When interviewed, young people believe they are free of harm. That false sense of believing in their immortality has made them fodder for leaders since the beginning of time, who’ve used their youth to battle adversaries. Nevertheless, there are always a few among those facing a battle who are mature and wise enough to realize a high probability their end is nigh.
A recent commemoration brought this subject up: D-Day, June 6, 1944. That date was when thousands of Allied troops faced the juggernaut Nazi Germany war machine mightily entrenched along the northwest coast of France.
The invasion had been planned for a couple of years. While it is likely that many Allied troops knew their participation was inevitable. The bottom line is, no matter those troop numbers harboring young men with delusions of grandeur, when the troops were about to wade ashore into a virtual tsunami of bullets, they experienced fear with a desire to run away.
Yet, the natural fear felt when faced with the likelihood of being hit by a high-speed projectile did not deter them from scrambling out of those landing crafts and into the surf to face the gut-wrenching Wehrmacht. Looking at the landing site from the safety of the landing craft, each had to grip-hard his bravery that morning, even though they’d been trained for months to put up a good fight. It was later verified that 2,499 American troops died that day while many others followed the first wave of attack and did so at Normandy until August, 1944.
Meanwhile, opinion leads me to believe that hardly a single leader among those at the U.S. federal level—excepting the late Senator John McCain and perhaps a handful of others—would have been able to board the landing craft much less head out into the English Channel on that fateful morning; a day that marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.
Virtually all Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives, plus a number of Democrats in both houses of Congress, are so afraid of a critical tweet by President Donald Trump, jeopardizing their Washington positions—where they were elected from the middle class but retire as millionaires—but are not brave enough to speak one word of dissent or disagreement with the White House occupant.
The heart and soul of a democracy are its people who are honored in their right to choose. In America, we elect representatives at the national level upon whom an oath is administered. There is no word in the oath that suggests or encourages any U.S. senator or representative to swear allegiance to the head of the executive branch or the judicial branch of the government. Yet, we now have a majority of U.S. senators who are loyal to President Donald J. Trump, thereby breaking their oath of office, violating U.S. law, tradition, and not standing brave to protect our way of life.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)