It is said that America's WWII generation is its "greatest generation." But my greatest fear is that it will become known as America's "last generation." Born in the bleakness of the Great Depression and hardened in the fire of WWII, they may be the last American generation that understands the meaning of duty, honor, and sacrifice. It is difficult to admit, but I know these terms are spoken with only hollow detachment by many (but not all) in my generation. Too many citizens today mistake "living in America" as "being an American." But America has always been more of an idea than a place. When you sign on, you do more than buy real estate. You accept a set of values and responsibilities. This November, my generation, which has been absent too long, must grasp that 100 years from now historians will look back at the election of 2004 and see it as the decisive election of our century. Depending on the outcome, they will describe it as the moment America joined the ranks of ordinary nations; or they will describe it as the moment the prodigal sons and daughters of the greatest generation accepted their burden as caretakers of the City on the Hill."The weakening actually began with the next-elders to the Baby Boomers, who remembered the winning years of the Second World War and came of age at a time to capitalize on the prosperity. Now they are overrepresented in the ranks of the smug pacifists (hat tip: Atlantic Blog) as the first commenter to the post noted. And they vote in sufficient numbers to keep any administration from coming to grips with the chain-letter known as Social "Security."
On the other hand, Andrew Sullivan is in the position of contemplating which of the two major presidential contenders is the lesser evil, while King at SCSU Scholars argues it is crucial for voters to recognize which contender is more alert to the greater evil.