Donald Trump: ‘Me generation’ boomer-in-chief

(CNN)The man who will put his hand on the Lincoln Bible on Friday is unlike any president in living memory. But he does not defy understanding. In fact, Donald Trump is a product of his generation, a profoundly narcissistic president who should be regarded as the baby boomer-in-chief.

Boomers came of age in a time of unrivaled wealth and devastating political crisis. Consumerism was matched by an explosion in mass media as television grew from a novelty into an overwhelming cultural force. The Vietnam War and Watergate combined with the trauma of assassinations and riots corroded public trust in authorities and institutions. The result was a rejection of social norms and an intense focus on the self. This is the generation that indulged in New Age navel-gazing, declared that “greed is good” and more than doubled the divorce rate.


    As he demeaned intelligence officials who are united in their assessment of the Russian hack, Trump cast doubt on the legitimacy of their work. With his criticism of the intelligence community, Trump has willfully undermined trust in a key American institution, one vital to national defense. This effort echoes his effort to delegitimize the election process during the campaign — he called it “rigged” — and a lifelong inclination to question the legitimacy of those who oppose him.
    The big problem for Trump is that a leader who plays the game of casting doubt on the motives, methods and standing of others runs the risk of having the tables turned. Generally, public support and goodwill confer the protection of legitimacy on elected officials. However, according to polls, Trump is the least-supported incoming president in decades with just 40% supporting him in a recent poll. Barack Obama’s approval numbers at the same point in his transition was 83%.

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    As he assumes office, Trump will likely be the last “me generation” man or woman to serve as president. The man who spent a lifetime fighting for greater personal wealth, power and acclaim by any means necessary has yet to show any signs that he can also summon the idealism and self-sacrificing impulses shown by likes of John Lewis. Instead, Trump shows every sign of being the kind of disrespectful, self-indulgent, anarchistic and hedonistic boomer that made an entire generation look bad.
    Those who hope for better leadership in today’s Washington would do well to look to others, like Lewis or war hero Sen. John McCain, who actually served and sacrificed in Vietnam. Neither of these men represents the attitudes of the “me generation,” perhaps because they were born before the baby boom began.

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