Why 'The Greatest Generation'?

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Tom Brokaw coined the phrase “the Greatest Generation” for those Americans who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and who went on to fight, kill and die in World War II. You have to ask yourself why a key spokesman for the established government-friendly (to say the least) mainstream media would hold these Americans in such high regard.
 
Since Brokaw is a solid part of the establishment, he and others like him have a deeply vested interest in maintaining the status quo, just as the government does. As America and the world continue to sink into what some people are calling the beginnings of the Greatest Depression, what better example to hold up for people to follow than a generation who suffered severe poverty and lack of food, clothing, medicine and shelter in silence during the last major economic upheaval in the 1930s, and who then blindly believed and obeyed the government by unquestioningly marching off to an unnecessary war in 1941?
 
The average American does seem to be too naïve, especially in the 1930s. For example, when World War I veterans were suffering with their families in 1932 due to the economic depression, they formed a virtual army of 17,000 veterans and approximately 26,000 of their family members, the Bonus Army. Their purpose was to petition Congress and President Hoover to allow them early redemption of their Service Certificates they received for their service to the government in “the war to end all wars,” WW I.  They were encouraged in their purpose by retired U.S.M.C. General Smedley Butler, who is the author of the eye-opening book, War Is a Racket.
 
The veterans set up a camp near Congress. However, Hoover ordered the police to clear the veterans and their impoverished families from their camps. The veterans resisted and several of them were gunned down by the police, but the veterans and their camps remained. The next day Hoover ordered the U.S. Army under General MacArthur to clear the American veterans from Washington, D.C.  When the veterans saw the U.S. troops, they started to cheer, thinking they were there to honor them! However, they were deadly wrong. The troops attacked the veterans and their families, killing some and evicting all of them. After this display of brutal armed force and violence by the government, there was not much serious resistance to it.
 
Instead of suffering in silence as “the Greatest Generation” did, they should have “abolished” the government as called for by the Declaration of Independence. If they had done that, there could have been a community free of the misery that was the Great Depression, and World War II may never have happened.
 
Today, as we find ourselves in similar circumstances with the first stages of the Greatest Depression and the government starting wars halfway around the world, we need to ask ourselves what, if anything, are we are going to do. Are we going to follow the example of our parents and grandparents, of “the Greatest Generation” and suffer along with our loved ones in humiliating silence? Will young people look to serving the government’s war machine as a way out of unemployment and poverty, thus strengthening the cause of our problems, just as “the Greatest Generation” did? Will soldiers and Marines follow the soulless and disgusting example of their predecessors who attacked and fired on the helpless military veterans and their families of the Bonus Army? We have a lot of very important questions that must be answered sooner than we think.

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Robert L. Johnson's picture
Columns on STR: 92

Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com.  He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  He wrote the introduction to The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and also writes for Examiner.com.

Comments

ALLEN090's picture

Robert,
You hit the bulls eye.