Is this what Bob Dylan had in mind?

Come Senators, congressmen, please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall…

Ah, how simple it was in 1964. You knew who the good guys were, you knew who the bad guys were. You listened to that raspy voice of Bob Dylan, to the underproduced harmonica, and you were positive you had the whole world figured out.

But now there’s a new generation of senators and congressmen standing in the doorway and blocking the hall, and it isn’t as obvious who are the “progressives” and who are the “reactionaries.”

As governments threaten to implode on unsustainable debts, let’s remember that the “seniors” who are fighting to hang on to their threatened benefits are the very same people who were inspired by such lyrics as…

The loser now will be later to win…


He who gets hurt will be he who has stalled…


The present now will later be past, the order is rapidly fadin’

But now the radicals of the past are the established majority of the present – and they (we, because I’m one of them) have no intention of letting go, either of our power at the ballot box or the entitlements we believe are ours. In fact, we want more – forget about cutting pensions (a distinct possibility in the USA, where the Social Security Administration openly acknowledges there isn’t enough dough to feed the entitlement stream), the ones we’re getting aren’t nearly enough…especially since we’re all going to live to 100.

But is this really a conservative or reactionary position? It could equally be argued that we – the Boomers and seniors – are still the true revolutionaries. We have come to realize that the “established” order of things – massive government deficits – are not sustainable. We are questioning the idea that government bureaucracies should have as much control as they do – and we’re questioning it not on ideological grounds, but on pragmatic ones: government has bitten off more than it can chew, it can’t deliver services effectively, government bureaucrats should not be immune from the same pressures and consequences as the rest of us (i.e., being fired for incompetence), etc., etc.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Tea Party represents a radical departure from the established order in the USA – and look at the average age. Compare voter preferences between Republicans and Democrats, or in Canada between Conservatives and Liberals, based on age. And look at which parts of the political spectrum – so-called “progressive” vs. so-called “conservative” – are actually defending the established order, and which parts are calling for radical change.

Because make no mistake – dismantling big government, untouchable bureaucracy, and neverending deficits is a radical  change. So you could argue that Bob Dylan’s audience is simply running true to form: we were ready to overturn the established order when we were young, and we’re still ready to overturn it today.

I don’t know if Bob Dylan would see it that way, though…


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. Vice President, Zoomer Media Ltd. . Author of "The New Old" . 30 years experience in marketing communications, advertising, media . Speaker, writer, commentator on the revolution in aging and how to market to Boomers and seniors

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