Every year on Memorial Day I think of my brother, U.S. Air Force Capt. Arthur Freed who died when his plane went down in September 1962. At Arlington, he was remembered as the pilot who left Law School at Ohio State when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev threatened to annihilate the U.S. with nuclear weapons from Cuba. In gratitude for the country that welcomed his father from Russia and his mother from the Ukraine, Art, father of three small children made the supreme sacrifice.
…what we were, who we are, what we are capable of and what lies ahead?
Our primal forbears discovered that survival depended upon protecting fellow humans. We zigzagged through the millennia to build the most advanced civilization of all time, learning to understand and love our fellow women and men.
So, what the hell happened to our country and much of the “civilized” world? In America, currently we are on the precipice of destroying the great achievements of the founding fathers. Words are no longer gauged by what they mean, whether true or false, but by who says it on TV. With the introduction of evil in high places, our democracy is crumbling into power struggles between brothers and sisters, who not too long ago were considered the Greatest Generation. We proudly cared for the needy. We marched across the country with banners proclaiming liberty, freedom, opportunity to all people regardless of race, creed, place of origin.
Then, came the malaise: The Present. At first, things seemed to be moving along nicely. The danger of financial collapse at the beginning of the 20th century was deflected by groups of sane, honest, like-minded people from both political parties who sought to solve problems for all the people. There were some who did much to destroy our financial system, but reason carried the day. The guilty were punished and the economy began an upward trajectory that continues to this day.
Then, it happened. Some people, hungry for power discovered that truth was not nearly as effective as fear. Words were no longer judged by whether or not they were true, but rather, by who tweeted them. Lies continued to stack up around these daily announcements, but there is no dialogue as there once was, where people of different views talked to one another. Now, whatever someone tweets – no matter how untrue, how filthy, outrageous, damaging – becomes the unquestioned gospel for followers.
Beware, sisters and brothers. There are looming dangers to avert the truth with every tweeted lie. It happened in Germany, Italy, Russia and in scattered regions across the globe a century ago. Tragically, there was a return to barbarism that destroyed the lives of millions upon millions of our brothers and sisters.
How will the world look on Monday, May 25, 2020?