Friday, June 6, 2008

Presidential Generational Transitions

I was born less than a year after John Kennedy was elected president.

He was the first president of the 20th century to be born in the 20th century, May 29, 1917 to be exact.

He, and then all the subsequent presidents up through the elder Bush, all had the Depression and/or World War II playing a significant role in shaping their personal natures.

And all these presidents were at least 35 years older than me.

So it was a bit jarring at first when Bill Clinton was elected, since he was the first president in my life that was more of my parents generation, than that of my grandparents.

Clinton, and George W. Bush, were shaped for good or ill by the 60s/Vietnam era.

Two of the three candidates competing prior to the recently concluded primaries were also of that era, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

And now, we're looking at a possible transition to the next generation of presidents. Barack Obama is literally only 7 weeks older than me. We were 8 when the 60s ended. I grew up as a small town kid in that time, and I have only the haziest recollections of Vietnam, hippies, and Nixon. I have no recollection of the assassinations of MLK or Robert Kennedy (although oddly enough I do recall my mom pointing at the TV and telling me the president had been shot when I was a little over 2 years old).

Moving beyond that whole 60s and Vietnam era and mindset is something I have long been looking forward to, and I'm very happy to see that the first candidate of my generation to have a shot at the presidency is one who really is an embodiment of the best that we have to offer.

Obama '08!

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