They are called the “Greatest Generation”; they are the Americans who survived the Great Depression, and fought an epic war on two fronts to defeat the German Nazis, the Italian Fascists, and the Imperial Army of Japan to reclaim freedom for countries from Europe to the Pacific. In my popular book “The Mortarmen” I tell the story of my father’s unit in World War II, the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The unit landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and was in combat for 326 straight days, including the battles of Carentan, the Cherbourg Peninsula, the Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge.
My father, 1LT Roy E. Connelly, was considered one of the “old men” of the unit because he was twenty one years old, and the average age of the men in the 87th was nineteen when they landed on the beach in Normandy. These men and their fellow soldiers won the war and when they returned home my dad and others took advantage of the G.I. bill to get an education and then went on with their lives. They got jobs, raised families, and patriotically supported the country that they had fought to defend. They did not expect the government to give them free stuff and take care of them and their families. In fact, they were so proud; they would not have even considered such an offer.
My father and mother raised my brother and me to believe in the American dream, but also to be prepared to earn it. I had my first job at age 15 and haven’t stopped working since that time. I started out shining shoes on the weekends at a neighbor’s barber shop, and mowing lawns. Then I went to work as a laboratory assistant at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and after that paid for my own college education by working in the offshore oil fields during the summer.
I was also a campus activist, but as a conservative. I supported the concept of Victory in Vietnam and supported our troops. I served as President of the Young Republicans chapter and chapter chairman and eventually state chairmen of the Young Americans for Freedom. My main adversary on the campus was Dan, the President of the Young Democrats. At LSU there was an alley between the main student union building and the theater and every Wednesday at noon it was designated as free speech alley.
A soap box was set up on the top of some steps and a moderator made sure that anyone who had something they wanted to say had the opportunity to do so. The President of the Young Democrats and I used to have epic debates in the alley. We passionately challenged each other’s ideas and candidates, but things were different then. After the debate Dan and I would retire to the student union to have a few beers together. We were actually good friends and neither one of us would ever have tried to silence the other. We both believed in the Constitution, and especially in the right of free speech.
Neither of us had any tolerance for the crazies at either end of the political spectrum. David Duke, the notorious leader of the Ku Klux Klan was a classmate of ours, although then he was the leader of an organized chapter of the Nazi Party. There were also plenty of crazies on the left, who were perfectly willing to try and shut up anyone who disagreed with them, and I was physically attacked several times. After the first two times, when it didn’t work out too well for my attackers that approach was abandoned.
Also back in those days Dan and I had the complete support of the campus administration that believed that college campuses were truly places where all ideas should be expressed and discussed. I even had my only weekly conservative column in the campus newspaper. I was free to write a column on any subject I chose and it was never censored or even edited. Can you imagine that happening today at most left wing controlled university campuses?
I graduated from LSU and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army reserve. Then I went to law school and paid for it with a combination of student loans and part time work. When I graduated, the student loans were a burden, but I paid them off fairly quickly. It never occurred to me that someone else, such as American taxpayers should pay my debt, just as it never occurred to me that I would not have to compete to be successful.
Now, let’s fast forward to today’s generation of college students. They are truly part of the entitlement generation, whether they are in college or not. They have been taught that competition is unhealthy and wrong. It started when they were young. They were taught that if you play Little League baseball you deserve a trophy even if your team never wins a game. If you excel in school, that excellence cannot be recognized because it might hurt the feelings of those students who did not work as hard as you did.
The only thing that many of the current college generation excel at is political correctness. They are demanding and getting so called safe spaces on college campuses where they will be insulated from having to hear anyone express ideas that they might disagree with or be offended by. University administrators and professors are using the doctrine of political correctness to stifle free speech and freedom of religion. On many college campuses and even in elementary and high schools you cannot even mention your religious beliefs unless you are a Muslim.
As a participant in this politically correct society you have no Constitutional rights unless you are a member of some designated minority group. If you are a member of one of these groups that categorize people because of your race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or illegal immigrant status you are victims of an oppressive society and are therefore eligible for special privileges. However, that is only applicable if you fully subscribe to the progressive liberal philosophy of being a slave on the liberal plantation.
You must submit to giving up your God given rights to exercise free will and express your true beliefs. You must submit to the left wing philosophy that you are two stupid to choose your own destiny, and you must allow the masters of the plantation to make all of your decisions for you. In return, the government will take care of you and give you free stuff.
If you are not a member of one of these favored groups you may still qualify for the free stuff if you acknowledge that you are a recipient of so called “white privilege, and you are somehow guilty by virtue of your race of unspecified crimes against minorities.
The fact is that we have allowed our educational system and many of our governments at the local, state, and federal levels to launch a propaganda war on our children that has not taught them about our Constitution, but taught them a revised version of American history that portrays our nation as the root of all of the evils in the world. This has resulted in utterly ridiculous demands by college students for even more special privileges.
In some universities this consist of demands that if students are active in pushing left wing causes such at black lives matter, or even working in political campaigns like that of crazy socialist Bernie Sanders that their professors be prohibited from giving them a grade lower than a “C”. In other words, they want to attend a university for four years, never go to class, take a test or a final exam, and yet still get a degree. At Yale University students are demanding that English literature courses that teach the great works of poets and playwrights like Shakespeare or Chaucer be banned, because having to learn about the literary accomplishments of white men creates a “hostile environment” for minority students.
So here they are, the perfect generation of wimps. They are young people who are uneducated, who also believe they are entitled to be taken care of by either their parents or the government, or preferably by both. They would never consider joining the military to defend their country, and have nothing but contempt for those who chose that option. They are incapable of independent thought and are therefore the perfect Nazi or Communist drones. For elitists like Obama or Clinton they are the perfect generation because they will always do what do what they are told. We have gone from the greatest generation to the lost generation, and as a result our Constitutional Republic is in grave danger.