Today, let’s talk about transitions.  David Crosby died this week.  He was part of the generation of musicians that created that unique alloy of folk and rock that became so popular in the late 60s & 70’s. As a founding member of the Byrds and of Crosby, Stills. Nash, & Young, his sound was instantly recognizable to a generation.

This week, so many of us revisited music by CSN & Y- and old memories. Classical music is timeless art. Popular music is time-bound and very specifically so. Listen:

I don’t know about you, but that sound takes me to another time and place. 

Despite the War in Vietnam, the enormous divisions in our country in those years, it was a more innocent time and place. And, despite the tough lyrics, the music reflects that innocence. It is music that loses its moorings in this revanchist, post Trump, backlash to racial reckoning, Christian nationalist age.

The music and the lyrics and Crosby’s life- with its drugs, and jail time, his failed families, and his professional ups and downs- these were complicated or honest or tough or reflective of the fullness of life. But the music also embodied that sense among Baby Boomers that we were all part of the same thing… and therein lies the innocence. 

Today’s divisions leave us feeling like we are not all in the same boat. We lack the healing power of belonging. Instead, we feel besieged just when there’s the chill coming off a new and difficult season. 

When the Boomers first showed up, the generations that preceded us did not stint. They raised taxes and built new schools, new subdivisions, new universities and new highways to connect us. 

What followed was the greatest creation of wealth in the history of the world and boomers holds most of this wealth. 

Today, it is not uncommon for Gen X, Gen Z, and Millennials to wonder whether they will ever have the comforts their parents had. They look at climate change and are angry with boomers for their selfishness. 

But time is not on the Boomer’s side any more.  I am one of its youngest members, and I now get medicare coverage.

Maybe this explains some of our politics.

Because what feels like a desperate attempt to cling to power may be something else- an effort to stave off mortality. 

We now have a large portion of the baby boomer generation returning to the idea of belonging, but this time without the innocence. Instead of a place for us all, they want membership to be exclusive. 

Deja Vu

“Our House” written by Graham Nash is featured on the 1970 album “Deja Vu” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

In some ways it always was.  Our house- the one with two cats in the yard, where life used to be so hard… when I listen to that now, I don’t hear a song about everyone’s house.

It is only because of our progress that we now see it more clearly. On the cusp of a truly interracial democracy with real shared power we revisit that song and it doesn’t sound like us any more.

For people like me, that is a sign of hard fought progress. For others, it is terrifying.

And now, we have the debt ceiling. It is unthinkable that America would default on its debt. Doing so would mean financial ruin for tens of millions. It would end the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency, increasing costs on everything and driving markets sharply down. But as the Baby Boomers prepare to leave the stage, they are threatening to blow it all up.

The financial system, the idea of equality, democracy itself.

Now, to be sure, this is not the whole of the Baby Boomer generation. There are people like you and me who are determined to pass on a better world, and a nation fit for those who follow us.  But nothing explains our current turmoil quite so clearly as passing of power now underway from America’s largest generation.

For a closer look at the impact of the Boomer generation and what’s coming next, be sure to read Philip Bump’s important new book “The Aftermath: the last days of the Baby Boom and the future of power in America.”

This post originally appeared on It’s the democracy, stupid

Musings About David Crosby Passing and the Boomer Generation was last modified: by

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