August 31, 2023
Look up the word ‘generations’ today and there may be as many as there are emerging genders. But the result of generational responsibility is the world one generation leaves behind for the next or the one after that. Historically, adult conversations have recognized succeeding generations ‘stand on the shoulders’ of the ones that came before. We are an ‘apprentice based’ society with an inherent responsibility to mentor those coming behind. The world we leave should be better than the world we found. For those that came before, it was always worth fighting for and, in many cases, dying for. Not so today? Have we abandoned that generational responsibility?
It matters not whether you believe in the catchy terms of Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation X, Generation Z or even, respectfully, the Greatest Generation. While each may have their unique qualities or motivations, they all should feel a moral and cultural need to provide a legacy to their own next generation. That idealistic concept may soon become an unachievable dream.
We are, and have always been, a Constitutional Republic. We elect people to represent us in our Congress, both Senate and House. We elect a President. We depend on honest and open journalistic freedom to shape our opinions and, in a perfect world, we hope to live up to our generational responsibility. Where and when did that hope come off the rails? It’s hard to say but it has been going on for many years. Somehow the forces of evil have invaded and taken root in our historic American DNA once the ‘beacon on the hill’. The door has been opened for an insidious infection of a Marxist ideology that may threaten any hope of achieving that generational responsibility.
In the end, it comes down to a matter of trust, or lack of it, in our foundational institutions. We trusted that our elected leaders would take an oath to support and defend our Constitution. We trusted that our election process would maintain purity to elect leaders that would truly represent our interests, as a nation. We trusted in our sacred and apolitical military leaders. We trusted in our school systems. Or…. we used to.
So “Trust” has become yet another word that is hard to define.
Our forefathers recognized the human frailties of ‘trust’ and created the three pillars of our form of Government, each meant to control that elusive element. They were very smart men and their legacy was prescient for our nation. Their future would be marked by success or death by hanging so they truly had skin in the game. Our Constitution remains very relevant today. They recognized the concept of generational responsibility.
Perhaps taking a closer look at the state of our nation should be done from their perspective.
Our open southern border allows the unimpeded influx of migrants and deadly drugs, enriching the cartels and imposing severe financial strains on local communities, a perverse inversion of our capitalist economy. Overwhelming our welfare system is a key element of the Marxist playbook, not our Constitution. Doing it at the expense of our veterans and our homeless is a further afront to our founding principles. The consequences of the infusion of dangerous drugs across the open border, coupled with the transportation of undocumented migrant elements throughout the entire nation is counter to any sense of national security or public safety, our core Constitutional mandates.
There is a slow rot occurring with the continual elimination of criminal justice. The allowance of an unexplained tolerance of smash and grab tactics, the no cash bail policy, the defund the police initiatives and rampant and lawless homelessness make no sense to most Americans. Making common crime an acceptable consequence is fundamental to the unwelcome move toward Socialism. We have somehow ingrained a justice system that not only supports these new initiatives but is now resulting in a two-tiered system steeped in political partisanship.
Not what the founding fathers envisioned and antithetical to our Constitution. We are rapidly moving toward a world where our grandchildren may one day speak Mandarin.
Most critical to our community of veterans is the divisive woke ideology that began with liberal universities but has now permeated our public-school systems. Unthinkable events to previous generations are commonplace phenomenon now. When did drag queens performing for kids, mandatory pronouns, abortion on demand for much of the nation, celebration of homosexual “pride” and the literally insane phenomenon of rampant transgenderism and its perverse promotion to even small children become acceptable? The resultant cultural poisoning of the military recruiting process has setback our ability to attract the next generation of military leaders. This infection is now permeating the senior leadership institutions of our services and our service academies. Inspiring ordinary people to do extraordinary things is no longer the mantra of our military leadership. This loss of focus within the military may be the single largest threat to sustaining our leadership within the global community.
We live in a world of good vs evil. Words matter and they mean very different things to different people. Often, they are carefully manipulated to do exactly that. Our nation’s legacy of strength and leadership has historically been based on our sense of God, family and patriotism and are codified in our Constitution. All three of those are under assault. The erosion of our strength and leadership has been well recognized by both our allies and our enemies. Nature abhors a vacuum and the same can be said about our leadership on the world stage.
There are arguably many faults in our journey to this point in our evolution as the strongest nation on the planet. But there are also many unarguable strengths. No society is perfect. Societal suicide is a biproduct of abandoning founding principles and succumbing to human frailties like greed, pride, and narcissism. We are seeing that today.
Our founding fathers lived up to their generational responsibility. Our greatest generation fought for our freedoms in World War 1 and 2, Korea and Vietnam. They endured sacrifices and endured challenges that our generations will never know and, apparently, will never appreciate. They lived up to their generational responsibilities.
So…how about us? Are we passively leaving it to our kids and their kids to dig themselves out of this ditch?
There aren’t many options. We can be ignorant or apathetic and take no responsibility. ‘Not our problem’ is a common refrain for those with a misplaced trust in the institutions that manage the state of our nation. Or…. we can be an activist, a change agent, and a vocal advocate to help recapture the basic freedoms we enjoyed that came at a steep cost in human and national treasure from those that came before us. Or…. we can silently salute the freedoms we have enjoyed and welcome those that come behind to a new world we never had to experience.
Which will it be? It all comes down to two words: Generational Responsibility.
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Mr. Burbage is a Naval Academy graduate, former Navy Test pilot and industry leader. He is working with a group of like minded individuals concerned with the ongoing movement to fundamentally change the focus of our military and specifically our Service Academies.