Food for Thought During These Troubling Times

November 11th Remembrance Day is once again upon us. This is a commemorative day to remember the members of our armed forces who have died serving their country.  The observation of Remembrance Day in most countries is to remember the end of World War I, which ended on the eleventh hour of November 11 in 1918.

Normandy Beaches France

Since visiting Vimy Ridge and the Normandy Beaches in France five years ago, my wife and I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) have a much stronger appreciation for all soldiers and the sacrifice they made to maintain peace and freedom in our world. Visiting both WWI and WWII military cemeteries was a humbling experience to say the least. What shocked us the most was the age of many of the soldiers, some as young as 17 years old. We now attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies with much more gratitude and appreciation for all soldiers. It is essential that we remember the soldiers who have lost their lives, or put their lives on the line, to protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens.

WWII was a war to stop fascism. I speak about WWII because it was the war I taught about the most as a teacher and am most familiar with. During that time in history Italy was ruled by Benito Mussolini, a fascist leader. The Nazi Party, led by the best known fascist, Adolf Hitler, a leader who adopted a form of fascism that incorporated fanatical racism against Jews. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” An interesting thought. During the pre-1945 period, Japan moved into political totalitarianism, ultranationalism (extreme nationalism), and fascism ending in Japan’s invasion and of China in 1937. According to some accounts, thousands of Chinese civilians were buried alive, machine-gunned or used for bayonet practice. Females were taken and forced into labour as “comfort women” (sex slaves for Japanese officers and soldiers). There were other fascist leaders during that time.

What is fascism? Fascism is a term coined by Benito Mussolini in 1919, who described it as a belief system for his political movement. Merriam Webster defines fascism as:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

I would define fascism as bullying (#bullying #antibullying)  especially since it involves suppression of opposition. When you get down to the root cause of both World Wars, and all conflicts,  the cause is division. With COVID and the US election, the world—I believe—has never been this divided. What is happening in our world today is a reminder to humanity to unify as a human family, or once again fall into the chaos of war and other atrocities. We must be able to hold our truths and still respect other people’s truths. As Alexandre Dumas, one of the Three Musketeers says, “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.” If division continues to pervade in our world, we are headed for trouble.

Fascism is a term that seems to be used a lot these days. Just last night, my wife and I were watching a series called, This is Us, and a character’s teenage daughter in anger calls her dad a fascist. President Trump  has been accused of being a fascist  (see Trump a fascist). There are those who say Democrats are fascists (see Democratic Party). Some even argue that fascism is creeping into Canada (see Blogger Mark). Is fascism alive and well today? I don’t know but it feels like it with our rights and freedoms being removed because of COVID. The National Post has an opinion piece titled: We are giving up our freedoms in the fight against COVID-19, which questions whether those freedoms will be returned to us.

What I find disturbing is what the Huffpost’s 2014 article, Government of the Rich, by the Rich and for the Rich, says:

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me.

I always intuitively felt that was true. One set of rules for the wealthy elites, and one for the rest of us. There are many who argue that elected governments have little power and are merely puppets of a shadow government known as the Deep State. Mainstream Media calls the Deep State a conspiracy theory. Interestingly, Newsweek’s article, The Unraveling of the Deep State’s Coup Against President Trump, speaks about the Deep State as real and not conspiracy theory. Could this be true?

Italian fascist leader, Benito Mussolini once said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Wiktionary defines corporatism as “The influence of large business corporations in politics.” Is this what is happening?

Nephew of John F Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says: “While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business.” American politician, Henry A. Wallace, once said:

A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.

That is a scary quote. Is fascism reappearing in our world today? I don’t know, but I see a lot of disturbing things happening in our world right now. I would like to believe fascism was eliminated at the end of WWII. As I said in my last post, How Do You Know What is Truth?  it is time for us to start thinking critically.

The truth is humanity must learn how to unify in a divided world. As J.K. Rowling said in her book, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” Mahatma Gandhi, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule, once said: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” That is so true! To unify means to step out of that mind-set that ‘I am right and you are wrong;’ the mindset of I must convince you of my truth.  You are sovereign individual and I am sovereign individual, and I may not agree with you and you may not agree with me, but that is okay. That is very different from you are wrong, you’re ignorant, or you are stupid. Richard Twiss, a Native American educator and author, says: “You can’t have unity without diversity.”I believe that to be true. We will never live in a world where everyone thinks the same, or believes the same. Besides, wouldn’t that be a boring world. The fact is, everyone is entitled to their truth (perspective, beliefs). The challenge is: Can I/you respect other people’s truth? If we can do that, unity will be achieved. If we can’t do that, we are headed for troubling times; a time filled with bullying. I am convinced we humans can create a better world, but first we must achieve unity in diversity to do that.

Author: Sommer season all year

I am a retired school teacher. I taught high school for 35 years.

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