(Editor's note from 2013: this analysis got the demographics wrong, because in 1987 I didn't realize I was smack dab in the middle of Gen X, the children of the baby bust, and smallest generational cohort of modern times. The millennials were the kids I was unwittingly referring to, and their influence wouldn't be felt until the year 2000. I got the name of Reagan's successor wrong, but not the fact that it would be another conservative Republican. I predicted military involvement in Panama two years ahead of our 1989 invasion, and intervention in the Middle East, although George H.W. Bush plunged us into war with Iraq, not Iran. Also, AIDS never became a health crisis that threatened the hetrosexual majority in the U.S., but I based that prediction on information available at the time. But for all the mass media stereotypes about our generation being a slacker nation, the early to mid 90s saw more student activism flower than at any time since the 60s, so in that respect I called it right.)
Born to the most populous generation our country has ever known, the sons and daughters of most "baby boomers" are only now amidst their stormy adolescence. I feel that a definite parallel can be drawn between American social conditions of the 1950s and 1980s, and therefore see no reason why large numbers of this "boomlet" might not soon participate in another wide ranging and significant counterculture explosion. Hey, the signs are there....and in the wake of eight long years of Reaganism a double-barreled blast of radicalism may be just what is needed to rid this country of irrationalism and injustice.
For the youth of this country, the 1950s were smothered by an atmosphere of overwhelming conformity, apathy and boredom. Many Americans of this period viewed themselves as living in an affluent, stable society, in which success was guaranteed to those who ingrained themselves within the system. This attitude stifled both creativity and dissent, in addition to fostering a society founded on materialistic ideals. A look at our own time reveals that recently, these conditions have reappeared within our nation. Young people of the 1980s are passive observers, uninformed about matters of concern. Like their predecessors of the 1950s, they are pre-beatnik, pre-radical, pre-hippie youngsters who within ten years, assuming all goes as predicted here, will play an active role in this country's next wave of mass rebellion/resistance.
The youthful idealism of many baby boomers was shattered during the 1960s by several key events, not the least of which were the massive and continuous U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. I do not think that the turbulent 1990s will explode in reaction to either a catalyzing event the likes of JFK's untimely death, nor a common cause such as a straightforward desire to end a specific war. Rather, children of the 1980s will rebel when the tide of irrationality is simply too much to bear....or rather, in response to a combination of unfortunate conditions. I foresee the conservative policies and measures which will be implemented by the Dole administration following the Senator's ascension to our presidency in 1988 as one of these conditions; the crisis which will arise as the AIDS virus completely infiltrates our nation's heterosexual population (and deaths multiply tenfold, into the hundreds of thousands) as another; and direct military involvement in many global areas (including the Phillipines, Iran, and Panama) as still more developments which might radicalize the youth of our time.
So, will (among other things) a backlash against the realization that we have elected another leader in pursuit of ill-minded policies spark this next rebellious wave of which I speak? Obviously the American Left is currently but a shriveled ghost of its past, and certainly in no position to pose a serious threat to any misguided champion of conservatism in 1988. Returning to our 1950s-1980s parallel, I would place the state of our nation in A.D. 1987 as corresponding approximately with that of 1960. Only recently has the renewed voice of youthful (and not-so-youthful) protest begun to be heard, and as the next few years unfold, other conditions which fostered the spirit of rebellion may duplicate themselves as well. Already there are other student revolutions taking place in far-flung nations for American radicals of tomorrow to emulate....witness South Korea, for one. Young, bearded visionaries make good, liberate homelands....sound familiar? Is Nicaragua another Cuba in its salad days, before Fidel lost his mind....in other words, a working socialist society which may inspire countless numbers of disaffected youth? Born and raised in the 1980s, American youth of today will come of age in the 1990s amidst an explosion the likes of which has been absent from our society for far too long.