Today is a day that used to live in infamy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I can’t blame you………because you won’t find much mention of it in what passes for the News these days. This day in 1941, the Japanese Imperial Empire launched a surprise attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Their goal was to obliterate the U.S. Carrier and Battleship fleet in a preemptive strike……..part of a larger strategy to discourage and cripple America’s will to fight another World War. For a myriad of reasons, the United States was unprepared for – and not interested in – engaging in another costly European war……….in contrast, Japan had a simple and clear reason for their disastrous decision. America was weak.
By all measures their assumption was correct. After a decade of depression, and many failed attempts to restart the economy by the government-expanding Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. was stagnant and preoccupied. The American government had not modernized, reformed, or evaluated their Armed Forces since the bloodbath of The Great War just two decades before……..and as a result our soon-to-be enemies – with their armored divisions, technology, and airpower – were confident of our disadvantage and lack of will. The Japanese were betting that decimating our already lagging capabilities would take us out of the coming storm………….and in great historical fashion they were wrong. But why?
The reason the Axis powers were wrong is simple: America was a united people of a united culture, homogenized by assimilation and education, possessed of shared values and with a shared sense of nationalism…..even if their politics were not aligned. Even though the United States had many challenges to face regarding civil rights and equality, all parties agreed on one thing: we were attacked and under threat……and we must defend ourselves. The events that followed led to not just victory in war, but advancements in integration and desegregation……and in my opinion – to the civil rights movement and legal equality. Regardless, the triumph of the Allies in WW2, with all of our collected sins, was a triumph of good versus evil……and the world became a better – though still ( and forever ) imperfect – place as a result.
Now ask yourself, would the same thing happen today?
We live in an America, and a Western World, were tribalism, political correctness, and identity politics have taken over. When I look back at the news articles of 1941 America, the cartoons, the productions of Hollywood and it’s stars, even the strategies employed for victory – such as the atomic bomb and fire bombings of Japan – I can’t help but give an unequivacable answer to my aforementioned question; No.
With the youth of America so bored, unchallenged, and coddled that the crises of the day center around how many genders there are ( uhh…..two ) and what pronouns we should use, and at the same time dangerously equating words with actual violence……how could we? With a significant percentage of the population resenting, critiquing, and denouncing the society that bred their arrogance and opulence, and by default are rooting for its downfall? With 77 percent of its youngest voting age population actually in favor of the very socialism/fascism/communism that thousands upon thousands of their progenitors died a horrific death to deny and destroy? Would we have the will to intern Japanese, Italians, and Germans in an effort to prevent domestic attacks?
Well……thank God that the youth of 1941 were a better, though flawed, people…..from a better, though flawed generation. Be thankful that they believed America could make the world a better and more just place. Also, be thankful that they knew a truth that many today, in this last tenuous bastion of freedom, have forgotten: that perfection is the enemy of The Good….and that a people of united culture and will can accomplish anything. May we honor those that answered the call that was made on this day, December 7th, 1941.
” ….The American people will through their righteous might win through absolute victory…with confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt