Female Baby Boomers came out in droves for the Women’s March all over the world and their signs contained messages like “I can’t believe I’m still protesting this sh–.”
Baby Boomers have come out of their activist retirement in response to President Donald Trump.
Activist group Three Parks Independent Democrats has seen a huge spike in Baby Boomer membership. The influx of participation in the 42-year-old group is by and large from people of a mature age, said Three Parks board member Lynn Max, who met her husband in 1972 while campaigning for women’s rights leader Congresswoman Bella Abzug.
“It’s more of the baby boomers who have been doing this since the 60s getting active again,” Steve Max said. Chuck Wall, a self-described “typical West Side progressive” first flexed his activist muscle as an undergrad at Columbia University during its contentious student protests in 1968. “Your views are formed by the experiences you have at that time in your life,” Wall told Metro. But his life as a book editor kept him largely away from civic activism, until he retired, and then walked into the Three Parks storefront a few months ago. “Then I found myself selling buttons on Broadway and taking buses down to Pennsylvania to try make the election go our way,” he said.
“There isn’t this sense of a generation strife or generational grievances as there was in the protests of the 60s and 70s,” Kauffman said.
“I was very young,” Seregi said of the days she first started fighting for gender equality. “We were looked down upon. But this is an intelligent, experienced, more positive group. I don’t feel like they are going to come mow us down. I remember arguing with my parents and my parents’ friends about the stance I was taking. Now here I am with the three of us in perfect harmony.”
While the spike in Baby Boomer protest participation rises, Baby Boomers are much more likely to describe their political views as conservative than as liberal. This includes the large baby boom generation, of whom 44% identified as conservative and 21% as liberal last year.
That 23-percentage-point conservative advantage is less than the 31-point edge for the older traditionalist generation, but greater than those for Generation Xers and millennials. In fact, millennials are about as likely to say they are liberal as to say they are conservative.
It seems as if these particular protests are more about the causes then the affiliated party, in retaliation to the Donald Trump presidency. “We’re seeing a lot of people who had been activists in the past, but maybe it was on the backburner, maybe for a while they were donating money but weren’t out on the street, and now they’re out with us again, bringing a wealth of experience,” L.A. Kauffmann, author of “Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism,” told Metro. The issues at hand span the gamut of civil, human and environmental rights hard fought and won over the last 50 years, she said. “It’s a cluster of overlapping movements, and Trump has succeeded in awakening them all,” Kauffman said.