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.
This idea was great when bumpers were METAL.
Now all this crap of plastic and fiberglass - it has to be a very strong magnet to "feel" the steel way underneath past a layer of air, too.
The really sad thing is all this stuff is painted along w/the rest of the body. You are really screwed when you take off a bad bumper sticker. My car is all scuffed up thanks to it. Metal/chrome bumpers, ironically, made removal easier and if not, it didn't hurt much and you just cleaned it up.
Modern designs just suck. (Old car nut here, too.)
Pretty much sums-up my childhood too.
I was in my first year of high school when Reagan was sworn in.
I remember the day he was shot like it was yesterday. I was standing on my back porch when my best friend called with the news, I also remember the only thing I felt was a seething anger at the thought of someone trying to kill MY president.
Out of my circle of three close teenage years friends who were all Reagan fans, we all ended up in the military. Mike was first to go, he joined the Army. John was second he joined the Navy. My brother (the third) joined the Coast Guard. Me, I joined the Air Force. I'll always be proud to say I served in the Strategic Air Command while RR was commander in Chief (to err is human, to forgive is not SAC policy). My brother is the only one still on active duty, he's married with two kids trying to get stationed on a patrol boat in the middle-east!
My point is, here were four teenagers whose life courses were altered, for the better by RR. Reagan generation? Yup.
CGirl, did you write this? This is excellent!
Where can you get the window "static-cling" type things????
You are the Disco Generation, as far as I'm concerned! My sister and brother fit that. They're a bit too old for mine, but definitely too young and too different from the so-called Baby Boomers. To me we mite as well call them simply the Hippie Generation. Disco people are definitely NOT hippies! (Thank God!!!)
Naw, I liked that show too! Unfortunately the last time I saw it was when it was airing, so I have almost no recollection! LOL
Actually, cms, I think the best question would have been, "Was I the ONLY KID who loved watching 'What's Happening'?" LOL
From GenX to GenR2 (Gen R squared)
You're right! I just graduated high school when Saturday Night Fever hit the screens (1977). Can't forget Animal House and Star Wars! The 70's were fun.
ExACTly. We're fast running out individuals, much less entire generations, who ever experienced hardship on a wide scale. Does not bode well for us.
"We had Reagan and I can remember it wasn't that bad a time to be a teen--I remember things being very optimistic for the most part."
It was a fun time, a cheery and energetic. Our clothes and hair reflected it! So did Reagan himself!
"ompare that with the likes of a Clintoon and what you can aspire to"
Thank GOD I missed the '90s.
Don't even get me going. Raising the Worst Generation negates the other from being the greatest. ;-)
You know, it sucks that I wasn't old enough to ever vote for Reagan!
I think Reagan woulda bombed the hell out of a whole lot of places alot faster than W.
Oh yeah, and the gen-xers dressed better too. :)
Oh, MUCH better! Tooootallee awwwwesome, dude!
A FREEPER MUST READ.
Speak for yourself. It simply means that we're the tenth generation born since the founding of the United States.
I, too, am a Tweener: too young to be a Boomer, too old to be an Xer. Reagan turned my politics 180 degrees. I'll thank him forever.
Following is an excerpt from a short story I wrote six years ago:
Around this time I was hearing about Ronald Reagan, who had transformed into a fascist right wing Republican whacko because he was working for General Electric, doing little radio snippets like that fool Paul Harvey, spouting out his commie hatred. This guy must be stopped, my buddies swore. Hes a Neanderthal Man, gushing about America this and the flag that. Funny, I remembered him as a pretty good governor of California. Reagan won election and took office in 1981, about the same time I started my own business. Working for others was chafing.
To me, suddenly, my buddies got downright mean regarding Reagan. The anger was shocking, coming from people who I knew to be politically clueless and normally detached. Seemingly from out of nowhere, a new hatred emerged for Republicans in general and Reagan in particular. He wasn't merely wrong or misguided, he was pure evil. Wow. How'd THAT happen?
Without much resistance, I feigned agreement with this new anger, but I was confused: was Reagan a foolish, stupid ex-actor or a devious evil right wing tyrant? Having grown up in a household that prided itself on calm political debate, I was disappointed in my peers. They spat anti-government invective in rapid fire, leaving no spaces open for the give and take of normal discourse. For a while, I confused this bulldozer delivery with ideological conviction, assuming only smart and informed persons would dare monopolize conversations in this manner.
Reagan held the Presidency for eight long years, and the establishment press ridiculed him mercilessly, as did virtually ALL of my friends. My friends were artists and musicians, and I see now that these groups think in a solid block much like blacks, Jews, actors and college professors. That is to say over 90% are liberal progressives. That I was existing in a political gulag never occurred to me. I was simply not exposed to a conservative viewpoint. Ever. I can recall no college debate because there was no alternate opinion imaginable. If there were sleeper conservatives around me, they kept their mouths shut ( smart move).
