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The Faustian Generation (did boomers sell their souls to the devil?)
MSNBC ^ | July 24, 2006 | Alan Ehrenhalt

Posted on 07/26/2006 8:48:06 AM PDT by NYer

My cohort of early baby boomers has been called a lot of names in its nearly six decades of existence—we were the insolent teenagers of the 1950s; the self-centered Yuppies of the 1980s; now we are the aging spendthrifts who will bust the federal budget and bankrupt our children with unreasonable demands for creature comfort in old age.

But maybe it would be more appropriate to think of us as the Faustian generation. We didn't exactly sell our souls to the devil—not collectively, anyway—but as we jog toward senior status, it's hard to escape the sense that we were complicit in our own unique kind of unholy bargain.

Most of us born in the early years after World War II grew up in a world of stability and order: lasting marriages, moms at home, fathers with permanent employment, local merchants who knew us and watched us, neighborhoods where the people next door were ever-present and predictable. The three television networks ran essentially the same programs; the bread and soup and cereal all tasted alike. It was snug; it was also, as we all know, widely perceived as monotonous and a little claustrophobic, as well as unfair to many members of society

"The dull ache will not depart," Faust says in the first part of Goethe's epic, as he laments the cozy tedium of his cloistered life. "I crave excitement, agonizing bliss." That does pretty well as a mantra for the best and brightest of the early baby boomers as they reached mid-adolescence in the early 1960s

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: babyboomers; faust; genx
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Ehrenhalt is executive editor of Governing magazine, and author of two books on American politics: "The United States of Ambition" (1991) and "The Lost City" (1995).
1 posted on 07/26/2006 8:48:09 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
The devil is in the details ....

"Faust was offered a simple form of relief for his confinement: He contracted with Mephistopheles for 24 years of unending novelty, physical gratification and encyclopedic knowledge. The baby boomers didn't sign any such contract, but as they became adults the most fortunate soon found themselves tasting similar treats: the erosion of sexual restraint, the ability to travel virtually anywhere, magic electronic devices that brought instant knowledge and entertainment even Faust never imagined, and most of all, ever-expanding choice—the freedom to make important life decisions and then unmake them at will: new locations, new spouses, new careers, all subject to endless re-evaluation out of a concern that something more exciting might lie around the corner."

Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 07/26/2006 8:49:54 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
...born in the early years after World War II grew up in a world of stability and order: lasting marriages, moms at home, fathers with permanent employment, local merchants who knew us and watched us, neighborhoods where the people next door were ever-present and predictable....

And then we screwed it up..........

3 posted on 07/26/2006 8:51:50 AM PDT by Red Badger (Is Castro dead yet?........)
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To: NYer

It is not the boomer bankrupting us - it is the greedy senior citizens of the last 30 years that are.

They vote - and they vote for the politician that promises the most for them.


4 posted on 07/26/2006 8:52:04 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: NYer

Even though it is from MSNBC, he makes some valid points. My generation made its very messy bed, and now we have to lie in it.


5 posted on 07/26/2006 8:55:53 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Never trust Democrats with national security.)
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To: Red Badger
And then we screwed it up..........

Exactly, though not all, I know many baby-boomers on FR that did not participate in the selling of souls.

Anyhow, look where we are now, kids cannot even ride their bikes around the neighborhood for fear of sexual predators, divorce is through the roof, etc...

But baby-boomers (not all) can look back and say, well, at least I got my abortion and was able to have sex with no consequences. After all it IS all about me!

6 posted on 07/26/2006 8:56:34 AM PDT by yellowdoghunter (Vote out the RINO's; volunteer to help get Conservative Republicans elected!)
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To: Red Badger

(Not directed at you personally, RB)

Thank you, hippie baby boomers. May you all rot in hell. You did more damage to this country in 30 years than everyone else combined managed to do in the prior 200.


7 posted on 07/26/2006 8:57:08 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: NYer

The headline implies they have a soul to sell. I, for one, doubt that.


