I’m going to digress from my usual thoughts and wicked ideas and get serious for once. Make the most of it, I may not stay serious for long!
Seventy years ago today, over a hundred and fifty thousand very brave men began a job that was dangerous, difficult, and frankly terrifying. They made a frontal assault on Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall” in order to retake Europe from tyranny. Many things have happened since then, but in all honesty I think this moment defined much of the decades that have followed it. Some of these men may have been thinking of those dying in Nazi-controlled territory, some may have been thinking of democracy and freedom, but I suspect most were thinking “Dear God let me get through the next few hours alive and not too badly hurt!”
A lot has changed since then, but let’s be clear on a few things their legacy has left us that we still have:
We still have freedom of speech, even if no-one is listening. We can rally and protest and shout what we want, and we shouldn’t be getting a free ticket to jail without trial for doing so. We can publish ideas, and books are not burned and visionaries imprisoned for just what they are thinking.
We still have some say in choosing our leaders. Maybe not as much as we’d like, but we still get to vote.
Think about that before you next compare a leader, or candidate, to Hitler. Because if they really were a Hitler, you wouldn’t be saying it without fearing for your life. And if you aren’t fearing for your life, it can’t actually be true. Don’t insult the memory of all those very brave men and women who died in Normandy and so many other places by drawing such comparisons that are blatantly untrue. Instead honour their sacrifice by speaking out honestly and frankly about what you think is wrong, engage in debate, look at the evidence, and do not forget that many times the people you are disagreeing with believe just as passionately in the rightness of their cause as you do in yours. Do that, and we’ll always find a way through without such terrible cost ever being needed again.