By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
This 4th of July is important in American history because it was 75 years ago now that the Allies were in the process of finishing off fascism in Europe. My husband, Steve, often says that “words mean things,” and here are a few somewhat playful things to think of as we grapple with a strange and challenging time in the good ol’ US of A.
So, here is sassy question number one: If the contemporary word, “Antifa,” is supposed to refer to being organized and committed to the destruction of fascism, then were the Allies in fact the original members of Antifa? Probably not, seeing as the current members of Antifa think that such concepts as patriotism, freedom of religion, free market capitalism, national sovereignty, and constitutional conservatism are not acceptable. Ironically, today’s Antifa started in Germany. It uses two flags to signify its flagship philosophies: anarchy and communism. Wiki has this to say about Antifa:
Individuals involved in the movement tend to hold anti-authoritarian and anti- capitalist views, subscribing to a range of left-wing ideologies such as anarchism, communism, Marxism, social democracy and socialism. Both the name antifa and the logo with two flags representing anarchism and communism are derived from the German Antifa movement.
I’ll let you simmer in that one for a moment, as you get ready to celebrate your first COVID 4th of July in your car if that’s the way you choose to pause publically to appreciate what was purchased for you by liberators of long ago. Bottom line, the true, real, honorable members of the original Antifa were the ones who pushed back the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini; the ones who were willing to die for the freedom of others. The current ones are interlopers.
Now, here is playful poke number two: Several of the WWII liberators of the Netherlands were black, and they are honored to this day by the Dutch as families choose, generation after generation, to adopt their graves and be their keepers as a token of appreciation for giving their lives to defeat, wait for it… fascism. They were members of the 784th Tank Battalion, and had to endure segregation while they fought. In spite of true injustice, these black soldiers got it that black lives matter, white lives matter, brown lives matter, all lives matter, and all lives deserve to be free. And, they got it that freedom is never free. The great irony is that they gave everything even when at the time, back home, they did not possess the same level of freedom for which they spilled their blood on foreign soil. This is why they will always be the Greatest Generation.
Why did they do it? I have got to believe that even though 75 years ago there were great gaps when it came to “liberty and justice for all,” they saw that it was indeed the original organizational concept that eventually became America that was the only system with even a snowball’s chance in a very hot place of ever getting it right. Their money was on the dream, even if it didn’t come true in their lifetime.
Who do these guys remind you of? The folks in Hebrews 11 that are also thought of as heroes. Here’s what it says about them: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
On this 4th, be a pilgrim, be persuaded, embrace the possibilities, and while you are at it, confess your thanks to a vet who was willing to die to make you free. And remember, your life matters.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner