My Millennial Years

For our March 1st show, Mick & I had our first-ever debate, what with the presidential primary just a few weeks away.

It was Bernie v. Hillary–or surrogates from the campaign.

Bernie & Hillary didn’t actually show up to the Hideout, though they’d have been welcome.

Alderman David Moore sat in for Clinton and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa represented Sanders.

We would have had a surrogate for Donald Trump, except I’m not sure such a creature exists in the planet known as First Tuesdays.

One of my favorite planets in the universe.

Carlos opened by saying Sanders is in the best position to beat Trump in November because he’s inspiring many young people to vote.

I, thus, felt compelled to ask the dreaded M question–a question that leaps to the lips of any baby boomer, not yet senile.

What makes you think Trump won’t do to Bernie what Richard Nixon did to George McGovern in 1972?

That is–turn him into a clueless caricature of a soft-on-crime, week-on-defense lefty.

To which Carlos–who’s undoubtedly heard this question from boomer or two–responded…

“The world’s changed since you were a millennial, Ben.”


Two heroes from my “millennial” days…



Wow. Good response! Using millennial as though it were a generic time of life, as opposed to a particular time in history.

When confronted with good retorts, I generally have a two-part reaction.

First, admiration. As in–good line.

Second, envy. As in–Damn, I wish I’d thought of that.

While Carlos continued, I had a back-to-the-future moment, going back in time to when I was a millennial. Or at least when I was roughly the same age (27) that Carlos is today.

Suddenly, I left the Hideout stage and found myself sitting in Tanya’s, a Cuban restaurant in Logan Square, with my old friend, Jorge Casuso.

It was election day 1984–Ronald Reagan v. Walter Mondale. Every poll in the country had Reagan winning in a landslide.

I don’t know what came over me, but I told Jorge…

“I have a premonition that Mondale’s gonna win!”

“What!” said Jorge.

“I know it’s crazy. But I have this feeling–this is going to be the greatest political upset of all time.”

A few minutes later, Tom Brokaw came on the TV above the bar to say the polls had closed on the east coast and, based on exit polls, NBC was predicting Reagan victories in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and so forth…

In short, Reagan went on to win in a giant landslide.

So much for my premonition.

Anyway, my reverie ended and there I was–back at the Hideout, listening to Carlos explain why things are so different today.

I hope he’s right.

I also hope his “millennials” do a better job than mine did of making this world a better place.

If I didn’t think they could, I would have given up hope a long time ago.