Hawaii News | Volcanic Ash Elders’ plush world comes at expense of youths’ future By David Shapiro Nov. 2, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. My expressions of approval that this year’s election will bring a younger generation of political leaders to power in Hawaii has drawn ire from some fellow senior citizens. An older voter stopped me in the mall and asked sarcastically, "Do you seriously think the younger generation will do any better?" "I choose to be hopeful," was all I could say. "They sure as heck can’t do any worse." Others accused me of "ageism." I reject the imputation; as a recipient of Social Security and Medicare myself, I’m a member of the generation I’ve criticized and have a right to my opinion. And my opinion, it saddens me to say, is that my generation has failed our children and grandchildren miserably on our watch. It’s time for those we’ve let down to take the lead in shaping the future that they’ll have to live with. Our parents were called the Greatest Generation after they battled a long Depression, won a world war, built a robust postwar economy and launched the move for greater civil rights. They prided themselves on making sacrifices to spare our generation the hardships they’d endured. How did we pay it forward? By leaving our children and grandchildren nothing but hardship as they struggle to build their lives without so many of the advantages that we took for granted. We’ve created an economy that often denies them the job opportunities, security, pay, cheap health insurance, defined-benefit pensions and affordable housing we enjoyed. We’ve stuck them with massive public debt on the federal and local levels that we ran up without conscience or any plan to repay. We leave them crumbling infrastructure. In Hawaii, we make the struggling young pay more in state income taxes so seniors can pay hardly any, whether we have the means or not. We’ve hogged all the natural resources and left them with a polluted and overheated planet that constricts their quality of life. In politics, we keep telling them to wait for their turn that never comes. We use our clout at the polls not to make elections about building a better future for our progeny, but to extract blood oaths to guarantee maximum Social Security and Medicare benefits and minimum taxes for us. We learned nothing from the mistakes of the Vietnam War we protested so mightily and bungled into an even deeper quagmire in the Middle East, pointlessly spilling the blood of our young and squandering a national fortune that could have bought them a brighter future. We’re surprised when the kids are ready to get over us only because we were never able to get over ourselves. Hopefully, we can trust them to be more fair to us than we’ve been to them. Reach David Shapiro at email@example.com or blog.volcanicash.net. Previous Story Lava stalls 480 feet from Pahoa Village Road Next Story Civil Defense: Lava flow front 'relatively cold'