All We Need Is Love?

By Annie Tobey | August 31st, 2016

I’d nearly completed my editor’s letter for this issue, but then our nation had one of its worst weeks in years: two black men killed by police in questionable circumstances and five police killed in retaliation – and our pain had barely faded after the Orlando nightclub massacre and other mass shootings.

My light-hearted column suddenly seemed superficial and uninspired. Granted, by the time the magazine hits the stands, the horror of the week may have faded, but we know by now this is not a fleeting problem.

As with the issues of the day, the decision of what to pen for my column is complex (though in no way earth shattering). BOOMER tends to provide a respite from news that breaks our hearts or inspires righteous indignation. We do not take political stands or make endorsements, so that many readers can take refuge in our pages.

And while we will continue to provide a balance of escape and thoughtful musings, BOOMER – along with our boomer readers – can have distinctive insights into the times.

Inspiration. In our editorial planning, we have no shortage of inspiring baby boomers to write about. In “Giving Back,” we emphasize Richmond organizations that are dedicated to making life better – assisting those in need, combating diseases and even fighting injustice. Our family department addresses relationship challenges, like caring for aging parents or providing guidance to our children. In short, boomers provide and seek inspiration in life, and inspiration begets positive change.

Wisdom born of experience. Having survived this life for some 50 years, we all have some acquired wisdom that can perhaps help guide our nation through these rocky times.

First, we’ve learned that life is both precious and finite. The violence around us today is snuffing out too many lives prematurely.

Second, we realize that terrible things have happened before – and that our nation has, mostly, grown stronger and better with the experiences.

Back in the 1960s, when boomers were young, many individuals in the U.S. were immersed in struggles for equality, through the Civil Rights movement, the Stonewall Rebellion and the fight for women’s rights; young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War as others were dying in combat; student activists rallied in support of peace (sometimes using methods that contradicted their message). Four passionate American leaders were assassinated: John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

We’ve come a long way since the violence of that decade, but today’s violence could lead us backward.

In the 60s, the Beatles released “All You Need Is Love.” In the summer of 1969, more than 400,000 young people – baby boomers – celebrated peace, love and harmony at Woodstock.

It’s love that can lead us forward, not hatred. Love for justice for all, free from racism and harmful stereotypes – never making sweeping generalizations, never painting an entire group of people with one paintbrush, but trying to understand others’ perspectives. Racist, power-hungry police officers should be relieved of their guns, and the officers who serve with honor should be celebrated.

As boomers, our collective wisdom and positive action can lead to a worthwhile sum: hope.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Or John F. Kennedy: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

So I’m trying to process the problems of the day, searching for ways I can be part of the solution, while still providing a magazine that celebrates life’s joys. I’d love to know how you’ve been processing the challenges of the day. Email me at

At BOOMER, we will continue to provide you with inspiration and with escapism, while ever aware of the shadow of reality. May the respite you find here give you strength to do what’s right!

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