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'Generation Must Show Itself'

January 11, 1988

Webber misses the point in his criticism of the baby boom generation. It is not that my generation has give up its values, but rather that other, more numerous, conservative groups in U.S. society have seized social and political power. Three groups, in particular, have joined forces to swamp the values my generation represents: the so-called "Silent Majority," the Depression generation and the 15-30-year-old yuppie generation. Each of these groups, for its own reasons, has a basis for preferring the selfish conservatism of the '80s over the values of the '60s generation.

The Silent Majority felt frightened and threatened by the dramatic social changes of the '60s, especially sexual liberation and equality for women, and took the first opportunity to oppose these changes.

Many in the Depression generation were so starved for material goods (and even food) in their youth that they have always valued material wealth over anything else. They resent that others should have a floor of welfare and food stamps under them.

The current yuppie generation faces a tighter economy than we did in the '60s--a leaner, meaner economy in which natural resources cost far more and the only thing easy to spare is people. They have to compete harder just to stay in place.

I served in the Peace Corps in 1963-65 and marched in almost every march against the Vietnam War in Berkeley in the late '60s. Ronald Reagan's "aw shucks" phoniness and right-wing conservatism are just as repulsive to me today as they were when he was elected governor in 1966.

For me, the time cannot come too soon when American society comes to value people more than defense industry boondoggles, and equality more than privilege for the selfish few. My generation's voice is not extinguished, but ignored.

MARCIA J. BATES

Van Nuys

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