You Say You Want a Revolution?

A boomer on her generation's legacy and lessons learned


| Utne Reader September / October 2007


On a recent sunny afternoon, two young men ambled down the sidewalk in front of my house, laughing and talking, one of them pounding the other on the arm in that curious way men do when they're bonding. Just two guys hanging out, a completely ordinary sight.

Except that each was pushing a brightly colored stroller. Whenever they paused to offer one baby a sippy cup or adjust the other's position in the stroller, they cooed, then went back to their conversation as smoothly as a Beamer shifting from third to second and back again.

I was so moved, so proud, I nearly wept. If you don't understand why, it's a good guess you're under the age of 50. And you certainly never went through The Wars.

Culture wars, that is. Having lived through a decade and then some in which every core value was turned inside out and backward, subjected to examination and experimentation, challenged, questioned and re-thought, I can tell you: My generation went through some stuff.

We caught a glimpse of a world that could work for people and the planet, and in myriad ways, we took a stand for that world. Being a pain in the ass about alternative energy, healthy food, medical care, domestic chores, workplace equality, war and peace, sex and intimacy, and, well, absolutely everything might have earned my generation the reputation of being narcissistic and self-righteous. But it paid off.

Those two young fathers, my neighborhood co-op, the hybrid car I drive to the office where I'm a valued member of the management team are reminders that some of those Goliaths I battled are slowly sinking to their knees.

Béatrice Quasnik
12/29/2007 12:00:00 AM

I live in Paris, and got this issue of Utne Reader through my son who is currently living there. ""You say you want a Revolution" was the first article I picked up. I was riding a bus is Paris. The moment I started reading I was so moved, so proud I really wept. I had to get off the bus, and I crossed a bridge over the river Seine with the magazine open. I realized that what KC Compton wrote was exactly what I needed for years. Some comment on those years that reflected my deep feelings and experience. Not what is contorted by the media and followed by people of my generation that seem to have forgotten who we were. And who I know i'm still. I have translated the article in french to share it with my friends. I would like to thank so much KC ( is it Katherine ?" )for her inspiration and Utne who published the article. Please tell K. that she has a friend in Paris (same generation...) in Paris, any time she wants to drop by.