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Cody Atkins, Fargo, Published July 18 2012

The baby boomers’ political idolatry signals a requiem for a generation

One complaint I have about our national political consciousness today is that the largest and most active voting bloc in this country, the so-called baby boomers, have generally decided to become political purists. What this means exactly is a bit of a conundrum because it appears political purists only see progress for their state or country under a single set of ideas. All other ideas are not only wrong, they are also dangerous ... if other ideas of how to move forward are allowed, those ideas will ruin this country ... so on and so forth.

The recent health care ruling is a good example: It’s either going to ruin us or save us, according to the political purist.

Unfortunately, the very concept of a political purist within a working democracy is at best an oxymoron. If all you have are Zooks on one side and Yooks on the other, then ideas get stifled, as well as progress.

What we have today is the culmination of an affluent generation that has been intellectually spoiled for so long that they believe their ideas are good simply because they utter them. Baby boomers, on a general and national level at least, refuse to compromise because they see their ideas as sacred. They forgot that some ideas are good while others are bad and that compromise within a democracy is part of the process of running government.

I’m not presumptuous enough to tell the baby boomers what they need to think because first, they’re political purists, and second, ideas within a working democracy should not be seen as dangerous. The idea that ideas are dangerous is nothing more than a manifestation of pessimism about an individual’s future. Freud would have called that something like transference, but I would call that something like hubris because this country will be here long after every baby boomer is gone, regardless of which party is in power.

The only way this country will somehow get ruined is if the quiet, hard-working consumer of this letter keeps allowing the most active voters of this country – baby boomers – to vote in their political-purist-so-nothing-goes-anywhere style. We always need political ideas to make a democracy function, but the stalemates of our two-party system in places like Washington, D.C., and California prove that political idolatry only leads to dysfunction.