It is likely that a fair number of Americans are unaware that Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend or an occasion to eat, drink, and be merry. Of course it is the day set aside to remember, honor, and mourn those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces on behalf of their country.
Many Americans believe that it is honorable to make the supreme sacrifice for their country because their country stands for democracy, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice did so to protect those values. It is a sad commentary that today there is a significant number of Americans and a major political party that opposes those values that so many of our friends and family died to protect, preserve and defend.
There is little doubt in this author’s mind that if any fallen service member were magically resurrected today they would not recognize America as the nation they fought and died for, or a nation of laws founded on the principles in the U.S. Constitution.
For those who perished prior to World War II, they may not recognize that one major political party has embraced fascism as a means to destroy democracy, but they certainly would understand that Republicans represent the various foreign regimes they fought and died to defeat.
It is true some of the fallen would recognize the systemic racism that is contrary to the idea of Equality for all laid out in the U.S. Constitution, but they would likely be appalled that one political party is actively perpetuating racism as a means of grabbing power. No doubt those who served in World War II would see the glaring similarities between Nazi Germany and the current Republican fascist movement.
They would also be flummoxed as to why a major faction of the conservative movement has demeaned Americans opposed to fascism as inherently bad and anti-American. During World War II every American was “anti-fascist” and that certainly includes the estimated 420,000 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the fascist dictator Adolf Hitler and preserve American democracy.
It is almost certain even those who served and perished over the past two decades in the Middle East would be sick that they died to defeat an Iraqi dictator and Afghani religious regime only to see Republicans fighting tooth-and-nail to implement the same anti-democratic policies employed by Saddam Hussein and impose the same kind of religious tyranny as the dreaded Taliban.
When this author’s precious son-in-law returned severely disabled from Iraq, his greatest joy and remembrance was being part of an American fighting force that brought democracy to Iraqi citizens who were allowed to vote in free and fair elections for the first time in a generation. He still cannot comprehend why his brothers-in-arms who aren’t white are facing impediments just to cast a vote, or see any so-called American justice in his Army buddies being deported because they are regarded as ‘illegal aliens.”
Even more recently, it is certain that those who sacrificed their lives to “preserve Americans’ freedoms” have witnessed an administration use excessive force and chemical weapons against Americans guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably protest racial injustices against other Americans.Those who fell in defense of America likely would not understand why an entire movement is outraged that some Americans oppose monuments honoring Americans guilty of treason during the Civil War. And yes, any American guilty of waging war against the United States of America is by definition and the law guilty of treason and deserving the death penalty..
Most recently, America’s fallen heroes from all wars likely cannot fathom why Republicans sat idly by, and then fiercely defended, a tyrannical dictator who sent his fascist underlings to attack the American Capitol in an attempted coup d’état to seize power and overthrow the legal government of the United States. They would almost certainly agree with a majority of Americans that Trump’s January 6 insurrection was “an attack on democracy” that Republicans are trying desperately to pretend never happened because they are culpable for inciting the attempted overthrow of America’s.
It doesn’t matter what era America’s fallen heroes lived and died in, they would not understand why a political party and its followers are embracing fascism the Founding Fathers spent no small amount of time and energy to prevent from ever happening. The Founders may not have known about fascism, but they did know their primary task in devising a new nation was ensuring that precisely what is happening today could only be prevented by a secular democratic republic founded on one law of the land.
As john Stoehr put it:
“Our founders would have recognized what’s happening to the GOP. They would have used other words to describe it, obviously, like “tyranny” and “despotism.” But they would have recognized fascism as a reason for creating a system of government resistant to individuals and factions that had come to believe that literally nothing matters more than power.”
Frankly, “our Founders” did create a system of government resistant to individuals and factions willing to do anything for absolute power, and although it is tyranny and despotism, what Americans are witnessing today is nothing but fascism; something every fallen service member fought and died to protect against.
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.