“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
The 2012 Presidential election reinstated Obama as president, but made some big changes in other areas. The states that legalized gay marriage when from six to nine; Maine, Maryland and Minnesota. And recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington.
How have these touchy subjects become so much of the talk now?
The answer is the rise of the New Boomers.
As the Baby Boomers age and eventually pass away, the “new boomers” – aka young voters – are becoming the majority, making once-controversial topics, like gay marriage and marijuana use, acceptable.
The influence of young voters can be traced back to specific states. Since 2008, Massachusetts has pioneered the way for states like Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont to venture in gay marriage, while other states dabbled in civil unions.
Like same sex marriage, California started the trend of state legislators legalizing medicinal marijuana, then Alaska, Oregon and Washington piggybacked on California’s ideals.
Right now, it almost looks like America is going to become more and more progressive, liberal, and in favor of people pursuing their own personal happiness.
But what happens when today’s “new boomers” get old? Will they become their parents? Does every generation turn into stubborn, inflexible senior citizens? And what will that mean for our laws?
Many young people don’t realize it, but their parents had their own social fights when they were young. Fifty years ago, interracial marriage and civil rights were the touchy topics of the day – and on a national level.
Even rock ‘n roll was seen as a satanic, hedonistic type of music. So much so, parents burned their records. And Elvis Presley was seen as too risqué.
The Baby Boomers who fought for interracial marriage to be legal are now often the same people are against gay marriage. However, the idea is the same: let people who love each other be together legally.
This comes back to the idea of having the right to pursue your happiness. This concept has been instilled into our nation by Declaration of Independence as a human right. As long as a person’s pursuit of happiness doesn’t harm themselves or others, you should not have a problem with it.
Of course, all of this brings up an even bigger question — what will people want in the future? What are we comfortable with, by societal means, and what will eventually become a moral problem for us?
We don’t know.
But as the New Boomers get older, there will be societal issues that we, as a generation, won’t agree with.
When that happens, keep these steps in mind:
Expect current controversial issues to become normal, and for a new touchy subject to come up.
Keep an open mind, but recognize that there will be issues you will disagree with. You will get old.
Always come back to these two questions: When a new controversy arises, does that allow the pursuit of happiness? Does that pursuit of happiness harm themselves or others?
Unsigned editorials are written and approved by the SLAMedia Editorial Staff. They do not reflect the opinion of Science Leadership Academy and its employees.