Skip to comments.We’re Not Gen-X, We’re Gen-Reagan
Posted on 06/07/2004 1:31:59 PM PDT by Cinnamon Girl
Were Not Gen-X, Were Gen-Reagan
This is for everyone who was raised to believe that our young lives would soon end in a nuclear war, of mutually assured destruction, quivering under our school desks with President Reagan to thank for making the pink and gray tile on our classroom floors the last thing we would ever see.
This is for those of us raised in the post-graduate, post-doctorate suburbs where Volkswagens and Volvos taught us that we cant hug our children with nuclear arms and that war is not healthy for children and other living things.
This is for the generation that grew up watching Welcome Back, Kotter, Laverne & Shirley, Cosby Show and hundreds of bad impressions of President Reagan as a shellac haired cowboy buffoon who didnt have a thought in his head, followed by impressions of Dan Quayle as a simple minded bad speller who attacked the beloved Murphy Brown for having a baby and no husband, followed (in our adulthood) by monkey-like caricatures of the ignorant and stupid cowboy-war-monger President Bush.
We know who we are. We accept the moniker Generation X and we dont even know what the heck that means. It might have something to do with being jaded and feeling crappy about dolphins in canned tuna, and about the tragic death of Kurt Cobane. It probably refers to a specific group of people who saw every John Hughes teen movie and point to The Breakfast Club as a virtual documentary. It has never signified the Generation that grew up feeling good about America because of President Ronald Reagan.
Our generation went from an early childhood of Jimmy Carter, a droopy peanut farmer with big teeth and a hostage crisis, to a happy, energetic, powerful and confident Republican president who suddenly made politics interesting.
I remember watching a Carter/Reagan debate by myself one night when my mom was out. There was no doubt in my mind that Ronald Reagan would be president. He was irresistible, and he made America sound like an exciting, attractive place.
I remember collapsing on the couch in the family room, feeling as if Id been punched in the stomach, the day President Reagan was shot. It was in middle school. There was no discussion of the event by teachers or even the principal. My happiness that he would survive was a quiet and personal event.
While family friends and neighbors continued to wring their hands, and angrily mock what they called Reagans Star Wars fantasy, I remember him saying Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! He just seemed really gutsy. And my neighbors, who said Visualize World Peace, and meant it, seemed passé. Action, not words. That was hot.
In high school, I remember a school assembly before Reagans re-election. Nobody in our debate team wanted to be on the pro-Mondale side. Reagans second big win was a done deal and everyone knew it. Even before we could convincingly articulate our reasons for supporting President Reagan, and long before we could vote for him, we knew he was great, and that he was helping us.
In college, I waited in a long line of other students at USC to vote for President Reagans then Vice President, G.H.W. Bush. When I finally got to a voting booth, inside the small house of a Mexican-American family, I noticed on their mantle, a big framed photograph of President Reagan. Thats right. That is right.
When his second term was over, President Reagan came to speak at USC. Somehow, I managed to get a seat in the fully packed auditorium to see President Reagan in person. The standing ovation, when he took the stage, was 11 minutes long. And he was dazzling, of course. We were all riding the high for a long while afterward.
The first time I went to the Reagan Library, I was most impressed by the big chunk of graffitied Berlin Wall sitting outside, above the valley. I knew what that was about. That was a part of my growing up memories.
Tonight, I plan to go again to the Reagan Library, to pay my respects to the man who had a greater influence on my generation than any other person the media or the pundits bring to mind.
Thank you, President Reagan. G-d Bless you. And G-d Bless America.
Anecdotes don't change the fact that as a nation we haven't seen anything like the Great Depression since the '30s, and that in general, the character of those who grew up during that period were shaped by it.
Those who grew up during the Depression didn't want their kids -- the Baby Boomers -- to experience anything of the hardships they remembered all too clearly. Instead, as most parents do, they wanted their kids to share in their prosperity, the likes of which they could only dream about during their own childhood.
The Boomers, being that much further removed from the Depression, knowing little if anything about real hardship, raise(d) their kids accordingly.
Of course, these are generalities. Even in times of great prosperity, there are people who don't prosper. Individual hardship doesn't have the same affect on a generation or a nation as that of national hardship.
