“What did you do in the war, Daddy?” is a simple but searing question children are apt to ask after their parents have lived through turbulent times.
It began as a recruiting poster meme in Great Britain during the Great War, World War I. It retains powerful currency, for we have entered another great war, this one without bullets but with trenches dug by unwavering allegiances to politically opposite beliefs in the direction our country is taking under an unorthodox president.
What did you do, congressman and senator, while Donald Trump trampled upon the Constitution, negating the integrity of checks and balances set up to prevent authoritarian rule?
What did you do, cabinet secretary, when you weakened protections on the environment, labor conditions, international relations, alliances with allies?
What did you do, judges and justices, when executive power tried to run rampant?
What did you do, military officers, when your leadership and expertise were mocked by a draft dodger who dishonored Gold Star parents and prisoners of war?
What did you do, intelligence gatherers and analysts, when your findings were discarded and the diabolical promises of our adversaries were believed?
What did you do, scientists and educators, when science, truth and facts were dismissed as fake?
What did you do, immigration and border personnel, when the dictates of a racist autocrat superseded the universal values of family and sanctity of human life?
What did you do, American citizen, when duty called for you to register to vote and to cast your ballot? Did you accept your obligation or did you succumb to passive acceptance?
Did you stay quiet while “truth, justice and the American way” was transformed into lies, injustice and a grifter’s idyllic?
Or did you, at last, finally, rise from your miasma of loyalty to the Office of the President to demonstrate loyalty to the nation, to our ideals as a country of equals and equal opportunity?
We are in a war for the very soul of America. No superhero will materialize to save the day. Each of us will have to undertake the simple but heroic action of saying, “Enough already! Give us back our pride, our values, our integrity, our humanity, our country!”