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The Shaping Of A Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer
by John Jazwiec

The Baby Boomer generation - 1946 to 1964 - against the backdrop of other generational stereotypes (like Gen X 1965 to 1975, Gen Y 1976 to 1995) - are, like all stereotypes, not absolutes and cover too many years.

I call my generation the Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer generation. We watched television with our parents. We were not a part of any protest movement.  Hippies were a bad word in the house. Speaking of television, we hardly watched it. We played outside and became immersed in the 1970s black fashion period. The very first record I bought in 1975 was by Stevie Wonder. Speaking of 1975, the closest we came to Richard Nixon, was SNL.

SNL formed the basis of my views on culture and as it does to this very day. Parody and stand-up comedy was what I was interested in. So I tried it along with being an Italian restaurant waiter while working my way through five years of college. I wasn't a very good comic, but my job as a waiter was great training for the rest of my life.

Undergraduate and graduate studies turned to the serious business of economics. You couldn't have grown up in Chicago without being influenced by Reagan's supply-side economics taught by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.

This led to what was a political break within my family. My family was made up of the Chicago Democrat Machine. I in turn, became an Alex P Keaton Republican. The break was as sharp - using my Southern friends terminology - as switching from a Dodge to a Ford truck. "We didn't raise him that way".

I would be a solid Republican through Reagan and Bush 41. I hated Bill Clinton and supported 41 and Dole. I was genuinely apoplectic about the 2000 election. But by 2004, I was convinced that Bush 43 wasn't a true conservative. But it's not like I jumped on the John Kerry bandwagon. 

But while I would have voted for John McCain because he was my hero, I felt that the country was better of with what I saw as a smart, inspiring, centrist, pragmatic, charismatic young man who was the president of the Harvard Law Review. A constitutional professor. An outsider. 

I never changed my party's allegiance from 2008 to 2016. I was waiting for Jeb Bush. Trump was instead nominated with his anti-conservative messaging, generally destructive derogatory statements, ignorance and anti-morality - which combined with the GOP establishment mostly embracing him - turned me from a registered Republican to an Independent to a wait-and-see Democratic Obama-centrist. I am still waiting.

Whether it is Trump or guns for conflict resolution with anti-socialists, I can't forget what my Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer childhood was like. When you played outside, there was no such thing as being anti-social. Your mom kicked you out of the house from dawn to dusk. All conflict resolution was settled right there and them. Everyday there was a fight about the most trivial things. You fought for five minutes, got it out of your system and went back to being friends.

I also can't forget that we embraced a multi-cultural world, not just because they were our friends, but in our attitudes that we were all Americans. So this older Baby Boomer attitude - of exclusion and race-biting - is foreign to me. 

That's not to say, that my Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomers ended up being homogeneous. Most of my friends never went to college. They never read books. They were not interested in anything that didn't have to do with themselves. They became socially and economically disenfranchised. So, they fit right in with the older Baby Boomers.

So, when you read this blog, I hope this helps in interpreting who is writing it. 


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From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

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