I’m of the opinion that the great global conflicts between super powers began with the American Revolution and ended in WWII. In no small way this era global conflict ended because of the valor and bravery of those we honor this week.
D-day was the beginning of the end of WWII. With the end of superpower conflicts a new era of mutual coexistence progressed into an unprecedented era of mutual growth and prosperity.
Japan once an enemy became a model of ingenuity and success. NATO the UN, globalization of markets and democratic values spread and eventually crushed the Soviet Union. Never in human history have we seen more progress, more development or more prosperity. In fact our greatest challenge today—climate change—is a result of our genius in unlocking the power of fossil fuels.
So now we have the option of saying Orwell was wrong: tyranny is not our destiny. Instead Postman seemed to have figured it out. Our greatest threat my be our affluence. We are indeed amusing ourselves to death.
As we commemorate the victories of the past we should pause and reflect on the growing chorus of nationalists we see around the globe today. Nativism, xenophobia and authoritarianism are all on the rise. We can build on the legacy of the last 70 years or neglect it and drift backwards to the dark days of the past.
We have the resources to care for the world’s poor. We have the ability to bring stability to the climate. But do we have the moral courage? Can we find the strength in our prosperity to rediscover the higher calling to make the world a better, safer place?
I hope as we reflect on the courage of the last generation we can summon the conviction to do our best to leave a better world for the generation to come.