More than a year has passed since I wrote the post below, and if anything, things have only gotten worse. The Republican candidate is now president.
The ideals my father fought for, and a generation of young people risked and lost their lives for, have been desecrated. A man with no shame, no sense of history, and no moral compass had to be coaxed into tepidly condemning Nazis, two days after the horrific events in Charlottesville.
I won’t get into list of the attacks against democracy this administration has perpetrated, I will only add if you’ve had enough, get involved. Here’s how: learn, advocate, act. A list of places that can help are at the end of the post.
I am an American of immigrant descent, my family escaping persecution in Europe and Russia in the 1800s. My ancestors served their country starting in the Civil War, and in subsequent generations made lives based on these ideals —
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— in a country they were proud to call home, keeping a covenant of freedom for future generations.
In 1940 my parents were teenagers in college. Two years later they would be married and my father, then 19, would serve in the Signal Corps under General Bradley, photographing and sending code from all over war-torn Europe. Civilization had been brought to the brink by events fomented by a dangerous egomaniac whom The Times of London described like this:
“…a great evil must be erased from the world. That evil is the spirit of faithlessness, of intolerance, of bullying, and of the senseless ambition which is embodied in…”
The editors of that great newspaper, of course, were referring to Hitler. But listen to the words of the addled Republican nominee and I will assure you will see tactics in his campaign, and garbled statements of hate which mirror that of fascists not too long ago.
I have friends who have left the Republican party in direct response to the nominee, but what is astonishing to me is that more people of goodwill haven’t repudiated the ugliness he spews. Instead party officials have fallen into lockstep behind an oaf, hoping he can be controlled. If history teaches us anything, it is that unstable personalities shouldn’t be granted unlimited power.
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.“
In my parents generation honor and good sense led them to advocate for peace after fighting in a world war, and to march for civil rights with their fellow Americans.
Look below to see what makes sense for you.