Trump’s Graying Army

A couple of phrases immediately jumped out at me from this Atlantic piece by Alex Wagner. “a sea of gray and white” and “a bygone generation’s last furious gasp against modernity.” A lot of revealing stats (and insights) in this piece.

“Someone who is 70 today was born in 1946 and grew up in the Beaver Cleaver world of the 1950s, an anomalous period of time in America when the postwar economy was booming and the dominant culture had not yet been disrupted by the civil-rights movement and the sexual revolution. Today’s old people are the last Americans who will ever remember that bygone country—and they see the current election as their last chance to restore it.”

“The voters who are now eligible for Social Security are the last Americans remaining who remember what life was like before the 1960s revolution in American culture. “Those years of the ’50s were the last years of segregation, moms in suburban kitchens, gas-guzzling station wagons, and none of the conveniences of modern technology,” noted UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck. Particularly for those who were children at the time, the era carries a romantic cast.”

That would be me. Not sure how romantic I feel about the 50s. A good time to grow up in a small town. If you were white. But people of color had to sit in the balcony at the Palace Theater. They had to use a separate restroom and water fountain at Tommie’s Drive-In. And they couldn’t use the municipal swimming pool at all. So, a little less romantic.

And don’t miss the part about the Villages, “the world’s largest age-restricted gated community—a 40-mile-by-40-mile planned development where only those over 55 may settle. Home to more than 150,000 people, it is the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan area for several years running.”