Exploiting the GOP Generation Gap

generationgap2Anyone who has been paying attention to the GOP infighting in the last few months might have noticed that there is this generation gap thing going on.  The older, set in their ways generation who have been waiting to be in control for a number of decades are trying to use facts and logic to make their points and the younger generation is getting frustrated that their concerns are not being addressed the way they want them to be and are making a stink about it.

We of the older end of Generation X who now have taken on the nerdy aura of the former and never got to indulge in the self-importance we aren’t supposed to notice coming out the the latter are ending up in the middle of this argument.  The youngins are an important voting block, so they tell us are supposed to satisfy their concerns before our own or we’re not going to win.

Never mind that the younger crowd’s concerns are actually pretty much the same as the rest of us – lower taxes, smaller government, NSA spying on Americans and other innocent parties is a big no-no, college tuition is outrageous – save their aversion to “social issues,” which, incidentally were largely brought into the political area by the political left, not the right.  Even abortion rights (more life and death than a social issue, actually).  It’s just that the discussion is not going in the direction they would like and we keep getting distracted by topics like homosexual “marriage,” which isn’t marriage, really, and was forced to the fore by the political opposition.  The political right was merely defending its position – one that has been proven to work better than anything else after several thousand years of trial and error, by the way.

That installation of progressive ideals of said social issues has contributed mightily to the crime wave sweeping the nation could use some better explaining.  Although, given the state of American education, the kiddos may never have heard of Lyndon B. Johnson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the whole story of the projects or the Great Society, they might not quite understand that there was a time before James Dean donned jeans, a white t, and a leather jacket rebelling against nothing when crime was considerably lower than it is today.  Or that the politicizing of “social issues” that contributed to the dismantling of the American social order pretty much originated with the left.

Sorry, but they can’t be ignored, no matter how tempting the lean to libertarianism is. (Still preferable to progressivism, though.).

Which leads this writer to the question: to what end are various news and blog outlets jumping into the fray regarding the differences between old and young?  Yes, it is a journalistic truism that conflict and controversy sells papers, but is there a reason the wedge is being driven between various age groups of the political right?  And why is it the more experienced among the political right are the ones so completely in the wrong according to the current meme?

Is there a reason the generation gap is being so exploited?

No matter where anyone is in the United States these days, there is a generation gap.  The older, more seasoned citizens, to borrow a phrase from Rush, tend to be set in their ways which they learned long ago and depend on cold hard facts and analysis before making decisions.  It’s an attitude we all adopt as we get older, especially after learning to read financial sheets.  Before getting to that point, though, we gravitate toward those who say what we want to hear and espouse the attitudes we carry.

Everyone does it.  It’s human nature.

BUT, as the election of Barack Obama and subsequent implosion of American standing around the world on so many fronts has demonstrated in pretty stark technicolor, talking a good game does not mean that the speaker has the skill set to run an ice cream stand, let alone the country.  As one gets older, this reality becomes more apparent and we start letting our heads overrule our hearts in critical decision making, and looking for people with a desired paper trail to support for public office…and most likely the reason there are age restrictions on the presidency and congressional seats. (The voting age used to be higher, too.  Changing that was another Democrat pandering to youth thing.)

Psst: this is why we generally elect governors to be president.  Same skill set, knowledge and a track record of running a state.  Basic American rights should not be violated in the process.  That’s a fairly select group.  

There are a couple in the field who are capable and have not tried to remake themselves.  We’ll see if their hats end up in the ring.

So, where does that leave us on the political right as divided as we are over nothing other than what boils down to a form of sex appeal?  Is there a plot afoot to divide the right, yet again, since ideological purity is demanded more of conservative candidates than progressives and we fall for negative messaging?

It’s a legitimate question.  In the end the general public (not the political junkies) vote for who they think cares more about their everyday lives.  Conservatives tend to speak in platitudes and produce lots of charts and graphs.  Doesn’t make us wrong, just not all that interesting, and, to people used to being pandered to by mass marketing, uncaring.  The messaging does need work, and a number of the old guard need to be put in more bench coach capacities, but there is no reason for all the vitriol if in the end our goals of smaller government, less NSA spying, lower taxes, better education and the like are all the same.

Electing government representatives shouldn’t be this way, but it is.  And that is where the question of where all the divisive messaging is originating comes into play.

Who benefits when the right is divided?

By the way, self-love was considered unbecoming when we Gen Xers were the Gen Y and Millennial crowds’ age since we hadn’t really lived long enough to demand anyone pay attention to what we thought to be important.  That was sort of a condition of growing up.  After all, the Cold War was on, and then just over, and we never knew when the Soviets were going to lob cruise missiles in our direction.  

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Categories: Conservative politics, Republican Party

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3 replies

  1. I’m a libertarian and I couldn’t agree more. Social issues are important, sure, but not when the fate of the entire nation is at stake. Witnessing the re-election of Obama has hurled my ideology into a whirlwind of doubt and deep reflection. Ultimately, I do think libertarianism can and should be applied in healthy doses, but its first and foremost goal should be in quelling the leftist poison rotting our country from the core.

    Also, I’ve called into question my own identity as a libertarian. I scoff at homosexual marriage and cringe at the idea that abortion is a “social” issue. That doesn’t really put me in the libertarian camp. But I’m definitely not in the Republican establishment camp.

    And I’m definitely nowhere near the anti-reason leftist camp.

    • That’s just it. Social institutions came to be because they work. When things aren’t working, as it is obvious that establishment practices at this time are not, it is time to change. Not going to be easy, but don’t just give in to the squawkers either.

  2. That litany: Smaller government, lower taxes, better education… is perhaps, the problem. Today’s GOP leadership appears, at least to me, to have ‘progressed’ past such obsolete notions for anything but lip service, a nod to Holy Tradition, after which they can be forgotten for real business. That seems the prevalent attitude, anyway. That would locate the divide between those on that side of the gulf and the diminishing remainder still attached to those archaic values.

    If that proves accurate, we’ll likely see the trend continue, as it has with government size, taxes (taken as a whole) and education through the administrations of both parties for a long time.
    Perhaps a long-enough era of really hard times might encourage a reevaluation of such things, or not. Meanwhile, it seems Americans are the new Esau, yielding our birthright for bowl of governmental, alphabet soup…

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