The first time I heard this song was October 24, 1992, and I was covering a get-out-the-vote rally in Carbondale, Illinois, where Hillary Clinton was scheduled to speak. A local band called St. Stephen’s Blues warmed up the crowd, and a sense of promise swept over me. We were on the brink of hiring our first Baby Boomer president. The generation that learned from the civil-rights movement and gave us the peace movement, Second Wave feminism, and the gay-rights movement was poised to take the reins of the country, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
I may be considered Generation X (even though I’m a decade younger than the characters in the novel from which the generation’s name was derived), but I’ve always had tremendous faith in Baby Boomers. I was never one of those kids who feels the need to rebel against the grownups. Why bother? The grownups, when I was a teenager, had already done all the rebelling I’d ever need, and I couldn’t see any reason to oppose them.
Admittedly, some of my beloved Boomers have not aged well. Some have become the thing they hated. Some never fit with their own generation and balked at the progress being made around them. But many — my parents, my aunt, my friends Michael and Suzanne, my late friend Laurel, the folkies, the hippies who never forgot who they were — have disproven the “never trust anyone over 30” mantra in glorious fashion, and my enthusiasm for their generation and its professed ideals of inclusion, pacifism, and environmental responsibility has not waned in the 24 years since I gathered with hundreds of other people on the Old Main Mall, notebook in hand, and heard a song that summed up my feelings as I stood on the brink of adulthood, waiting for my own generation to take the reins.
The wheel’s still in spin.
May it name the right people next week.