June 3, 2020

After vowing to keep his silence about what he really thinks about the reckless fascist in the White House, General James Mattis decided maybe he ought to break that silence now.

Maybe it was the fence around the White House. Maybe it was the threat deployment of the U.S. military against America's citizens. Maybe it was the the sight of Lafayette Park being cleared with tear gas and billy clubs against people exercising their First Amendment right to protest. Maybe it's seeing red states send their National Guard troops to Washington, D.C to protect Dear Leader.

Whatever it was, Mattis wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic, calling for Americans to unite in spite of Donald Trump.

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try," Mattis writes. "Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children."

Well, yes, and forgive me for saying that we owed this to our fellow citizens, past generations and to our children 3 years ago. Or 2 years ago. Or not even a year ago, when he declared his silence.

Still. Late or not, he's right, and this illustration is a stark reminder of the two roads the nation can travel upon:

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

If nothing else, it should be a reminder to members of the United States Armed Forces to remember whom they serve. It's not Donald Trump.

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