DYCHE | Not so famous last words
This is my last column for WDRB.com. It has been an honor and a privilege to have this forum.
By John David Dyche
This is my last column for WDRB.com. It has been an honor and a privilege to have this forum. The folks at WDRB are fine journalists and even finer people.
A few final thoughts before I fade away. They may be familiar to you few, you happy few, you band of regular readers. Simply put, I am very worried about the state of things from the global to the local and individual levels.
My generation, born in the 1960s bears a lot of the responsibility for the current situation. I once called my cohorts The John-John Generation after the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. who in some ways characterized us.
Those who endured the Great Depression, won World War II and the Cold War, and produced incredible prosperity along the way are rightly acclaimed The Greatest Generation. My John-John Generation may be the worst.
We have excuses, of course. From the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the arrival of the Beatles, the world we entered was changing fast.
The Vietnam War, more assassinations, anti-war and civil rights violence, and Watergate followed. The Seventies were awful in almost every way.
We distrusted and forsook once respected institutions. Compared to the past fewer of us served in the military or went to church. We were raised largely by television and otherwise indulged.
Our generation knew no times of national crisis that brought the entire country together or called for sacrifice and struggle that would shape our collective character.
There was a renaissance of sorts in the Eighties. The last wave of the Greatest Generation led it.
Baby Boomers, which technically included some of us, were an intermediate step in the descent. Of Boomer presidents, Bill Clinton had prodigious political ability but moral flaws while George W. Bush was the reverse.
Barack Obama, The John-John Generation's first president, has been hugely significant in both symbolic and substantive ways. He not only broke a racial barrier, but also fundamentally changed the country as he wanted.
Obama will leave the country in mind-boggling debt, weaker, and nearer to despotism. An entitlement mentality has further displaced quaint notions of self-reliance.
National Democrats do not see it that way, however. They are determined to move even further to the political Left, even if it decimates the party at state and local levels.
Republicans are divided, which is nothing new, but this split is becoming especially bitter. Idea-oriented Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, both born in the 1970s, project optimism and promote prudent policy reforms. But they may be losing a fight for the GOP soul to nativist and populist demagogues.
Meanwhile, the global economy is slow, undemocratic powers like China, Iran, and Russia are on the rise, barbaric Islamic terrorists are slaughtering innocents en masse around the world, and a migrant tide washing over Europe makes what was once called Christendom an endangered species.
American culture has dangerously deteriorated. Technological advancements outstrip our ethics as fundamental family and community structures decay or disappear with no satisfactory substitutes in sight.
The drumbeat of bad news can seem so deafening and depressing that one cannot help but despair, especially for the coming generations. Many have already succumbed, a reality that manifests itself in drug abuse, gun violence, voter apathy, and countless everyday obscenities brought immediately to our consciousness by social media.
Yet the only options are to surrender or fight. We can give up or work to save ourselves and our way of life.
All is not yet lost, of course. Encouragement and inspiration are all around. Myriad acts of heroism, signs of hope, works of compassion, and everyday displays of courage, genius, and love reassure us that there is hope.
Maybe it will fall to Generation X or the Millennials to save the day their elders despoiled, but The John-John Generation's time has not yet passed. Heck, it looks likely that America will look even further back to the Baby Boomers, or beyond ("Feel the Bern!") for "new" leadership.
If you have read many of my columns you will know one thing for sure: I am often wrong. So take solace.
As I leave you, at least in this venue, allow me to paraphrase Richard Nixon, that quintessential politician of the John-John Generation. Just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Dyche to kick around anymore because this is my last column … at least here.
Thanks again to WDRB.com, and to all who have read and responded to my opinions it has published.
(John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and political commentator. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.)
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