In 1967, Time named boomers its Person of the Year. But today, self-critical boomer pundits and politicians have contributed to stereotypes of 48-to-66-year-olds as a profligate, selfish generation fixated on short-term gratification while running up mountainous debts that jeopardize not only their future, but also their children’s and grandchildren’s. (See the Next Avenue blog post: The Dirty Little Secret About Baby Boomer Debt.)
The term "boomer" has become an epithet of derision. Books and websites with “boomer” in the title usually flop. Advertisers shun the term “baby boomer” even while targeting this relatively rich demographic that controls $2 trillion in annual spending, according to eMarketer.com.
It’s about time that boomers “rebrand” themselves loudly and proudly, proclaiming their positive legacy of social and cultural change.
The boomers’ Greatest Generation parents are celebrated for enduring the Great Depression and for saving democracy in World War II. However, as Leonard Steinhorn argues in The Greater Generation, boomers receive far less credit for “fighting the war at home” against racism, sexism and homophobia.
The Census Bureau has released a menu-driven, interactive Web page permitting users to access for any state a series of graphs showing percentages of adults who voted and registered in every congressional and presidential election between 1996 and 2010. Here are data showing that voting and registration rates tend to increase with age. In 2010, only 21 percent of 18-to 24-year old citizens voted, compared with 61 percent of those 65 and older.