D-Day’s youth vs. today’s youth


Seventy-five years ago, tens of thousands of brave and selfless young men from the United States, Canada and Great Britain took part in the largest seaborne invasion history has ever seen. It was carried out on the beaches of Normandy, France, and propelled by the ideal that no one man should dominate others, no foreign power should be allowed to conquer another.

In coordination with young people from the French Resistance who staged elaborate pre-invasion sabotages against Hitler’s invaders, we ousted the dreaded Nazis from their unlawful occupation of France. Even after much blood was shed on that beach, surviving warriors would go on to rescue Western Europe from German domination as well. The Nazi regime was crushed. Democracy emerged alive and well.

It all began on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and while thousands of young lives were lost during the fight against Nazism, the Allied invasion at Normandy is considered one of the greatest military operations in the history of mankind.

Today, many young people — always on a quest for something different, something to believe in — apparently think socialism is the way to go. They march on streets instead of beaches. They carry signs instead of combat gear, signs that read, “Fight for the Socialist Revolution!” They refuse to entertain any viewpoint other than their own, insisting those with differing ideas be silenced and vilified. They worry about identity politics instead of politics that offers something for everyone. When the tough times come, they look for safe rooms to soothe their anxieties. This is a massive difference compared with the attitude of young people in 1944.

A recent Harris poll indicates that 49 percent of millennials and members of the internet-saturated Generation Z say they “Prefer living in a socialist country.” They favor free universal health care and tuition-free college. In 2020, these two groups are expected to make up about 37 percent of the electorate.

The latest Gallup poll (August 2018) showed that Democrats and democratically leaning independent voters now embrace the idea of a nation based on socialism over capitalism by a margin of 57 percent. Republicans remain much more positive about capitalism, only 16 percent supporting socialism.

As I watched television coverage of the D-Day commemorations this past week, I wondered what the dwindling number of surviving military veterans from that era — men who are now in their 90s — think about this movement toward socialism. I searched their weathered and weary faces for a clue, but it was clear they were consumed by the haunting memories of the fight.

I wish that instead of holding signs in the street, today’s young people would more diligently study epic moments in history.

This push toward socialism is happening not only in America but also in other countries. Young, idealistic people firmly believe there is a better way of life, if only everything were automatically made more equal. I wonder if they have thought about how that might be achieved and exactly how they would define socialism.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it, in part, as “governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. A system of society or group living in which there is no private property.”

Do those who so enthusiastically believe in socialism realize the ramifications? It sure sounds great to strive for a truly equal society, but put your thinking cap on.

If our governmental leaders cannot reach a consensus on reforming immigration, health care or education policy, how would socialism in the United States ever take hold? If the ideal is for everyone to give up their private property, how would that occur? If the government is in charge of the “means of production and distribution of goods,” what happens to men and women with small businesses, to private companies and corporations?

I stand unconvinced that a group of government bureaucrats can adequately produce, distribute and assure an uninterrupted food supply, for example. I’d much rather rely on an American farmer — even if he or she is working for one of the big Agri-firm corporations — to put food on my table.

Let me ask those who have had past dealings with the Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Education or any other federally run government institution: Were they easy to deal with, and did they help you in an efficient and timely matter? Ever have interaction with the Transportation Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Health and Human Services? Was that contact easy peasy or a muddled maze that left you more confused and agitated than when you started? Now imagine every aspect of your life — health, housing, education and commerce — being controlled by the government. To understand how socialism eventually collapses under its own weight, all one needs to do is look at today’s socialist state of Venezuela and its utter chaos, poverty, hunger and escalating disease.

That is not the lifestyle those brave men and women of past wars have fought and died for. They were propelled forward by a determination to preserve our self-determination. For the sake of our republic, let’s remember that.

By Josh Bovee

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