i wrote this 3.5 years ago back in january 2003 but it came up in a discussion I had recently:
WILL THERE EVER BE A GENERATION X PRESIDENT?
The current President of the United States, George W. Bush, is a boomer. So was his predecessor Bill Clinton. Boomers were born from 1943-1960 and experienced the sixties and Vietnam in their youth and the eighties prosperity/optimism in their rising adulthood. Given that most boomers are just now dominating the political landscape, I expect their generation to be a force for a long time to come.
The generation before the boomers, the Silent Generation (born 1925-1942) never had a president. They still have a few chances – but I expect they never will win the nation’s highest office. People like Dick Cheney, Mike Dukakis, Gary Hart, Walter Mondale, and Colin Powell are all members of the Silent Generation – serious leaders but none of them ever becoming President.
For 32 years (1961-1993), the Presidency was dominated by the generation that preceded the Silents – commonly referred to as the G.I. Generation (or as Tom Brokaw likes to say, “the greatest generation”). Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush 41 all reached young adulthood during World War II. That generation effectively led America through the cold war to its completion.
Because of population trends, I’d argue that the boomer generation has a good chance of doing the same thing and will lead us through the 20-30 year war on terrorism we are now facing.
But were does that leave my generation, Generation X (born 1961-1980)? My generation is saddled right at the bottom of the baby bust. The next generation (the Millennials born from 1981-2002) has experienced one of the largest baby booms in our nation’s history. And though we are represented by people like Congressmen Harold Ford and Devin Nunes, and Senators John Sununu and Norm Coleman, we might never have a President of our own.