America, Then and Now

Here is a headline I just read, summarizing a letter to the editor at the LA Times criticizing Bill Maher’s calls to let Americans move on from Covid restrictions: “‘Done’ with COVID? Thank God our grandparents weren’t ‘done’ with World War II.”

The obvious difference between the two cases reveals the even more obvious difference between the American mainstream of today, as represented by that letter writer, and the American mainstream of 1940: Back then, a generation of Americans were prepared to upend and risk their lives to protect freedom; today, a generation of Americans are prepared to upend and risk freedom to protect their lives.

Courage vs. cowardice. Responsibility vs. petty self-interest. Honor vs. physical comfort. The future good vs. the immediate pleasure. The embodied soul vs. the dispirited body. 

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