8 posted on 07/26/2006 8:58:05 AM PDT by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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If you are a baby boomer, and not a hippie, the above does not apply to you, FYI.


9 posted on 07/26/2006 8:58:31 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Spktyr
As a tail-ender baby boomer, I'm afraid you are correct, although I like to think that it was those in the beginning of the boom that really started screwing things up for those of us who came along later.
10 posted on 07/26/2006 8:59:36 AM PDT by bella1 (Support the Minuteman Project.)
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To: NYer; qam1

Woo! Hoo! Another Boomer Bashing thread!

I love these!


11 posted on 07/26/2006 9:00:31 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Spktyr

My sentiments exactly. Except the rotting in hell part.


12 posted on 07/26/2006 9:00:51 AM PDT by ecomcon
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To: NYer

Yep it sure looks that way. The boomber managed to screw up everything that they touched.


13 posted on 07/26/2006 9:01:37 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Fire Murtha Now! Spread the word. Support Diana Irey. http://www.irey.com/)
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To: NYer

Please. This is some pretty idiotic navel gazing by a guy who obviously has never done anything in the world but has been content to be a passive observer.

I was born the same year as this dunce and I just ran it flat out on all the uphill parts, the good and the bad. Now that I'm on the downhill slide, I've still got the pedal to the metal.

What's this guy talking about? Some mythical world of yesteryear? It never was like that and if all you've ever done with your life is indulge in a lot of chin stroking rather than building shit (ala all the technological marvels that the author apparently assumes just sprang out of nowhere) then I guess one might naturally be attracted to some dream world out of Leave it to Beaver.


14 posted on 07/26/2006 9:02:07 AM PDT by telebob
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To: NYer
"The baby boomers....found themselves tasting similar treats: the erosion of sexual restraint, the ability to travel virtually anywhere.....and most of all, ever-expanding choice—the freedom to make important life decisions and then unmake them at will: new locations, new spouses, new careers, all subject to endless re-evaluation out of a concern that something more exciting might lie around the corner."

The fruits of Planned Parenthood's indoctrination programs----deceptive tax-funded "Family Life" courses that proselytize moral relativity, and situation ethics, wherein the individuals decides for him/her self what is right and wrong.

15 posted on 07/26/2006 9:02:45 AM PDT by Liz (The US Constitution is intended to protect the people from the government.)
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To: Bigg Red

The people who had the wildest eyes for in-school smoking areas, free speech no matter what, free "love" without consequence, do your own thing, drugs etc. are now legislating smoke free areas and hate crimes.


16 posted on 07/26/2006 9:03:24 AM PDT by steve8714
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To: yellowdoghunter

It's all Dr. Spock's fault!.....


17 posted on 07/26/2006 9:03:41 AM PDT by Red Badger (Is Castro dead yet?........)
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To: NYer

Where the heck was the so called "Greatest Generation"????

What happened in the 60's? The finger can be directly pointed at our WWII fighters and Depression Survivors, who, without thought of consequence, spoiled the living sh*t out of their kids, so they can "have it better" than they had it.

Please... ...its 10 O'clock, do you know where YOUR children are?


18 posted on 07/26/2006 9:05:04 AM PDT by Vaquero ("An armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Spktyr

It appears that the generations that follow are no better at making good choices.

Their only talent appears to be blaming their parents.

Hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar.


19 posted on 07/26/2006 9:06:13 AM PDT by GourmetDan
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To: NYer
Carry on!

Retirees Will Face Dire Straits [Baby Boomers to force following generations to suffer]
 

20 posted on 07/26/2006 9:06:15 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Red Badger
It's all Dr. Spock's fault!.....

I do think he might have played a role...:)

21 posted on 07/26/2006 9:06:30 AM PDT by yellowdoghunter (Vote out the RINO's; volunteer to help get Conservative Republicans elected!)
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To: GourmetDan

You might be interested to note that there are far more of us in the pro-troop pro-country rallies, and far more boomers in the anti-war rallies.

