A queer MP shut down a fellow politician using ‘OK boomer’ and, honestly, we have no choice but to stan

Reiss Smith November 8, 2019
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Chlöe Swarbrick

Chlöe Swarbrick just won politics. (CNN)

A boomer MP was left shaken after his boomer remarks were shut down in the most boomer-ending way.

“OK boomer” has become a rallying cry for millennials and Gen Zs who are fed up with older people speaking down to them.

Ignoring the climate crisis? OK boomer. Not acknowledging generational inequality? OK boomer. Interrupting a queer parliamentarian as she explains why the two are intertwined? Definitely OK boomer.

Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old Green MP in New Zealand, went viral after an exchange with an MP twice her age.

She was pointing out how older lawmakers have ignored the climate crisis during a debate on New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill, which aims to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

“Mr Speaker, how many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors,” she explained.

“My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd parliament is 49 years old.”

At this point, she was interrupted by an older MP, said to be the opposition spokesman for climate change, Todd Muller, 50.

Without missing a beat, she dismissed him with a wave and a simple: “OK boomer.”

A clip of the exchange has been shared countless times, to the delight of many young people and the disdain of several boomers.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Swarbrick explained that the phrase signals “the absolute sense of exhaustion with having to articulate time and time again that things never seem to change on a systemic level, and then being met with dismissal”.

“I don’t often reference my age in parliament,” she said.

“Usually others do it for me. But thinking about how frequently the debate about climate is viewed through a short-term political lens, it made sense to point out how ridiculous it was to have a parliament with an average age of, well, they aren’t spring chickens, some of whom are trying to water down climate action and weaken it.

There was a moment of stunned silence as they figured out what it meant.

“So it came up, when, in the middle of my speech on intergenerational inequality, some members started chucking around some argy-bargy. I felt like throwing back, so that’s when I said it.

“There was a moment of stunned silence as they figured out what it meant. So, that allowed me to finish my speech in peace.”

Swarbrick was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 2017, when she became the country’s youngest MP since 1975.

Since then, the boomer has zoomed in on her sexuality, which she doesn’t label, instead saying that she simply “likes people”.

“I was never in the closet,” Swarbrick told the New Zealand Herald, referencing British MP Mhairi Black‘s claim that she’d “never been in.”

‘OK boomer’ divides generations.

While “OK boomer” is popular with young people, many who are on the receiving end of it find the term offensive.

One boomer, radio host Bob Lonsberry, went as far to call “boomer” the “N-word of ageism”.

In response, succinctly explained: “Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1965.

“The N-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language.”


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