Pubdate: Sat, 20 May 2000
Date: 05/20/2000
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Author: Mike Cast

Columns excoriating the excesses and selfishness of the so-called
"boomer generation," including Gregory Kane's "'Me first' generation
inspired our drug woes," (May 10) are becoming quite

Like many pundits who have critiqued this supposedly hedonistic
generation, Mr. Kane is himself a "boomer," so I presume that makes
him feel qualified to generalize and pass judgment.

As a fellow boomer, I have a somewhat different perspective. I recall
going to high school in the late 1960s and seeing several of my
friends' older brothers go off to Vietnam.

Some of them came back wounded - physically and emotionally - and some
became involved with drugs while over there.

Unlike the comparatively privileged sons of the middle class, most of
the male boomers in my working-class neighborhood faced the very real
prospect of getting drafted during the Vietnam war.

I remember the mixed feelings I had about registering for the draft
shortly after seeing the horrible photos of the My Lai massacre in
Life magazine.

Some of us, who were too young to go or lucked out in having a high
draft number, did gravitate to the hippie/drug scene, but for most it
was a passing phase before we got work in a trade, joined the Army or
did something else to follow in the footsteps of our fathers.

I'm thankful the GI Bill gave me money to attend college, get an
education and make something better of my life. I'm also glad I am
able to be a productive citizen in a free nation that, despite its
many warts, is still a great nation.

My story isn't all that different from those of many of my
contemporaries. Most of us don't waste time these days in regret or

We moved on and tried to learn from the past. And we think there
should be a statute of limitations on condemning an entire generation
because of the bad judgment we exhibited in our youth.

Besides, a number of my boomer friends are now donating money to
charities, doing volunteer work in their communities, running
businesses and doing their best to put children through college.

We don't buy the myth about us being the worst generation America ever

We leave those sweeping generalities to the chattering class of
journalists and self-important pundits.

Mike Cast,