I should also point out that the military is not having any problems with recruitment from my generation and the generation after. Unlike the boomers.


22 posted on 07/26/2006 9:07:56 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Spktyr

Er, unlike the boomers when they were in that same age range.


23 posted on 07/26/2006 9:08:40 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: yellowdoghunter

Him and Timothy Leary, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman, James Dean, George McGovern, ..........et al....


24 posted on 07/26/2006 9:10:54 AM PDT by Red Badger (Is Castro dead yet?........)
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To: telebob
"...I guess one might naturally be attracted to some dream world out of Leave it to Beaver."

Ah, yes. The sentiment at work here is obviously that the America that used to exist never really existed at all. Is that it?

Quite strange, considering that data concerning family breakup and divorce are widely available. That's some "dream world" we're talking about, huh?

25 posted on 07/26/2006 9:11:16 AM PDT by Reactionary (The Barking of the Native Moonbat is the Sound of Moral Nitwittery)
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To: 2banana

They vote in Florida and in their home state too.


26 posted on 07/26/2006 9:11:25 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter
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To: NYer

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's all our fault. We've paid taxes all our lives while the federal government raided Social Security to give it to every type of parasite. I drive these people to the SS Admin for their appointments. Mental patients, 30 year olds with bad backs, alcoholics...Yeah, it's all our fault. We don't deserve anything...We are going to bankrupt our kids...Yeah, yeah..


27 posted on 07/26/2006 9:11:37 AM PDT by Luke21
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bttt


28 posted on 07/26/2006 9:12:12 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: NYer

"we were the insolent teenagers of the 1950s;"



Just look at the dates people, boomers 1946 to 1964, the country is run by people in their fifties plus.

At the end of 1959 the oldest boomer was 14, at the end of 1969 the boomers ranged from 23 to 5.

Long after the Vietnam war and the sixties, in 1980 when Reagan was elected, boomers were 16 to 34 years of age.

We are only now in the "Boomer Era"


29 posted on 07/26/2006 9:12:16 AM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: Vaquero

Boomers, Its 10 O'clock, do you know where YOU are?...........


30 posted on 07/26/2006 9:12:32 AM PDT by Red Badger (Is Castro dead yet?........)
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To: Spktyr
If you are a baby boomer, and not a hippie, the above does not apply to you, FYI.

...except that there are lots of 'non-hippies' who have made greedy and narcissitic choices in their lives and have caused damage to those around them. (The Enron executives were not hippies.) And I know many former and current 'hippies' who are fine, moral people: cattle-ranchers, schoolteachers, good parents.

I know it's a fine tradition on FR to seize on a few visible scapegoats and blame them for all the world's complex problems, but it ain't that simple.

31 posted on 07/26/2006 9:14:33 AM PDT by blowfish
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To: NYer

Any generation "plagued" by the enormous affluence enjoyed by those living and thriving in the modern United States would have problems. No past generation even dreamed of affluence of the measure that our young children now enjoy. This sickening angst-ridden pap these days, typified by the expression that we are "addicted to oil", is pure self-loathing - original sin dressed up in media technicolor.

Newsflash: We are all going to die.


32 posted on 07/26/2006 9:16:17 AM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: Reactionary

And that there were always kids shooting up schools, and kids being taken out of their homes and raped, and kids being taught Gay, Lesbian Tansgender issues, and citizens being shot by drive by 'bangers sitting on their porch, and Parents having the local law and/or schools system do everything to disuade any kind of discipline, and.......


33 posted on 07/26/2006 9:17:40 AM PDT by roofgoat
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To: NYer

And then came Rock 'n Roll. Plato warned us.


34 posted on 07/26/2006 9:17:40 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: steve8714

...now legislating smoke free areas and hate crimes.

Uh-huh. They can't seem to let go of that sex without consequences thing though.


