Memorial Day is the official federal holiday to remember the brave men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, but except for official government ceremonies, it is primarily a day to recognize the start of summer and commercialize soldiers’ sacrifice. It has been said that those who perished in war were defending freedom, supporting America’s allies, and stopping aggression from foreign enemies, but if they had lived they would discover that the nation is being assaulted from within by a political ideology bent on aggressively robbing Americans of their freedoms and destroying the American way of life. Memorial Day began as a day to honor nearly three-quarters of a million men who died in the American Civil War, and it is important to recognize that as one side fought to preserve the Union and the other to tear it apart, there is still a segment of the population working diligently to dismantle the nation millions of Americans fought and died to preserve, and they have a major political party behind them promoting an anti-government and anti-American agenda. It will not be a popular sentiment, but Republicans and their supporters forfeited the right to celebrate Memorial Day because they dishonor the sacrifice of the men and women who died defending America and its way of life.
The service members who perished probably never imagined they fought and died to protect a major party and large segment of the population that wants to transform America into the John Birch Society’s vision for America. It is doubtful that any soldier would fight and die to protect people who deny other Americans their constitutionally guaranteed equal rights, or make the ultimate sacrifice for people who deliberately keep millions of Americans living in poverty to enrich the wealthy. It is a sad commentary, but what America’s war dead defended was the current group of Americans who oppose freedom of religion, the right to vote, economic freedom, American values of citizenship, Civil Rights, women’s rights, and nearly all of the provisions in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The ultimate irony is that those fighting hardest to destroy America have to audacity to claim to be true patriotic Americans, but that is who the soldiers fought and died for and it is utterly shameful.
Those who made the ultimate sacrifice defended a different America than exists today and it is heart-rending that today’s soldiers are willing to die for a nation, and group of Americans, who cannot separate religion from politics, hate the Constitution (save the 2nd), threaten Civil War, race war, and revolution, and pass nullification laws that started the Civil War. Current soldiers are prepared to die for Republicans who will take their parent’s pensions away, hand power and Americans’ assets to corporations, and promote a culture of hate and bigotry towards all manner of Americans. Conservatives not only dishonor past service members sacrifice, they could not even help returning Veterans find work because they claimed America was too broke to afford $5 billion for a jobs program while they fought to maintain oil industry subsidies and tax cuts for the rich. The same conservatives scream for more wars and more American service members’ sacrifices to profit the corporate defense industry, and their supporters could not care less if it is war against a foreign country or against other Americans based on their race, religion, sexual preference and political ideology.
Republicans who benefitted from past service members sacrifice are dismantling every aspect of America they fought to defend by killing unions, education, jobs, environmental protections, and deliberately keeping nearly a quarter of America’s children in poverty by preventing their parents from finding jobs that pay a living wage, and to keep them from realizing the long-gone American dream, they actively pursue eliminating the minimum wage and overtime pay. There are few past or current service members who dedicated their lives to America and conservatives who take from the poor to feed the rich, and then rage in anger they cannot take more, or defended forcing Americans to adhere to uber-Christian edicts in spite of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom from religion. George W. Bush promoted his wars by preaching that terrorists hate us for our freedoms, but it is conservative terrorists who hate the people’s freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution.
It is grossly tragic that the men and women who fought and died to preserve the American way of life sacrificed their lives to give a large portion of the population and their representatives in government the opportunity to destroy that way of life and wage war on Americans the soldiers perished to defend. Today is the day to honor past service members sacrifice and thank current soldiers and Veterans for their sacrifice, but it is also a time to apologize that they defended Americans who dishonor their service every day by supporting politicians who propagate poverty, allow America to fall into disrepair, deny citizens’ equal rights, and dismantle the government. Thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who returned home, and those who continue defending America; there are Americans trying to preserve the nation you valiantly defended. Happy Memorial Day.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.