“Adult: Noun: A person who is fully grown or developed.”
“Adult: Verb: Behave in a way characteristic of a responsible adult.”
“Adult: Adjective: Describing no one in modern American politics.”
So the President of the United States and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives chose the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy (D-Day) to sit in front of a graveyard full of the brave men and women who died in that battle, and give cable news interviews wherein they sniped at each other.
Very little mention of the occasion, very little mention of the stirring sight behind them, very little (for wont of a better word,) adulthood going on.
The ground on which they sat is the very definition of hallowed ground. In fact, the best way to describe the graveyards of Normandy was voiced by Abraham Lincoln when he dedicated the Gettysburg Cemetery:
“It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we highly resolve here that these dead shall not have died in vain …”
Time has sadly taken its toll on those who survived that epic battle against tyranny and oppression. There are very few survivors of World War II left to share their harrowing stories of bravery and sacrifice. And sadly, it seems simple things like respect, dignity, honor and appreciation for moment and place are dying away with that “Greatest Generation” as well.
It’s sickening and saddening that the president of the nation and its third in line of succession couldn’t act like adults for one day. That they couldn’t bring themselves to fully appreciate the immense sacrifice made by the people whose graves they sat before, (and metaphorically spat upon.) That they couldn’t muster the small effort it would’ve taken to show those brave souls (and their families) the respect they deserve, no, EARNED with their very lives. That scoring political points, and making a show on cable news was more important to “leaders” than taking the time to fully recognize the “last full measure of devotion,” displayed right there before their eyes.
In my column last week, I said I look forward to be offended, because that’s how I know I’m free. I guess that means right now I’m just about the most free man on the face of the Earth.
However, I think it’s important for me to remember there’s a difference between being offended by a hateful statement or an insensitive joke and being outright disappointed and ashamed to be associated with “leaders” who’d behave so heartlessly, so selfishly, so incredibly foolishly in front of the graves of heroes.
Also, for me, is the disappointment with the “journalists,” who were in such a hurry to get ratings, and maybe promote their personal political agendas, that they goaded those leaders on with questions that definitely could’ve waited until the lot of them were all back home. Not on that hallowed ground, not on that auspicious day, not during a recognition of immense sacrifices made by people who were head and shoulders better than those who couldn’t muster enough adulthood to show simple respect for true heroism and devotion.
I’d say shame on the lot of them, but I fear the only appropriate adjective for all of them is “shameless.”
Those who read my column regularly know my pet political fantasy that in just one election, we vote every incumbent out of office. I can think of no better reason for that fantasy to come true next year than the behavior of elected “leaders” in Normandy. You’ll notice I didn’t single either side out. The lot of them have to go.
Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.