35 posted on 07/26/2006 9:18:08 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Never trust Democrats with national security.)
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To: NYer

Behold -- they have already received their reward!


36 posted on 07/26/2006 9:19:52 AM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: NYer

I was recently reading a book about Jim Morrison and The Doors, and there were some in my generation - most of them now rabid Democrats - who did make very conscious choices in favor of "the dark side." They were explicitly anti-Christian and explicitly pagan in the worst sense of the term: promiscuous, irreverent, cynical, self-centered, and arrogant. Some of us just enjoyed the music of that era because it sounded good, but others took the message quite seriously and literally.


37 posted on 07/26/2006 9:19:57 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: NYer

I would not say that it was the "best and brightest" who were the ones that rejected societal norms. The best and brightest stopped to think what the unintended consequences of rejecting societal norms would be--and decided to hold fast to the moral compass their parents had passed on to them.

If you look at the societal problems the "me first" generation has wrought, I think you will see they unleashed tremendous evil in our society.


38 posted on 07/26/2006 9:20:25 AM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel
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To: 2banana
"It is not the boomer bankrupting us - it is the greedy senior citizens of the last 30 years that are."

this is absolutely true....

and while the WW2 generation did so much for our country, most people don't realize that tons of people collecting SS now were too young for WW2, and never made any of those sacrifices....

I guess I wonder about those that took advantage of our post WW2 boom years, took the best jobs, were able to finish college and come out with the war over, worked at all the big companies, got all their pension money even while the companies were bankrupting themselves with pension debt, and yet, still, collect, and collect and collect SS and get mad if you question the fairness of them making out like bandits, while the younger workers have lost pensions, medical retirement, and SS for all practical purposes...

all in one sentence.....whew.....

its really like that group of people hit the jackpot...no ww2, no bankrupt companies, no loss of pension and medical retirement, taking all their SS , and still get all the elderly "discounts" for everything going......

and apparently, a lot of them vote in all these nice things because we can't seem to break the hold of the senior citizen "give me more" attitude....

example...this cockamamie drug benefit...

39 posted on 07/26/2006 9:24:55 AM PDT by cherry (.)
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To: Reactionary
"Ah, yes. The sentiment at work here is obviously that the America that used to exist never really existed at all. Is that it?"

Yep, that's it exactly. You can cherry pick your bitch du jours all you want and view the past with your rose colored glasses to your heart's content. I was there and yes, Leave it Beaver and all that misty familial normalcy and societal stability was TV man, not real life.

Our lives are infinitely better today than they were in the past, even with all the problems we have to deal with.

Live in the NOW...

40 posted on 07/26/2006 9:25:12 AM PDT by telebob
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To: 2banana
This part is worth repeating:

Needless to say, this doesn't depict the life course of all the boomers who came to maturity in the 1960s. Beneath the hype and the rhetoric, millions of them managed to do things the old-fashioned way right up to the end of the 20th century: one spouse, one house, one neighborhood, one career.

There is a "silent majority" of baby boomers who didn't become hippies and spend all their time getting stoned and driving from protest to protest in a grimy psychedelic spray-painted VW minibus listening over and over again to an eight-track cassette of Buffalo Springfield. This silent majority is always given short shrift in the media and mocked by Hollyweird.

For example, according to B.G. Burkett, 3.3 million men served in the Vietnam theater of operations, and a scientific survey conducted in 1985 by the Washington Post/ABC found that 91% of those who served in Vietnam were "glad they served their country." There were a lot more people in the baby boomer generation who served their country than rolled around in the mud at Woodstock, and I'm sick and tired of hearing the endless navel-gazing by this latter group. "Me Me Me!" Will no one rid us of these troublesome aging lefty baby boomers?

