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Opinion | The cowardice will doom us

The heroes we honored on Memorial Day would be disgusted by the cowardice of so many Americans.

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John Basilone was a bad, bad man, and an actual American hero. 

Spread thin, tired and hungry, Basilone led a group of just 15 Marines tasked with protecting an airstrip on the island of Guadalcanal in March 1942. In the dark of night, Japanese forces attacked. Basilone and his small crew held off more than 1,500, with Basilone running from bunker to bunker to fix jammed machine guns and operate the guns. By morning, only Basilone and two others were alive, and at least 1,000 Japanese soldiers had been killed. 

For his efforts, Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was sent home to safety, where the military asked him to be the face of an effort to sell war bonds to finance the troops. He couldn’t take leaving his fellow soldiers behind. So, he asked to be sent back to the frontlines. The Marines said no. He asked again. They relented. 

Outnumbered again on the island of Iwo Jima, Basilone and his fellow Marines were pinned down by a Japanese force that was dug into the mountains and using fortified blockhouses to fire on American troops. Basilone somehow managed to sneak past the enemy fire and wound up on the top of a blockhouse, which he then destroyed single handedly. He then guided an American tank out of a minefield and to safety. 

Basilone was killed a short time later on the island. He died an American hero, and his actions likely altered – or, at least, helped alter – the course of democracy and freedom. 

He cared so much about that freedom, about this country and what it stands for, that he left the safety and comforts of his life – twice – to willingly walk into hell to defend them. 

I thought about Basilone, and about the thousands of other brave men and women who have fought for this country and for the basic freedoms we enjoy, on Memorial Day, as I read the commemorative post from our former president in which he called his political opponents – his fellow Americans – “human scum.” And I thought about the cowardly men and women who have enabled him. And I thought about the cowardice that has now crippled this country, and that might very well be its downfall. 

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The fact is the men and women we honored on Monday would be ashamed of us. 

Dear God, the men who ran into almost certain death at Normandy or endured maggot-filled meals of plain rice as they fought off the Japanese on islands no one had ever heard of would be disgusted by a bunch of snowflakes who now coddle those same Nazis and make excuses for dictators because they fear so greatly anyone who looks different than them. 

Cowardice is killing the American dream. Slowly but surely. 

This place was built on the backs of men and women who ignored the odds and took a stand for freedom and liberty, and it was sustained by those who understood that a threat to democracy anywhere was a threat to democracy here.

Now, we’re overrun with cowards who are afraid of library books or that a transgender person might be allowed to use a public restroom. We’ve allowed fear and hatred to rule our lives, determine our votes and thoroughly divide us. 

Nowhere is that cowardice more clear than in the sickening, detestable devotion to the former president. And that especially true for those who know better. 

That is the majority of the Republican Party at this point. They know. 

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But their cowardice prevents them from taking a stand. From simply telling the truth. Or from simply refusing to be connected with this deplorable human. 

We’ve gone from one man taking on 1,000 enemy combatants to an entire political party being too afraid to speak out against one man who literally led a failed coup against this country. And make no mistake about it, that’s exactly what Trump and his minions attempted – an orchestrated coup to undermine the voting process and use the American military and certain offices to remain in power. 

He’s the only president in American history who tried to not leave after getting beat. And he based his coup on absolute lies, which have been proven lies over and over and over again. 

And yet, the cowards continue to bend their knees in deference to a wanna-be dictator (even if just for one day). They continue to spread his lies. They continue to look the other way when he cozies up to dictators. They continue to pretend that the emperor isn’t naked. 

The heroes that we honored on Monday would be disgusted.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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