Daniel Suddeath

Daniel Suddeath

The courage demonstrated by the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 is hard to comprehend.

Thank God most of us will never be shot at, or have to fight for freedom on a foreign land, or be required to pay the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to end the reign of a murderous tyrant. Many of those Allied troops never made it back home, yet their selflessness is part of the reason why we are permitted to live in a mostly peaceful, prosperous and sovereign country.

But do we appreciate what we have? Seventy-five years after D-Day, how much do we cherish our freedom? If such evil forces as we saw attempt to take over the planet in World War II were to rise again, would we have the same result?

President Donald Trump is well on his way to securing a second term in the White House. There's literally nothing he can do that will turn most of his followers away, just as there's nothing he can accomplish that will convince his detractors that he's the man for the job. But with a weak 2020 Democratic field, it's hard to imagine Trump won't win again.

Trump's message seems to resonate with rural America, and that section of the country includes states that must be won in order to be victorious in a presidential race. The Democratic Party's message is aimed more at urban areas, but unless the Electoral College is abolished, winning the popular vote isn't going to be enough.

But while Trump's "America First" motto is proudly touted by his supporters, it's had the opposite effect worldwide. The massive protests in England this week timed for Trump's arrival show that even among our allies, Trump is not a popular leader.

Trump's comments and actions toward other allies such as Germany, France and even Canada have also led to some hard feelings over the past three years. Would these countries have our back, and would we help them, if a major war were to break out? It's certainly a legitimate question.

We've had adverse relationships with China and Russia for a long time. What if one side decides to push the other into war? Who could we count on for help? Our financial ties are saving us from war, which is another reason why Trump's insistence on tariffs is illogical beyond what it has done to farmers in places like Kentucky.

But wars aren't fought just to ensure we have allies in the future. China helped us during the second World War, but they're now viewed more as an enemy while Japan is considered an ally.

One reason our country has traditionally used to justify war is freedom. The most important facet of our freedom is in selecting our leadership. That doesn't seem to match our voter turnout, which is abysmal. Even during presidential races, we're lucky if one out of two registered voters casts a ballot.

While many are patriotic around Memorial Day, Independence Day and D-Day, it seems the action of voting is too strenuous for the majority of our electorate. Men and women died to allow people in other countries to have the freedoms that we don't even take advantage of here. But there's no shortage of complaining.

We have become extremely complacent.

Even the poorest among us have opportunities that so many people in this world will never have. We have access to clean water, food and jobs. Sure, many of us were born into better family situations, come from backgrounds that give us "privilege" and have more opportunities than others, but the American Dream is alive. It just requires some work and dedication, yet too many people are content with making excuses and expecting others to do the heavy lifting.

Let's not end on a sour note.

While it's past time for this country — specifically its citizens — to take a self-inventory, it's certainly not too late to realize the dream that those who fought and died for this country envisioned for us.

And I'm not just talking about veterans. Civil Rights and women's rights leaders, journalists, protestors and too many other people from so many walks of life have paid dearly to create and protect an equal society. We owe it to them to make good on their investments.

It starts at home. Be aware of what's happening in your community. Help where you can. Hold your local leaders accountable by voting and being aware of how they're spending your tax money.

Let's stop this journey we're on down a path of separation. It doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office, you can pretty much be guaranteed they don't have a lot in common with your or me. This country is about so much more than politicians.

Let's get past the prejudice. There are plenty of people who still hate others because of the color of their skin. Let's not adapt beliefs and policies that fuel that fire.

This D-Day, think for a few minutes about what those soldiers were fighting for when they entered a death trap on the beaches of France. The U.S. was certainly not perfect in 1944, but we stood together against evil in the name of a greater cause. We seem to be losing sight of that greater cause, replacing it with ignorance, apathy and hate.

Suddeath is the editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at dsuddeath@glasgowdailytimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @DsuddeathGDT.

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