I don’t entirely agree with Nayyera Haq’s assessment at CNN of how Joe Biden’s age cohort affects his character:
The mythos of Joe Biden is built around the advice given by parents of a certain age. “Hard work will get you ahead”: Biden overcame his childhood stutter by practicing speaking in front of the mirror. He received a scholarship and worked during law school to later become one of the youngest US senators at age 30. “You need to commit and follow through”: Biden served in the Senate for more than 35 years. “Chin up, be resilient”: When his first wife and daughter died in a horrific accident, Biden famously commuted from Delaware to Washington every day in order to spend time with his sons.
Biden’s persona appeals to the sensibilities of an elder generation and the character traits they admire. This identity is a big part of Biden’s pitch, one rooted in nostalgia for a bygone era: It’s Trump’s Make America Great Again, skewed toward decency and civility.
But Biden also exemplifies the worst qualities of our parents’ generation. Apologies don’t come easy to him. When Biden spoke to Anita Hill to express “his regret for what she endured” at the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991, he didn’t accept any personal accountability as the committee chairman. Hill, who did not think Biden’s words amounted to an apology, said she was dissatisfied by his efforts. To make matters worse, Biden later appeared on ABC’s “The View” and said, “I don’t think I treated her badly.”
but that may be because I disagree with her assessment of his age cohort, the Silent Generation, those born between 1925 and 1945. I found this:
Biden also exemplifies the worst qualities of our parents’ generation
amusing because, unless her parents were relatively old when she was born in 1981, her parents are probably Baby Boomers not Silent Generation like Joe Biden. I have a somewhat more pragmatic, rule-of-thumb approach for identifying different age cohorts. If you were a teenager during the Great Depression and you or your contemporaries fought in World War II, you’re Greatest Generation. If you were a kid during the Depression and/or World War II and your older siblings or your parents or their contemporaries fought in World War II, you’re Silent Generation. If you cannot remember a time without television, you’re a Baby Boomer.
My take on the Silent Generation is that they have an insecurity deep within them. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. They don’t if dad will be called off to war or if he is if he’ll come home again. It may even be more unsettling when he does come home because he’s seen a lot at his young age and is unaccustomed to children. Members of the Silent Generation won’t let go because they can’t—they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
They may have pensions where those born later do not. Most of those who died during the Vietnam War were Silent Generation and it’s left a mark on them.
To put it into popular culture terms McGarrett (of the 1968 Hawaii 5-0) was Greatest Generation; Magnum is Silent Generation; Sonny Tubbs is a Baby Boomer.