Generation Watch

Generation Watch
News and Views of America's Living Generations

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Who are these people? Apparently a Senate showdown was narrowly averted by a team of expert negotiators known as the "Gang of 14." It remains to be seen what the exact implications are for the future of the 109th Congress, since we don't know how long this gang can continue to wield influence. But what we want to know on this blog is how they break down by generation:

G.I.Robert Byrd, WV
Daniel Inouye, HI
SilentBen Nelson, NE
Joseph Lieberman, CT
John Warner, VA
John McCain, AZ
BoomerKen Salazar, CO
Mary Landrieu, LA
Olympia Snowe, ME
Michael DeWine, OH
Susan Collins, ME
Lincoln Chafee, RI
Lindsay Graham, SC
Gen-XMark Pryor, AR 

So what we see is a multi-generational coalition of Democrats working together with what Boomer Republicans they could find - the "moderates" among them, we presume - plus the always willing John McCain and another Silent Republican.

Now, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, the American people aren't exactly pleased. They, it seems, would like to see agendas pushed, filibusters engaged, nuclear options deployed - they would like showdowns in their Senate, for once. Maybe something would get done!

Posted by Steve Barrera at 4:49 PM

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Fun with blogs. In creating the new background section, I removed the stuff about the culture wars. I hope to eventually do an essay-length piece on the subject matter, which I don't think I had treated fairly in the little blurbs that were up before. But just to be even more superficial, I created a sample "red zone blog" and a sample "blue zone blog" for your amusement.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 3:31 PM

New and improved! I'm going to be updating the background section of this web site, filling it in and adding information about each living generation's online presence. The tables in the right sidebar now have links to the relevant pages. However, this is an ongoing process, so please be patient. Thanks!

Posted by Steve Barrera at 3:20 PM

Friday, May 06, 2005

Generation gap in military enlistment. Even as the Army is falling short of its recruitment goal for the third straight month, the military is showing a surprisingly steady rate of reenlistment. Generation X, it seems, likes the danger and excitement of the Pentagon's missions of stabilization and reconstruction, which are conducted with inadequate planning and training, in large part by forces - the National Guard and the Army Reserve - which were originally meant for other purposes. Millennials, however, are wary about joining the fracas, and so the Army has to get creative to bring them on board.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 3:56 PM

Friday, April 29, 2005

Enjoy the optimism. In case you missed it, David Brooks had an excellent Millennial op-ed in the New York Times recently. Brooks is a Gen-Xer who pays a lot of attention to the culture wars; he has a conservative point of view, but applies more common sense and humor to his analysis than the older, values-obsessed commentators.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 3:04 PM

Monday, April 25, 2005

Wrong war, wrong generation. Here's a story from Iraq showing where ruthlessness doesn't pay off - at winning hearts and minds. If we're serious about defending democracy in the Middle East, we've got to get away from this World War Three mentality of shooting everything in sight and come up with some new rules of engagement. And if we're in it for the long haul, it will be up to the Millennial generation to play by those rules.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 6:21 PM

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Even their women. Here's another Generation X at war story, which tackles an issue this generation faces - that of women in combat. Plainly, women can handle the stress and can kill when required. But we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that a sweeping reform is needed which allows women entry into combat units. Assuming we do restructure our armed forces so that they are better suited for long-term nation-building enterprises, there will be plenty of room for women in peacekeeping units, and plenty of opportunity for them to test their mettle in ambushes like the one in the story here.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 4:49 PM

Generation X at war. I may have been a bit premature in my judgement that "our security forces don't know what they're doing." This article in the Washington Post describes an infantry company in action in the streets of Mosul. It declares that military commanders are confident that the insurgency is losing potency, as attacks have declined in recent months. All it takes to fight the enemy is a little Gen-X ruthlessness.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 3:29 PM

What's in store for a generation. In my Raging 2000s commentary, I state that the war in Iraq is a rehearsal for America's future role of providing security in the new world order to be established in the next era. It is now becoming more apparent that President Bush's actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan were no mere WoT reactions to 9/11, but very long term commitments to nation-building.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has declared that there is no exit strategy for Iraq, but that instead we will remain until the local security forces are trained to handle the insurgency. But let's be real here - our security forces don't really know what they're doing. This is a task that will take a generation.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's fledgling government is practically begging for a permament U.S. troop presence. Anything to prevent a reign of the warlords. We're picking up where the British Empire left off, people...

Posted by Steve Barrera at 1:16 PM

Monday, April 11, 2005

Stay on top of the news. A new feature is available at the Generations and History in the Media page. You can now subscribe to a mailing list, and receive an e-mail with new stories periodically, when the page is updated. I usually update the page about once a week with a few links, so if you'd like to be alerted in your inbox, go ahead and sign up! It's free and you can easily unsubscribe if you change your mind.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 8:51 AM

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Build up the walls. Here's a trio of news stories suggesting a developing mood of insecurity and protectionism. First, we've got a tightening of border controls on the way. Americans will need passports to reenter the country when returning from Canada, Mexico, and Panama, and Canadians will need passports to enter America. These are new restrictions, to take effect fully in 2008.

Next, we see American textile manufacturers turning to Congress to curb Chinese imports. All those imports from Honduras, Bangladesh, and wherever else are fine, I guess, but insecurity demands a focus and China will make an excellent one, I'm sure.

Finally, the new FCC chair actually advocates jail time for indecency violations on cable TV. He's young-looking, too - may well be a Gen-Xer. J. Edgar Hoover would be proud.

So we see what's in store for us in the future - no more Canadian tourists, empty Wal-Mart shelves, and really boring cable programming. Enjoy the fun while it lasts!

Posted by Steve Barrera at 4:09 PM

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Morals for the ages. You might have seen this story, or a similar one, about teens and their opinions about oral sex. Apparently they feel that it is safer and more acceptable than "going all the way," which sounds like ordinary common sense, though red zoners would probably scream "the legacy of Bill Clinton!!!" More reasonably, they might call it "the legacy of the sexual revolution," or perhaps just a Millennial generation version of modern morals, which have been with us ever since the smashing of Victorian era prudery.

Posted by Steve Barrera at 12:12 PM

Current ages of the living generations
Lost 104+
G.I. 80-104
Silent 62-80
Boomer 44-62
Gen-X 23-44
Millennial ?-23
Homeland ?

Millennial Saeculum
High 1946-1964
Awakening 1964-1984
Unraveling 1984-?
Crisis ?-

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About This Weblog- Generation Watch features commentary by Steve Barrera on America's living generations and their current experience. It has a companion news portal at LifeCourse Associates.

Where noted, background information on generations theory is copyright 1996 Broadway Books. All other content on this web site is copyright 2002-2005 Generation Watch and Steve Barrera. All rights reserved.