OK, boomers, it’s time to get to work

The United States is facing divisive crises, and older Americans — experienced Americans — owe it to themselves and their kids and grandkids to push the nation in a better direction.

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Columnists

October 18, 2021 - 9:47 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter while working on a Habitat for Humanity build in 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. Mr. Carter was then 91; Mrs. Carter, 88. The Carters are wonderful role models of how to volunteer in their senior years, including election reform measures. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

About 10,000 Americans a day turn 60 (that’s roughly the same number of Americans born each day), and each of us passing that mark will live, on average, an additional 23 years and seven months. This is the baby boomer cohort, and along with the older “silent generation,” we hold 70% of the nation’s wealth. We vote — people in the 60-plus age group were about 50% more likely to cast a ballot in 2020 than those ages 18 to 29. But we also watch about five hours of television a day.

We can and should be doing more. The United States is facing divisive crises, and older Americans — experienced Americans — owe it to themselves and their kids and grandkids to push the nation in a better direction. The two of us are over 60, and we hope — we trust — that our peers who care about civil rights, economic justice and environmental sanity are ready to direct their life skills and resources toward the common good.

After all, in its first act, our cohort participated in or bore witness to profound political and cultural shifts for the better: We shaped or were shaped by — and benefited from — the civil rights movement, the drive for women’s equality, and the massive campaigns against the war in Vietnam. If you’re about 70 now, you were about 20 on the first Earth Day, which means there was a pretty good chance you were out in the street

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