Walter Russell Mead has written a thought-provoking piece titled “Listen up Boomers: The Backlash has Begun” in which he looks at my generation with a clear eye toward assigning to us much of the blame for the situation we find ourselves in as a nation. “…at the level of public policy and moral leadership, as a generation we have largely failed.”

My daughter is politically conservative, a traditionalist Christian faith adherent who saw her mother’s generation as immoral, immature, materialistic, selfish, irresponsible, hedonistic, and more.  Not particularly the qualities one wants to be ascribed to from their offspring.  It made for one or two interesting discussions.

Yet as time has marched on and my hair has turned “a paler shade of gray”, I agree with her. My generation – the boomers — tuned in, turned on and dropped out. We thought we ruled the world, and in a way we did.  We set the trends — for clothes, music, culture. In my youth, my formative years, our mantra was trust no one over 30. We were the population bulge that changed American values, though not necessarily for the better.

We are the generation that accepted the behavior of the multi-millionaire CEO with the trophy wife. 

We are the generation that failed to protect its children from a tide of filth and debasing popular entertainment without parallel in the history of the world.  

We are a generation that deliberately and cynically passed the cost of its retirement down to its children. 

We are a generation that preferred and rewarded financial engineering over business construction. 

We lost control of the borders and failed to make provisions for the illegal immigrants our fecklessness allowed into the country. 

We embraced a free trade agenda that accelerated the hollowing out of manufacturing and took no thought about what to build in place of the industrial economy we condemned.  

We shopped until we dropped, and then we got up and shopped some more. 

On a scale unprecedented in American history, we broke the most solemn vows human beings can make in order to pursue something we deemed much more important than honor and fidelity. 

We chased chimeras and started at fantasies but failed to take sober measures to prevent a clearly visible and, once upon a time, easily preventable budget crunch.

Is there time to redeem ourselves, to rectify the damage we’ve done?