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Haupt’s Take: When the going gets tough, the tough get going

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By William Haupt III | Haupt’s Take

“I got something to tell you, I got something to say. I’m gonna put this dream in motion, Never let nothing stand in my way. When the going gets tough, The tough get going.” (Billy Ocean)

Most all of us have heard the 1985 song, When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going by Billy Ocean. The locution of this antimetabole is a play on words involving idiomatic and distinct meanings of “go” and “tough.”

In context, it means those who are strong and enduring “get tough” when they are abused and won’t take it any longer. Their passiveness turns to vigilance to correct wrongful acts that threaten them and others. When the going gets tough so do they.

“The fight for justice never has been easy and it never will be. It extracts a toll on all of us especially when it’s against neighbors and friends. But it must be done to perpetuate our dignity.” (Fran Sereico)

Although pop singer Billy Ocean is credited with making this a proverbial pop culture axiom, the true origin of this parlance has been attributed to football coach Knute Rockne who guided his Notre Dame Fighting Irish for 13 years.

He led them to 105 victories with only 12 losses and three national championships. Every time his team was down he’d inspire them with his colloquial words of wisdom.

“Show me a good and gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.” (Knute Rockne)

Boomers perceptibly remember this song, since it inspired us during that transitional period of social havoc and judicial awareness during the 60s and 70s. Baby boomers changed the world, ended a war, created a new pop culture and participated in social change that made the US what it is today. They developed a new set of values and morphed in new styles while creating a magnetic generation of some of the greatest music ever recoded.

The evolution of boomer politics brought them to the house of Ronald Reagan. The bell bottoms the love beads, moon rings and x-large tie dyed t-shirts were unique to them, as they ushered in today’s best rock and roll and learned to vote wisely. The hippies, surfers and Ivy leaguers formed the new melting pot of our culture.

“Their success was not due to spontaneous combustion. They walked towards the fire!” (Kay Frances)

Boomers have been criticized by the press as “the world belongs to us crowd” for years. They claim we have drained the economy and will continue to empty the treasury when we finally call it quits. They have accused boomers of being selfish undertakers for protective custody of everything from states rights, to defending the unborn. Boomers are chastised for coveting our liberty and are committed to our work ethic.

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We are chastened for the conservative values our founders bestowed upon us. The boomers have been mocked for believing in the Almighty and our religious values. Boomers have been the subject of great criticism since we are ageing and we continue fighting back against liberalism. But as Billy Ocean said:

“When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

Today’s cookie cutter liberal media and the progressives of the left, claim the boomers were the most selfish generation to occupy a space on earth. They refused to back down and took on most anyone who stood between them and what they believed in until they got their way.

In the eyes of the left today, that is doing something sinful! Yes, many times to turn a wrong into a right, you have to get in someone’s face, and challenge them until they cowardly back down. The left claims that boomers remain self-absorbed and didn’t know when to keep their mouths shut. That’s because every time opportunity knocks, they still open the door and let it in, when past generations would have locked it out!

This is what led to our phenomenal prosperity, the development of the dot-com industry and the advancement of equal housing for all Americans. Equal pay and rights for women and minorities, and some of the most prosperous economic years we have ever seen. Boomers are responsible for healthcare technology that saves lives today. We fanned the flames of foreign policy to keep others from living under the fear of oppression as we had to do in the 50s every time we heard the air raid sirens and hide beneath our grade school desks.

“All Americans owe the baby boomers a debt of gratitude for keeping freedom and liberty alive today.” (John Rokensan)     

For the last 6 decades the boomers have run the world. Although there have been setbacks and global conflicts they have been able to pull us out. They are the youngest generation that decided to stay young forever. Although their bodies are aging their minds are sharper than ever as they fight to keep America great.

Their spirit and fortitude will keep them forever young. If you choose to pick a fight with a Boomer be prepared to stand your ground for ages. “When the going gets tough, we get going.”

“If the Boomers can bring down the Berlin Wall without firing a shot: they can bring anyone to their knees who challenges them. Just mess with a boomer.” (Arial Bloomfield)

This dynamic generation is winding down to the traditional age of retirement, but is in no mood to slow down. Boomers themselves know what made their generation click and are clinging to that toughness. They are still the most powerful and dominant generation in America. Their strong values and aspirations continue to set the tone for social stability. They are conservatives. They are obsessed with maintaining their position at the top of the pyramid until they die. They will not fade away in their golden years.

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As today’s Boomers are retiring they are eagerly anticipating lives of increasing social and political engagement, not crawling off into the sunset of an apartment in the California desert. They plan to continue to impact and influence, albeit in a variety of ways a surfeit of agendas and ambitions to continue to make this a better world. They won’t be cast aside.

“They are treasures not some junk that will be thrown away when no longer needed?” (Sol Pierce)

Boomers showed America last election that they still know “When the going get’s tough the tough get going!” Don’t mess with the boomers. They won’t walk away from confrontation, but welcome it. They have rescued this country for decades now they are ready to chaperone the changing of the guard. The best and brightest are leaving public service as a career path and will put our country into a, “brain drain.”

But they know it is no time to back down. They will step forward and school millennials on how to do it right. There are 78 million boomers, with a conglomeration of talents to share with millennials to prepare them to inherit the earth. They proved contrary to public school indoctrination the meek does not inherit anything. If push them too far they’ll fight back!

“WWII brought us the greatest generation in our history, but Vietnam tore them apart. And Reagan taught them collectivism was needed to save America so they came back together again.” (Jack Webb)

Knute Rockne once told his team, “There is no such thing as a good loser. There is no success in failure. But sometimes people lose, and winners get right up and return to battle the next day!”

Yes there are winners and losers in this world and the millennials need to discern this. You don’t get a trophy for just showing up to play the game. There is no such thing as a free anything for anyone. If you do not defend your constitutional rights you will lose them. To any progressive they are theirs for the taking. There is a time for passivity and time for pro-active action.

Boomers will continue to stand up and get “tough” and take the lead and enlighten the millennials with the knowledge and skill sets for responsible national pride. Yes we are the boomers and we’re going to continue to get tough as the going gets tough: Just ask anyone of us and they will tell you.

“I won’t back down, no I won’t back down. You could stand me up at the gates of hell, But I won’t back down!” (Tom Petty)

This article was written by a contributor from Franklin Center’s independent network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists. 

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William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, citizen legislator in California for 40 plus years, and author. He got his start working to approve prop 13.