Sorry, young people.
Thanks to us old Baby Boomers you Millennials and Zoomers are now living in a world of trouble.
We — your parents and grandparents — have screwed up before. Big-time.
The Iraq War. The Great Recession of 2008. The creation of a gargantuan Surveillance/Security/Welfare/Warfare State that will never die, never shrink and can never be paid for.
And then, almost overnight and with little dissent, we hit you with the Great American Shutdown.
In less than three months we blew up the world’s richest economy, threw millions of you out of work, disrupted your daily lives and did your once bright futures unimaginable and irreparable harm.
Our medical experts, political leaders, government bureaucrats and elite media terribly mishandled the coronavirus pandemic from Day One.
First, we assured you Covid-19 was no threat to the people of the United States.
Remember? It was just another new virus from China, hardly different from the seasonal flus that quietly and without media fanfare kill 40,000 or 50,000 of your parents and grandparents each year.
A month later we scared the hell out of you, declaring that Covid-19 was an existential threat that had to be fought and defeated at any social or economic cost.
The Boomers in charge of your lives — the president, his medical task force, Congress and most state governors — were spooked.
With little if any political and scientific debate and no push-back from the expert-worshiping journalists of the major print and electronic media, our leaders took quick, unprecedented and often Constitutionally questionable action.
They told you we had to shut down America to “flatten the curve” of the virus and slow its spread before it overwhelmed our woefully unprepared healthcare system.
They told everyone who was not “essential” they had to “shelter in place” — the new Orwellian term for being forced to stay in your homes like bad children.
We aging Boomers across America — the folks most of you young people used to work for — should be ashamed of ourselves for having accepted the Great Shutdown so docilely.
We hardly made a peep.
Overnight we threw 40 million people out of work — many of them poor. We were too dumb, too trusting and too afraid to question or challenge the people in charge.
We Boomers, we children of the Greatest Generation, we former restless challengers of government authority and wrongdoing, chickened out and pretty much shut up and did as we were told.
We justified, rationalized and excused the most arbitrary edicts of power-mad governors in Maine, Pennsylvania and Michigan who closed ocean beaches, nature parks and restaurants but kept liquor stores and gun stores open.
We closed up our non-essential businesses, stood six feet away from each other at the grocery store like good robots and cowered in our homes.
We sewed face masks, binge-watched Netflix and pretended we were not sheep. Few of us even noticed the trashing of the Bill of Rights, much less complained about it.
We spoiled and aging children of the Greatest Generation should be ashamed.
Instead of sticking up for your freedoms, we passively allowed President Trump and the governors of most states to throw the richest economy in the world into a medically and politically induced coma.
To paper-over the crippling economic damage wrought by their Great Shutdown, the Boomers in Washington printed $4 trillion of free money the country doesn’t really have.
It was a band-aid to millions of out-of-work Americans in the short term. But you young people and your kids will have to pay for it eventually with higher taxes, inflation and a lower standard of living.
We Boomers — actually, the political leaders we’ve elected in both parties — have risked your futures by overreacting and mismanaging the response to the pandemic.
Your lives will be never be as good or easy as ours were. Many things are going to change for the worse in ways you and no expert can predict.
The Great Shutdown was a human and financial blunder that will go down in U.S. history as the domestic equivalent of the Iraq War.
It’s too late to fix. The only thing we Boomers can do now is reopen the country as fast as possible, take better care of the sick and the vulnerable and apologize.