This herd mentality agreed with my personal outlook, because at that age I craved what every young person craves in all honesty: popularity . Popularity enough to attract the opposite sex. My work in marketing validated what I was discovering about myself. Fear of social ridicule is the engine that drives us all. How do you sell shoes, cosmetics, cars and magazines? Simply imply that they will put you in the popular clique. The more I practiced my craft, the more I was able to use the language of my generation as a bazooka to blast shame on the lame. The biggest bully and the most popular woman will fall in a whimpering heap if he/she is made fun of in the proper manner.
Thinking back to high school and college, our teachers would do anything in order to be popular among the students, to the point of idiocy. The moral relativism of our movement also generated a new educational standard: who's to say what's correct? Isn't all education merely indoctrination? What right does anyone have to critique any paper, music or art project? To my dismay, I didn't find this new relativism enjoyable, because I took my studies seriously. I put more effort into homework and class projects and so I expected better grades than those around me. Teachers had been trained, however, not to favor good work under the threat of being labeled insensitive to creators of bad work. There it was again: the threat of ridicule. I tried in vain to find exceptions to the rule.
The hairline cracks in my massive concrete ideology were disconcerting but not critical. I still believed in all the usual truths: democrat good / republican bad, worker good / employer bad, minority good / white bad, liberal good / conservative bad, socialism good / capitalism bad, long hair good / short hair bad, loud good / quiet bad, rock good / jazz bad, peace good / war bad, woman good / male bad, environment good / industry bad. It was almost too easy. No, it WAS too easy. I was beginning to get bored with the prevailing opinions of my world, but I shut up ( smart move).
When President Reagan was shot walking to his car, the network news did what it does in such circumstances: it pre-empts normal programming. I felt outraged that our leader had been shot by some nut, flashing back to the national outrage of the JFK killing. I felt that the Secret Service acted with incredible bravery, jumping into the trajectory of bullets without hesitation. I was alone with my own thoughts and reactions. I was in for a catharsis.
When I arrived at work the next day, I was anxious to trade reactions with my peers. I must admit to being completely unprepared for what I encountered: joy. My friends said things like "a few inches down and we'd be rid of Reagan for good" and " Why couldn't Hinckley have been a better aim?". I was stunned, afraid to contribute because I was afraid my voice would crack in disbelief. I had assumed that when events got REALLY heavy, liberals would shed partisan concerns and rally to the president at his bedside, relieved that he was alive. Celebration never occurred to me.
Oh, I thought it was simply that "X" is a "fill in the blank" connotation, and that since we just HAD to name the prior generation (the "Baby Boomers) - even tho no other had been named, w/o a clue to a good name, some1 somewhere just said "Gen X - fill in the blank!" Unfortunately the former stuck. And now we have Y, Z, AA, etc. Ridiculous.
I say, go back to naming the decades and forget names for generations.
Yes, I wrote this. It's about my experiences growing up. I wonder how many of us would be democrats today if it weren't for President Reagan coming to wake us up.
That's funny...I think I will have to record a new answering machine message tonight.:)
Thanks for the ping. I was 8 when Reagan was elected and this thread brings back so many memories!
I put the "bumper" stickers on the body.
My last car (a Ford Aspire) only had a fairly narrow strip of metal on the back, what with windows, tail-lights, lift handle, license plate depression, etc.
My current car (a PT Cruiser) has all the room in the world for magnetic stickers.
But where is the metal for it to stick? These things are covered in plastic and fiberglass, and separated from serious metal by a gap of air.
I really like mine. I got them for me, my daughter and grandchildren.
The body of the car is not.
Plenty of room.
This is all too typical of people who seek to lift themselves up by putting others down.
So I thought I would toggle a site that might give better credence to what you said:
"Just like most Boomers weren't pot-smoking hippies, most Gen-Xers aren't "slackers". Most are decent, pragmatic, creative, strongly independent, self-reliant, and hard-working. We have a surprisingly good work ethic - including a strong sense of company loyalty, as long as it's reciprocal - and we want to get ahead, even though we aren't as concerned with the trappings of "success" as earlier generations were. However, we're very concerned with financial and emotional security. We're hopeful that the future will be good to us, but we're also shockingly realistic and honest about the struggles we're going to face in a rapidly changing world of diminishing resources, an elderly society, and a culture dominated by, and designed for, "Baby Boomers"
I thank you very much....
That was what I always thought, based on reading "Generation X" by Douglas Coupland--the book that supposedly named us (at least by media accounts, but what do they know?). Sort of a unknown generation, like an 'X' in algebra--"Solve for X! They don't know what they are doing!"
But there is another book, the Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe that I think talks about us being the 10th generation since the founding of the US. I read a bit of that then a pretty butterfly took my attention and I forgot about it (till just now).
Oh look, a plane ...
Oh wait, they call us the "13th Generation" not the tenth generation.
Damn butterflies ...
