By Vietnam Veteran Michael Brewer – Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
In these days of polarized, pugnacious pundits of doom and gloom, it strikes me that the most honorable tribute to our fallen warriors would be a month of silence commencing on Memorial Day and running forward so as to fully memorialize the meaning of the day beyond a day vacation bash.
Naturally one would not retreat as monk, but the silence I envision would be a nationwide fasting from all political opinion and identity politics, none of which ever exist on a battlefield where “we are all green,” as the saying goes for the combatant.
Turn off all radio and cable news for 30 d out of respect for the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the very existence of those entities. Show the world that we are united as Americans first, not because we have an opinion that trumps our neighbors. Loud and boisterous opinions in combat are a security risk.
So let’s for just one month imagine we are in combat for the soul of America and silence ourselves, knowing that we will not shrivel up without a pronounced proclamation of our position on the state of nation. That would sound trumpets of respect for our fallen warriors. That would place E Pluribus Unum above advertisers’ click bait for advocacy journalism.
Homo lupus homini – Man is wolf to man. We must find a way to mute the mounting rude and ruthless incivility that has become acceptable and oddly laudable and, even more sinister, monetized.
It is said that “evil thrives on resistance,” making silence the only antidote to the chaotic cacophony that is subsuming the nation. The last degenerate Emperor of Rome in 509 heard the same angry wailing on the way out.
War shows no sign of lessening. From the Peloponnesian Wars to the Crusades, through the French Revolution, two World Wars, endless Revolutions inside nation states, to the undeclared wars of assimilation in Korea and Vietnam and now 25 years of tribal quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, all ending in stalemates.
There has always been a dislike for “unlikes” – Whites against Blacks, Christians and Jews, Muslims and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Irish and British and now our own Red and Blue wars. Yet, in all my years, I have not witnessed such brutal inhumanity.
The only First Amendment antidote to this calamity of voices that are not folding into anything fruitful or formative for posterity is silence.
“Only the dead know the end of war.” – Plato
In honor of Memorial Day 2023, let’s imitate the deceased with our silence.