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Lest We Forget, Or Have We Already?

May 29, 2017

Memorial-Day-Images  Memorial Day is a time to pause and reflect, to honor and pay respect to those who fought and died, preserving this nation and the freedoms that we often take for granted. Men and woman who died to protect us from fascism, Nazism, communism, and the tyranny these ideologies promote. Sadly, it is tyranny that is once again at our door, this time from within.

Recently, I read and reviewed a small book entitled, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. I called this the second book all Americans should read, the U.S. Constitution being the first. The twenty lessons are to help us prevent tyranny from raising its ugly head here, allowing what all who have died to protect us, be for naught.

A patriot is defined as one who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. Maybe the key word here is vigorously. In the book, Snyder gives concrete examples of how we can be vigorous.

One point he makes that is worth reflecting on, especially today, is in lesson 18 – “Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.”  Snyder points out that “modern tyranny is terror management.” When an event occurs, such as 9/11, it is easy for us to be willing to give up freedoms hoping to prevent a similar event. Think of all the things we used to be able to do, that have been taken away. From being able to walk a loved one to a boarding gate, to being able to enter a plane without being groped. These are minor compared to what could happen if we are not vigorous patriots.

History has shown that tyrants use such events to take control of governments and people. Hitler did this in Germany, Putin did this in Russia, Trump is attempting to do this here. To be fair, Trump is too stupid to do this, but his advisors are not, and his ego is allowing other tyrants, such as Putin, to pull him into terror management. In this case terror management being “the exploitation of real, dubious, and simulated terror attacks to bring down democracy.”

Whether it is the Muslim ban or the border wall, alternative facts or discrediting the media, chanting “Lock her up” or denying climate change, we have a president seemingly determined to undermine the very freedoms the men and women who died, who we honor today, gave their lives to protect.

My hope is that as we reflect on the lives sacrificed for democracy, that we will become vigorous patriots. No longer content to sit on the sidelines, to simply hear opinions like our own, but to read for ourselves, to investigate truth, to seek out those who think differently and listen. No longer label makers, going beyond left or right, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, and working together for the future of our great nation.

Snyder ends his treatise with a quote from Hamlet. “The time is out of joint. O cursed spirit, /That ever I was born to set it right…..Nay, come, let’s go together.”



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