Image Credit: Like_The_Grand_Canyon
The newest sensation in political discourse has arrived. Forget the general election. Forget the presidential elections in the US. Forget Brexit. Forget everything you thought you knew, because a New Zealand MP has used “okay boomer” to dismiss a heckler while she was giving an impassioned speech about climate change and the crowds (also known as twitter) have gone wild! It’s such a perfect phrase: only two words long but they have the power to offend an entire generation.
The video of 25 year old New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick using the phrase went viral for all the right reasons but, unbelievably, it’s sparked a genuinely serious discourse around acceptable language to use during political debate. I find this absolutely ridiculous. “okay boomer” is a meme, and it’s been used online as a way of dismissing what’s seen as out of touch older generations but it’s almost always been used humorously. I guess the fact that boomers are actually offended by the words just reinforces how out of touch they are, making the phrase even more sublime.
I am willing to admit that it could be viewed as a bit insensitive. Saying “okay boomer” at every little thing you disagree with might be funny now, but it’ll grow very tired very quickly. And it also puts all boomers in the same stereotypical category, as out of touch and politically conservative. This is obviously not the case for every baby boomer, young people would have it much worse if it weren’t for a multitude of boomers fighting our corner politically. However, it is the case for a significant, vocal majority of the greatest generations’ offspring, and they are very fond of saying millennials and young people are “snowflakes” and can’t handle “freedom of speech”. These same people are now claiming that “okay boomer” is discriminatory language and, do you know what? They’re right.
Young people are angry. Maybe not all of us but again, a vocal majority, and we are angry that our interests and futures are consistently ignored by a generation that think they know better based on no evidence! It's a generation that presided over horrific wars like Iraq and the economic collapse of 2008, and has since been responsible for policies that hurt young people: tuition fees, school funding cuts, and most recently Brexit, where 60 per cent of those over 65 voted to leave the EU. There is scarcely a young person that has not been affected by boomers and their political decisions, so we can hardly be blamed for being a bit miffed.
Personally, I love using “okay boomer” in political discussions, especially on Twitter. It fills me with joy using it to annoy someone who’s completely ignoring facts and acting dismissively towards myself or other young people because boomers can’t handle being dismissed in the same way they’ve been dismissing young people for years now. However, the thing everyone’s missing in this discussion is that young people, like Chlöe Swarbrick, are growing up, and they’re becoming lawmakers. "Okay boomer" might just be a meme, and it should probably stay that way, but young people can’t be dismissed for much longer and we have not forgotten all of the injustices done to us by older generations over the years.
Old people run the world, but they won’t rule it forever. If boomers are offended by being dismissed by young people, maybe they should start listening to our concerns and treat us like their equals. Until that happens, whenever a boomer tries to explain to me how good conservatism has been for the country, I know what my response will be. Say it with me: “okay boomer."