Gen X Has a New Hero

A few years ago, I wrote about how people from Generation X*–my generation–are essentially nonexistent in the public sphere. With few exceptions, we are almost invisible.

I used the example of Reid Hoffman, billionaire founder of LinkedIn, as an example that proves the point. Without Hoffman, who I went to summer camp with, there is nobody of my generation who has “made it.”

I now want to amend that statement and add to my list Eric Garcetti, the Gen X mayor of Los Angeles.

Garcetti began serving as mayor of L.A. around the time I wrote my post on Hoffman, and has shown in the past seven years to be very capable of being in charge of a large and diverse city.

Los Angeles currently has about 4 million people and serves as the keystone to a metropolitan region of about 19 million people. It is often said that the region has more Koreans than anywhere outside of Seoul, the most Mexicans outside of Mexico City, the most Iranians outside of Tehran. The economy of the Los Angeles region is larger than the economies of several nations, including Argentina, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.

I think that whatever Garcetti is doing, he’s doing it right. Like any large city, L.A. has its problems, including crime and homelessness. But no one person can solve all of a city’s, state’s, or country’s social problems, despite what some people want to believe. That takes everyone working together.

However, an effective leader provides the vision and the glue to keep a large and diverse city, state, or nation on track. Garcetti is clearly doing this, and I’m impressed.

*NOTE: I am using the Pew Research Center’s definition of Gen X, being people born 1965 to 1980.

2 thoughts on “Gen X Has a New Hero

  1. The whole point of Generation X (I was born in 1967 so I’m spot on) is to not be noticed. Mostly we want to do our own thing quietly and avoid being noticed by the authorities.

    We were born and raised during the counter culture rebellions. Our Baby Boomer parents were distracted when we were kids and the general social attitudes of the day were relaxed when it came to child rearing. I have distinct memories of weeks going by where I hardly saw an adult. I never expected anyone to notice me. I understood from a young age that I was going to have to fend for myself. I left home at 15 and did exactly that.

    • Thank you Johnny for your comment. I don’t suppose I had seriously considered the point of not being noticed. Growing up in California, I used to roam after school and on weekends for hours unattended, making up my own fun (not all of it safe or sanctioned). Not being noticed was indeed part of the package.
      I think the message got muddled for me because my family straddled two worlds. My two older sisters caught the tail end of the Boomer generation, while me and my younger brother are Gen X. That means my parents were from the generation before Boomers (whatever that is–I forget) and the expectation for being noticed was hot or cold depending on the context, both within my family and outside. One had to be prepared.
      Good to connect with a fellow Gen X!

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