Other popular terms are "Thirteeners" or "13th Generation", which come from a book by Neil Howe and William Strauss called "Generations", in which we are listed as the 13th generation of the USA since 1620.
so I guess this start with the Pilgrims. Interesting.
I've gotten through part of it. It's sitting next to my bed waiting to be picked back up again (along with far too many other books).
I also have their "13th Generation" but ths structure of that is pretty annoying, with all the side-bars and comics and things. Such things tend to distract me.
I think you would very much enjoy a great but somewhat old read (1998) called "The Fourth Turning." One of the book's points: while the children of the Great Depression built character through economic hardship handed to them by the adults of the time, the children of "Generation Reagan"--many of whom have revived the "stay-at-home-mom" movement, suffered through a Great Depression of ideals vis-a-vis a lack of family values and no attention from the "into themselves" Boomer generation who were too busy continuing to make themselves "feel good and enjoy life." We were the first "latch-key" generation, and thus our character was built based on that. That's why we embraced Reagan.
Totally exactly right! Oh my gosh!
Yea, I guess my screename doesn't match my era, but it's a reference to where I live not the time I was born. :)
I graduated in 75 and was more of a Doobie Bros/Steely Dan/Eagles/Chicago fan. But I did like Sister Sledge and Donna Summer.
I couldn't think of a good screename. And I'm obviously not a "girl" anymore. But I live in Phoenix (Valley of the Sun), so that's what I came up with. Reading screenames on FR always fascinates me. Some pretty clever people here.
You know, the more I read, the more I relate to your generation than the Baby Boomers. I guess I am a Tweener. What a dumb name.
We're the Watergate Generation but that's no fun either.
I noticed you're in MD. I lived there from 66-79. My formative years. My sisters are still there. Do you mind if I ask where you went to HS?
Hey, the boomers made darn sure we learned the crucial elements of Watergate, too. I remember singing a song, part of which went "18 minutes worth of tape weren't heeaaarrrd oooouuuut loooouuuudd!!"
With Baby Boomers/Xers (Baby Bust) and Ys (Echo Boom) it's sort of easy since it all has to do with the Birthrate. Though no one can agree whether the echo boom began in 1976 or 1982. I kind of lean toward the 1975 cut off year for Xers.
Obviously by this list (I have seen it before), there is no defined time range! That's ridiculous in itself.
I guess they are going by Shared experiences.
I don't like this method! Let's just go back to naming decades, not naming ethereal "generations" of varying scope!
That doesn't help either, For example the teenagers in 1970 were still Hippies where as teenagers in 1979 were Disco queens. So when you describe the 70's generation which is it?
Until people start having kids only in the first or last few years of a decade and none during the rest there is really just no way to really come up with a good definition or range of a generation.
All I remember from world events as a child was Kennedy's assassination when I was 5 (my mom cried alot); when I was 10 Apollo 1 burned on my birthday and Viet Nam was on the nightly news every night. Then when I was 15, that whole darn summer vacation was nothing but Watergate hearings. I never could figure out what it was about and it was so bloody boring.
Eventually I knew what it was about. But it wasn't until Ollie North that I sat spellbound watching senate testimony.
His testimony, anyway.
The song, Alice's Restaurant makes a really funny reference to the missing minutes on tape... a song I'd never really listened to until my husband downloaded it from Napster (back when you could still do that).
My mother was a child in London during the Blitz so that's what I was used to hearing about. And my dad never talked about his early years at all that I can remember. I became a current events/politics addict on my own, I guess.
My HS years were 72-75. I guess that makes me part Hippie and part Disco. Maybe I'm a "Dippy", LOL.
If they put President Reagan on the 10 dollar bill then "X" and "Reagan" really will be synonymous!
Rush is talking about people in their 30's and Pres. Reagan.
Hi, sorry about the delay. I went to Howard HS in (drum roll) Howard Co. in Ellicott City. My sis and bro went to Oakland Mills in Columbia. So you see I don't mind at all. ;-)
I turned 18 10-20-1984 just in time to vote for his 2nd term. It was awesome voting Reagan in that landslide.
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