CBSNews / February 11, 2009, 2:00 PM

Column: Shifting From Baby Boom To An 'O' Generation

This story was written by Ronald Quiroga, The Daily Campus
About a week and a half has passed since the historic election of the first black President and it seems as if a symbolic torch has been passed from one generation to the next. With the presidential racial barrier broken, a more subtle transition has occurred with the election of a young president. The shift from the mentality of a Baby-boom to an "O" generation demonstrates the public's need for change. Barack Obama is a fresh face, who is free of any attachments to Iraq or Vietnam. His approach to immediate issues will be sincere and well thought-out, not simply executed through the "bombs-away" outlook of the last generation. This step forward in our country's social history will reciprocate a feeling of a "clean slate" with which we can diverge the past from the present.

The up-and-coming generation, or Generation Y, has quickly and affirmatively made a decision for where the United States needs to place its priorities. Generation "Y," according to, encompasses all individuals who were born in the last 30 years. This span of time includes almost all college students and a majority of the younger workforce. This pivotal demographic, for the most part, went decisively for the Obama campaign, whose attention to issues relevant to the age group of 18-29 year olds stood out from that of the Republican campaign.

The general view of many college students succumbed to the fact that there needed to be change within the government that shrewdly was becoming all too foreign with their policies. Now, with the crumbling economy and the exponential rise of tuition cost, students have decided that it is probably in their best interest to finally get involved with politics and choose the candidate whose views fit them the best and not that of the last generation.

The differing views on foreign policy and social benefits were greatly juxtaposed when comparing the age difference between the two candidates. Sen. John McCain, age 72, and Obama, age 47, come from completely different eras, and therefore reflect opposing views on nearly every issue.

In previous elections, the president-elect has often looked to his predecessors and either become compliant with the decisions that he made, or conform to the popular choice of the people. With Obama, there is no predecessor to conform to, since the Bush administration has become one of the most unpopular in the history of the U.S., and the "popular choice" is so divided amongst all the issues that decoding the public's opinion can be a daunting task. Thus, Obama is in a position that is very unfamiliar to that of any president to have taken office. Other then the fact that he is now the president of a country ,where just half a century ago blacks were completely alienated in nearly every fashion, he is now in position to make critical changes free from the effects of history.

The values of what is now being called the "O" generation are similar to those of generation X - the post Baby-boom era. These ideals are based on what The New York Times calls "meritocracy and the emphasize on team work." The idea of having an elitist system is not necessarily a negative perspective, especially when electing government representatives. Why not have the hard-working, intelligent batch of individuals handle the decision making? Is having a president who you can drink a beer with really more important? The fact is that having a president whose potential is boundless but who can still work with others is what our generation is looking for. The leaders of today and tomorrow need to display themselves as earnest and transparent, and learn to let go of the "gung-ho" standards of the past.