In one of the biggest demonstrations in the U.S. since the Women’s March, 2.2 million protestors took to the streets on Dec. 15 to participate in the Boomer March for elder rights.
Boomer Marches took place in over 30 major American cities, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Washington D.C., taking the fight straight to the nation’s capital. Protestors had several key demands, the primary goal being the designation of using the new ageist slur “ok boomer” as a hate crime by the federal government.
This slur against Baby Boomers (between ages 55 and 75) has predominantly been used by millennials and Generation Z to dismiss complaints by Boomers about their generation and express their frustration over issues like economic inequality and environmental degradation that they feel have been perpetuated by Boomers. It has grown to pervade workplaces, universities, and has become a ubiquitous “internet meme.” However, its popularity has created massive generational conflicts.
“First we had the women’s rights movement, then civil rights and gay rights. But honestly, they were overreacting. I grew up during segregation, and it wasn’t even that bad,” one protestor said. “The bigotry they faced is nothing compared to the boomer rights we’re fighting for today.”
Carrying signs like “Just get a job to pay for college,” “There are only two genders,” and “Millennials are snowflakes,” over 200,000 Boomers participated in the flagship march in Washington D.C. on the National Mall. Several groups brought large parade balloons, like one labeled “the economy” that deflated within the first half-mile of the march. Tents lined the streets selling canes, walkers and the latest in boomer fashion: socks with sandals. Queues of Boomers at sales tents grew long as each customer argued with the cashier, shocked that they could not purchase their socks with sandals for less than two dollars.
“Man, a dollar can’t buy what it used to,” one customer said, shaking his head in disbelief. “Another thing those darn millennials have ruined.”
Another segment of the protest route offered a series of Virtual Reality experiences in which Boomers could simulate conversations with millennials. One such simulation allowed Boomers to practice explaining to a millennial how it easy it was for them to pay off their student loans and buy a five-bedroom house; another allowed them to gesture at virtual snow and say, “See? Climate change can’t be real.”
“I thought the Virtual Realness, or whatever they’re called, was so useful!” one protestor that tried the simulation remarked. “I’m definitely going to utilize some of these skills with my nephew at the next family dinner.”
As the route concluded at the front of the White House, the main stage hosted a series of speeches from lead Boomer March organizers.
“All we did was wreck the housing and job market, destroy the Earth’s climate, and hog all the Social Security money. These millennials are just sensitive snowflakes,” lead organizer John Walker said in an impassioned speech in front of the White House. “But where I’ll put my foot down is at this inhumane use of ‘ok boomer.’”
Going forward, the Boomer March movement seeks to pressure the federal government to outlaw the use of “ok boomer,” and create a new executive agency to oversee Boomer protections. The lead organizers are also looking into taking action in the Supreme Court or through a constitutional amendment. The marches have already had a marked effect on the political involvement of Boomers.
“I normally don’t get involved in politics very much, but I knew I couldn’t stand by and watch the rights of boomers get trampled on like this,” one protestor said. “I had to stop after the first half mile because my hip replacement started acting up, but to know I contributed to this movement is all that matters.”