We're around the same age. I never really considered myself a boomer, but not quite Gen X either. The Reagan generation is a perfect description. My first vote at 18 was for Ronaldus Maximus and I've voted straight conservative ever since. It probably helped that one of my earliest memorys was of my mom walking me downtown to republican headquarters to get my sister & me Goldwater baloons and buttons. LOL.
Great article, CG. I am also a later "Boomer", born in the late 50's and inbetween the two generations...in HS in the 70's. Went to college in 76 and my roomate kept telling me about this guy running for President named Jimmy Carter.
Since my parents NEVER shared their political opinions with me I was left to fend for myself. When asked how he voted my dad would always reply, "You mean for the dumb Democrats or the rotten Republicans?" So my first vote was cast for Carter (I've repented here several times since I came her 4 years ago, LOL). But to make things worse, I campaigned for him in '80. and was so distressed he lost to Reagan.
Needless to say, I got married, grew up (in that order) and voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984. I am proud I got to vote for him at least once and rectify my terrible mistake of the previous election. :)
I have great hopes for the "Gen-Xers" (I like Gen-Reagan better!) My daughter just turned 18 and will vote in her first election. Thankfully she has common sense.
moodyskeptic. that anything like a disappointed realist?
I guess that fits me, the Disco Generation, LOL. But my teeth were first cut on the Beatles. We are the kids from "That 70's Show", though I've never seen it.
My daughter first voted in 2000. She went to all the freep gore rallies with me. What an experience for her.
We used to take our kids to pro-life rallies when they wer little and I took them to the rallies after the 2000 election. I hope one of them has inherited a little activist blood for their own children some day. :)
I forgot to add that I grew up in Maryland, about 20 minutes from Washington, DC. I can't tell you how many times I've seen stuff on here about the DC freeps knowing if I still lived there, I'd have been down there, too.
This seems to be the breakdown of the Generations that have set foot on American soil
G.I. (WWII, Greatest) 1901-1927.
Baby Boomers (Me, Worst) 1946-1964
Generation X (Baby Busters, Reagan) 1965-1981
Generation Y (Echo Boom, Millennial) 1982-1996
Generation Z (Cyber, New Adaptive) 1997-2025?
I've heard that we are the 13th before but I only count 10 going back to the founding of America,
The only way we could be 13th if we break the late Baby Boomers off into Generation Jones and the early WWII off into the Flappers and maybe split the large time period Transcendentals.
But if you do that you can do that with most generations and we would end up being the 20-26th
Then again, Some of the founding fathers (i.e. Ben Franklin Born 1706) were of the Awakening Generation, So if you count back to them we are the 13th generation if not we are the 10th.
Great! Thanks for the site. Since I have that stupid painted-plastic bumper, the normal stickers destroy it. My MD Gov sticker destroyed it last year and took me a week to get it all off - complete w/razor-blade smudges! On a car that was only a year old!
I think you missed my point!
I don't like modern bumpers because they're painted - thus, bumper stickers can ruin the paint (a`la removal). So I certainly don't want to stick these things on the body of my car.
Even if its a magnet, there's still a risk you'll do something to the body paint of your car by slapping/peeling off the magnet even once much less multiple times. The less touchy, the better! I prefer sticking to bumpers. Having stickers *there* is ugly enough, anyway!
OK, 1st question is: what is the mathematical definition of a generation?
Obviously by this list (I have seen it before), there is no defined time range! That's ridiculous in itself.
20 years MITE be an acceptable average range for a generation. Altho since we're so communicative in the last century, we often define ourselves more narrowly - by decades.
To me, the average generation-length ("gestation", if you will) is 30 years - but that's considering how old you are having children, how old your mom & dad were, how old your grandparents were, etc, all when they had children. Which muddles it, cuz people are having kids all the time.
I don't like this method! Let's just go back to naming decades, not naming ethereal "generations" of varying scope!
"Generation X" was the title of a very stupid 1991 book by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. It portrayed some of the dismay and chagrin of those of us who are younger than the Baby Boomers, upon our realization that we will be destroyed by their selfish greed and the bonfire of their many-vanitied social agendas.
And yet you call yourself "Valley Gal"? LOL
My sister and brother graduated HS late '70s and started college then. They were definitely in the disco era - and my sister was a disco queen (bro more of a metal-head). ;-D
I have my Bush/Cheney sign up on my lawn. And I just ordered two cling decals from a site that say "I support President Bush and our Troops" I had a W sticker on my old truck so I had to replace for the new truck. Can't wait to get them!
The "Arnold for Governor" signs Humanshield put in the front of the apartment buildings were stolen about six times.
Oh funny, I would have hid in the bushes to catch the thief!
Remember St. Elmo's Fire; well that is how we dressed in the 80's. Our socks were tucked over our jeans and we wore that with sneakers, I had pink sneakers, what was I thinking. I will always love my high hair. These days it is short but still high. My husband measure it and lets me know when I have reached my highest point.
I think they include Ben Franklin's generation. I actually have the book at home (both "Fourth Turning" and "13th Generation"), but forgot to look at them last night.