicky high gear and we became desperately involved and interested in finding ways of trying to ensure that the bad things we were being shown would not continue.  In other words, WE would make the difference and fix our parents’ mistakes.  We would be the ones to effect change.

For awhile, we were really gaining ground.  Many of us became zealots for the recycling cause, the anti-fur campaign and human rights cause.  Many of us joined these organizations and participated in such things as shoreline cleanups and attended rallies.  We were making our voices heard, and were even the more energetic when faced with opposing groups who did not wish to hear what we had to say, so we said it even louder.  We made them pay attention, even if they tried not to.

But I look around now and wonder despairingly where it all went.  Mostly, I wonder when people evidently stopped caring.  I see people flicking their cigarette butts out the window on a dry, summer day and then stare around in utter amazement at the fires consuming our grasslands and forests.  I have seen people walk within inches of a recycle bin and toss their garbage ON. THE. GROUND.

I see people wearing fur on everything they can affix it to, including hair accessories.  They argue, baselessly, that the animal does not go to waste.  They are completely and willingly unaware that these animals are raised in horrible conditions, tortured, and their meat goes mostly into the garbage.  This topic alone will likely spur a complete other blog post but suffice it say for now that despite what you hear, the animals go to waste aside from their pelts.  After all, when was the last time anyone told you they had a lovely and delicious meal of mink?

I have to point out that it takes an incredibly Herculean effort on my part to not give in to my baser urges to throttle these individuals.  You’re welcome.

But I do wonder sometimes if my own efforts are worth it, given the apparent apathy of the people around me.  Whenever I do get those discouraging feelings, I try to take stock and so far I have been able to convince myself that if nothing else, I will have done MY part and if I should ever have to answer to anyone or anything at the end of my days, I can at least answer for that much.  So I continue my efforts, fruitless as they may turn out to be.

I often get asked WHY I care.  Generally, this question comes from people who fall into the Baby Boomer age category, or from people who are the offspring of the Baby Boomers.  Coincidence?  Not a chance.

See, when you are raised by people who regard everything as their RIGHT, and therefore at their DISPOSAL to do with as they please, then following that “logic” it must follow that whatever is at your disposal is, in fact, DISPOSABLE.  But where do you draw the line with this methodology?  Garbage?  Simply dispose or separate into recyclables?  Cars?  Do you maintain them, or do you instead replace them every year with attractive new lease and financing rates?  Where do you suppose those cars end up?  Houses?  Bigger and better seems to be the expected evolution from the first house you purchase to the last.  Pets?  Certainly disposable because, after all, if they don’t fit into your lifestyle, then get rid of them, right?  Never mind that they are also living, thinking, breathing, emotional creatures in their own right.  They’re not one of YOU, so who cares?!?

The troubling evolution of this mindset is that you see also that relationships and people become disposable as well.  Statistically it is said that half of ALL marriages in the western world end in divorce.  This may be because people don’t want to bother putting the time and energy into their relationships, i.e. riding out the storms which occur in every marriage, or perhaps it is because they didn’t put enough time and energy into their relationship before entering into marriage.  Either way, you end up with the same disastrous result: broken hearts and sometimes, tragically, damaged children.

What I’m getting at here, and thank you for bearing with me to this point, is this: if we do not care first about our own circumstances enough to ensure the survival of the planet on which we live, how can we be expected to care about anything else?  The basic needs in life are food and shelter.  If we can take care of our planet, we will be better equipped and more inclined to take care of everything else we need, i.e. companionship, love, children, et cetera.  At some point, you will have to take the good with the bad in equal measure.  Facing unpleasantness means that we learn how to deal with it, and hopefully put a stop to it to that we do not repeat the same behaviours.  By not facing the less pleasant aspects of life, you are simply turning a blind eye and denying the problem and therefore yourself.

Chew on that while you carelessly toss your plastics in the garbage can instead of the recycle bin. If you would rather be a part of the solution, instead of the growing problem, please visit http://www.wwf.ca/.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies? | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deadbeats

http://www.sooeveningnews.com/newsnow/x2020322614/Recovery-threatened-by-runaway-student-loan-debt

After reading the above link, a couple of things should become glaringly obvious.  First, the United States will be in their recession for quite some time yet.  Second, and more importantly, maybe they should have been more diligent about collecting on student loans back in the day.  The article mentions a large majority of the student loan debt crisis is because of people who are now 60 years of age or more, putting them in the prime birth years for Baby Boomers, never paid back their student loans.  So, not only have they been sucking dry the health care, the savings and loans, the properties and investment markets, they’ve also been, unsurprisingly, renegging on their obligations.

Their typical attitude of “do as I say and NOT as I do” is evidenced by their apparent unwillingness to pay back their debts.  It was not because they could not pay back their obligations, but they simply did not want to, nor were they pushed or forced to do so.  So, in the end, they have no one to blame for their financial “crisis” but themselves.

Perhaps if they’d spent a little more time on the books and not at Woodstock, they’d have been able to make this connection on their own.  As it is, they will whine and cry about their poor financial situations as they progress into retirement and, ONCE AGAIN, they will have to be bailed out like the Big Babies the rest of us have come to know they are.

Thanks a million.  We not only get to pay back OUR student loans because we won’t possibly get away with it like your generation, but we’ll also have to bail you out on top of it, sending our generation further into the hole because unlike yours, our generation actually does have a global conscience.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies? | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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