- Posted June 6, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Lessons from the D-Day Generation
other people’s freedom and hard to define ideas like democracy, freedom from tyranny and eventual world peace. Stunningly,
they achieved most of those goals! On the occasion of the D-Day anniversary, here are some thoughts on Americans of that
time who sacrificed, men on the battlefield and women at home and in factories manufacturing for the war (for the first time ever,
by the way, the start of real women’s liberation). Comparing that generation's people and leader's accomplishment to the
accomplishments of the current crop of people and leaders is highly unflattering and embarrassing (read "11 Principles of a
Reagan Conservative" by Paul Kengor). Moreover, I’ll claim that, except for pockets of resistance and a holding action to make
sure they never return, the twin problems of racism and sexism, that plagued my grandparent’s generation, have been eliminated.
Our generation, with women and minorities fully participating, should be doing much, much better that our grandparent’s
generation. Obviously this is not true.
Many believe this is because a failure of modern liberalism, and there is possibly some truth in that but, even more significant is
the quality of people in my grandparents generation compared to us. Leaders from their generation didn't lie continuously like our
current leaders seem to do (at least about the important things), so when they asked for sacrifice, people of my grandparent’s
generation assumed the need was real, they sacrificed and then accomplished the amazing things people like to talk about
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqOYBabXmA). Today, when sacrifice is asked of the American people, they rightly
assume leaders are following their own, private agenda, having nothing to do with the public good, lying or "spinning" the issues
(who would have thought there would be a special new word for "mostly lying") and they rightly refuse to sacrifice.
This is not a problem politics or policy can solve: it's a cultural problem. Electing Democrats when Republicans fail then electing
Republicans when the Democrats fail is not going to change anything. Our culture is in decline, selfish, me, me, me. Our leaders,
coming from that culture tend to be selfish as well, low quality people who don't see lies and spin to be wrong. When selfless
leaders rise (there are always good people even from failing cultures), they are eaten alive by the selfish leadership and they go
nowhere. That is the problem. What is the solution?
Historically, cultures change slowly, over generations. Cultures change rapidly only in response to severe crisis. Inevitably, a failing
culture causes the culture’s economy to eventually fail as well. As people are forced to respond to actual, widespread pain and
suffering, sometimes enough people reject the bad values that caused the fall and the culture changes (it’s hard to feel entitlement
when it’s obvious everyone is suffering and no one has anything to give to you).
That is an extremely painful and violent solution to our problem in America and I don’t hope for it. We, the people, need to pay closer
attention to what is happening in our government, and somehow cut through the lies and spin of the selfish leaders and figure out
which leaders are selfless and which leaders are selfish and get rid of the selfish. Note this is not Democrat vs Republican or
Conservative vs Liberal, this is Selfish vs Selfless (I know it’s hard but we have to try). Then, maybe after a winnowing, our leaders will be
worthy of trust again and, when they call for a national response to a problem, Americans will believe them and be willing to sacrifice.
We can be great again!