In our wokeness, Memorial Day’s meaning is compromised
Millions of Americans, from your neighbor down the street to those who strolled Arlington Cemetery, marked Memorial Day Monday.
It is a day to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, dying while defending the cause of freedom both within American borders and at various global outposts.
We should already know this. But the president’s first tweet regarding the day was wishes to “stay cool, folks, over the weekend,” with no mention of the underlying theme. The vice president tweeted “enjoy the long weekend” with a picture of herself.
Then their staffers must have seen social media outcry over the tonedeaf oversight and the standard respectful reminders of the reason for the long weekend came pouring forward from both. Too late.
We are left to wonder if the president and vice president even know that Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to honor those who had fought and died. Do they know formerly enslaved people in Charleston, S.C., organized one of the earliest commemorations?
That flies in the face of the “systemically racist” charge President Biden regularly attaches to the country he is supposed to lead with unity.
Never mind that the commentary on race relations in America is coming from someone who eulogized former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, a former organizer and member of the KKK, following his death in 2010.
But don’t expect a media whose deepest questions of the president often involve what flavor ice cream he ate to probe him about contradictions.
And a nation full of contradictions is precisely what those dead soldiers see as they look down on the country they died for.
They see a land where race is used as a political tool to gain power, facts and reality be damned.
Statues fall, building names are removed, cities burn, police are defunded and stripped of authority, our military training is upended and our borders are opened to drug cartels and illegal immigrants, all over an overhyped need to get “woke.”
Woke from what, the soldiers might ask.
In the past decade, the country twice elected a black president, with millions of white people behind that election. Many of the police forces under siege are heavy with minority members and led by very effective black police chiefs. Those are good things, correct?
In most of those cities, it is poorer neighborhoods heavy with minorities that are underprotected as police lose funding, numbers and authority.
While a horrifying incident involving a white policeman and a Black man triggered rioting and burning of cities the past 12 months, the prosecution never even mentioned race during the recent trial and there are no FBI statistics that show unarmed Black people are more likely to be harmed by policemen than white people. And just how does all the looting and rioting, much of it engineered by white anarchists, further the legitimate cause of racial justice?
Soldiers, Black and white, who have served together must wince as they watch people push revisions to make the military more woke. It’s doubtful race was on their minds when their existence depended on each other.
The only relationship more important than the military brotherhood and sisterhood would be the one involving a spouse, correct?
Well, since 1980 the number of Black spouses who interracially married has increased from 5 to 18 percent and the number of whites who interracially married has increased from 4 to 11 percent. A whole lot of people making the most important choice of their lives did not get the memo about systemic racism.
The soldiers must be horrified to watch borders they gave their lives for compromised by politicians with support from corporate media, with drug runners and flesh peddlers given preference over ranchers, border families, security agents and legal immigrants. And pardon their anger as they watch our president and other world leaders fail to stand up to China for its poisoning of the world with a pandemic.
If they could speak, these soldiers would tell us the country they fought and died for was — and is — imperfect.
They would also say it is the best version of a country that uses imperfect history as a springboard to improvement and has done so for nearly two and a half centuries.
There are miles of improving yet to do. But the woke path being pushed by a bully coalition of corporations, many college professors and administrators and fraudulent media types will not get us there.
The purpose of last weekend may have been an afterthought to the president, vice president, those corporations, college professors and administrators and media types who have forgotten their vocation.
They are the ones who need awakened to the sacrifices soldiers made to give them the lives they have.
Forgetting that is the ultimate sin.
David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette. None of the opinions expressed necessarily represent the views of the Sun-Gazette.