41 posted on 07/26/2006 9:25:45 AM PDT by SirJohnBarleycorn
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To: NYer
My cohort of early baby boomers has been called a lot of names in its nearly six decades of existence—we were the insolent teenagers of the 1950s

sincer the boomers start is considered 1946, i suppose, technically, a 13 year old in 1959, could be considered "insolent".
42 posted on 07/26/2006 9:28:00 AM PDT by stylin19a
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To: JmyBryan

Bingo, you have hit on the correct answer.

Previous generations lived constrained by an economy of scarcity. If you did not live right and work hard, you would come to a bad end relatively quickly.

Once technology and capitalism combine to create an unlimited supply of goods and services, these constraints collapse. There is no longer any external reason to live rationally and justly. A few religious or philosophical characters may continue on, but everyone else will be saying 'Let the good times roll!'

The real question is this: once the constraints of scarcity are removed, what is now safe to do, and what is still dangerous? The baby boomers are an experiment to find out. Some ideas - excessive sexual freedom and drug usage - have already been rejected as still not a good idea.


43 posted on 07/26/2006 9:29:08 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: ansel12

shhhhhhh! no truth allowed...the myth makes 'em feel better.


44 posted on 07/26/2006 9:30:15 AM PDT by stylin19a
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To: NYer

Too many of my generation are simply selfish bums. That's all the analysis needed.


45 posted on 07/26/2006 9:32:54 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: telebob

Do you think it is really better that kids now come home to an empty house and instead of Leave it to Beaver to watch, they have complete filth to watch? The media reinforced family values in the 30-50's, but that all changed in the 60's and it has been downhill since then.


46 posted on 07/26/2006 9:33:42 AM PDT by yellowdoghunter (Vote out the RINO's; volunteer to help get Conservative Republicans elected!)
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To: Incorrigible; Spktyr
Thank you, hippie baby boomers. May you all rot in hell. You did more damage to this country in 30 years than everyone else combined managed to do in the prior 200.

Yeah. Life in America DOES suck, doesn't it?

Everybody else on the globe wants to come here, we feed the world, we are one of the most church-going people in history, and yet the whiners who grew up resenting their parents are now blaming a prior generation for not knowing how to construct a proper sentence in English or carry on a conversation without fifteen "likes" and "you knows" sprinkled in with a bunch of jive.

But they can surely tell you the names of every rapper on MTV. That is, if you can get their attention long enough to get the I-Pod earbud out of their left ear and the Bluetooth headset out of their right ear.

No wonder none of this bunch is getting married. They're pathological narcissists.

47 posted on 07/26/2006 9:35:30 AM PDT by sinkspur (Today, we settled all family business.)
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To: sinkspur
Everything you say can directly be linked back to the 60's when everything started going downhill.....the kids today have had no role models, come from broken homes, has a media that tells them bad is good, etc....

I know America is still the best thing going but really, that is not saying much when you look and have actually visited other parts of the world.

And you say none of them are getting married, well, why should they, they have never seen a happily married couple.

If you were fortunate enough to grow up during the time when family values were reinforced everywhere, thank your lucky stars!

48 posted on 07/26/2006 9:39:28 AM PDT by yellowdoghunter (Vote out the RINO's; volunteer to help get Conservative Republicans elected!)
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To: yellowdoghunter
"The media reinforced family values in the 30-50's, but that all changed in the 60's and it has been downhill since then."

Speak for yourself. I have a beautiful 24 year old daughter who was raised by two people who worked hard to provide a life that was better than what we knew as children.

She never had to come home and watch 'filth' on television or live in fear and want. She was raised right and is now a giver to society and not a self indulgent 'child of boomers'.

This world of ours will never be a utopia. If you want serenity, go to heaven. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'll still be shovelin' the shit.

49 posted on 07/26/2006 9:43:17 AM PDT by telebob
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To: stylin19a

"shhhhhhh! no truth allowed...the myth makes 'em feel better."


This is 2006, by their mythology, the people born from 1986 to 2004 are running the country and it's institutions.





50 posted on 07/26/2006 9:43:46 AM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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