Memorial Day and the Real World
May 25, 2015 by John Mark N. Reynolds
Cartoon movies lose allure when I look at a picture of my dad with my cousin Paul. Paul had no superpowers though he was a fine artist who spent a lifetime creating beauty in storefront windows in Charleston, West Virginia. He ended up in Europe killing Nazis, landing in Normandy, fighting in the Bulge, surviving in a POW camp, escaping and going home. My first world problems are brought into perspective.
As the West pants for ever more libertine values cosseted behind our professional army, the world and history are refusing to stop changing. China is unstable and a superpower: a key to war. Christians are murdered tonight in Syria, Cuba, North Korea, and China in the name of tyranny while present Christians fear that bloviating new atheists will be mean to us.
My fear is this: we have the finest professional army in the history of the world, but professionals cannot last forever against ideologues who refuse to quit. Eventually, we will have to decide if peace in the Middle East is necessary and have a war where the American people try or leave the region to those who want it most. The day may come when technology trumps boots on the ground, but that day is not here yet. Ask the people of Afghanistan.
If Americans were asked to describe their values, the values we would send our troops out to defend, we would be left with “tolerance” and “the right for anyone to marry anyone.” Is this adequate to convince people to raise children in this age, let alone sacrifice their lives, their fortunes, and pledge their sacred honor? What would it mean if we asked the “none” to pledge their sacred honor?
Wealth and peace are good things, but I fear they always end because the wealthy and the peaceful forget that they are not the natural state of man this side of paradise. We forget that our bubble of peace that has allowed internal self-examination, much of it very good, was bought by the Greatest Generation. As they die, so does their peace and their world. Europe is weak and wealthy next to strong, young, rising powers. Will the Turks let the Italians sit unable to defend themselves? Will a greater Turkey form across Asia? Will the Iranian regime survive to unite with Iraq in a new caliphate to prevent the rise of ISIS? What will happen in sub-Saharan Africa?
Our wealthy must stop defending their wealth and begin to act for the good of this nation and the rest of the citizens of this Republic. We cannot be selfish and survive in this bubble of liberty and prosperity. Our leaders must purge themselves of graft and a short term focus on the next election. Most politicians have always been petty crooks, but we need a few leaders, a few good men and women who will be Lincoln or Roosevelt putting nation above party or personalities.
This Memorial Day let us remember that most of those who died today did not fight and die for many of the rights and privileges that seem so important to us today. They fought for God and country. They sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic and followed half-mad men like George Patton because they wanted basic freedoms. We have so much more, but the more may become the foe of national survival. We may have given ourselves more liberties than we can afford to take.
What is the solution? It is no ideology, no guru, no party, plan, or program. We need a revival of decency, of Christian values that are lived and not proclaimed, and we need justice. What if we do not remember what the heroes of Memorial Day died to do? We will lose what they gave us, because the memories of their fights are fading.
John Mark Reynolds blogs at THE ANXIOUS BENCH at PATHEOS.