With the ringing in of 2016 we are now less than one year away from a proverbial “fork in the road” of electing our next President to lead us down our chosen path. The time is upon us to determine rather our place in history will be memorialized and revered as something great, like our grandparents of the Greatest Generation, or as something idle, who allowed our potential and opportunity to pass us by. What made their generation so great was how these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.

The issues faced by the Greatest Generation and their accomplishments correlate to many of the issues and accomplishments of Millennials today. It is hard to describe our replication of historical parallels without using the word phenomenon. Their Great Depression, to our Great Recession. They had Pearl Harbor, we had 9/11. They answered the call and fought in World War II, we’ve been fighting in the Global War on Terrorism since 2001. Their technological advancements of the Space Race to our innovations and creations of the internet and digital technology. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the establishment of marriage equality in 2015.

They endured much and accomplished more. They suffered through the Great Depression, implemented The New Deal, and put the country back together, defeated the Axis Powers and ended the Holocaust. They patriotically chose to raise taxes on the nation’s wealthiest and implemented many of the great social programs we have inherited. They provided relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy to normal levels, and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression. They went on to build the National Highway System and the rest of America’s great infrastructure and experienced great economic prosperity.

In 1944-45, the most progressive tax years in United States history, a 94% rate applied to those earning an income above $200,000 or about $4.8 million in today’s dollars. These tax revisions increased tax revenue to help the lower and middle class not only fight the war, but to pay for it as well. During the Global War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq we selfishly chose to cut taxes and offered huge tax breaks and refunds for those prospering from the war, not only leaving the lower and middle class to fight and die for their protection and prosperity, but to pay for the war financially as well, if and when they returned home.

Our Greatest Generation attempted to outlaw discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and ended racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and by facilities that served the general public with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They prohibited racial discrimination with the voting rights act of 1965.

They won the Space Race and the Nuclear Arms Race helping the United States reign supreme technologically, ideologically, and securely.

They endured much and accomplished more. But it was not easy. In order to accomplish these great achievements, many Americans suffered unimaginable violations of the civil rights we now take for granted, they were humiliated, suffered great acts of violence, and many died.

120,000 Japanese in America were arrested and thrown into internment camps from 1942 to 1945. 62% were U.S. citizens. Just as our current proposed Muslim ban and the anti-Muslim rhetoric, the internment camps resulted more from bigotry and racism than any danger posed by Japanese Americans. Nearly all of the 120,000 lived on the west coast, but in Hawaii, home of Pearl Harbor, where many of the 150,000 Japanese Americans had migrated to work on the islands’ sugar plantations and comprised over one-third of the populace, only 1,200 to 1,800 were imprisoned.

In 1954 Operation Wetback arrested and deported more than one million Latinos, many who were U.S. citizens unable to convince border patrol agents of their status. They were physically abused while having their civil rights violated, and 88 were killed in July of 1955 after being left in the desert heat of 112 degrees.

Not only does Donald Trump seem to endorse and praise the actions of Operation Wetback, his only nearly “substantive” plan as a presidential contender, other than adding $24.5 trillion to our national debt , seems to be to execute Operation Wetback II and cost tax payers another $114 billion on top of that $24.5 trillion.

They defeated Jim Crow and virtually obliterated overt racism, discrimination, and oppression, only to have it later replaced by a New Jim Crow, covertly disguised in the form of mass incarceration in for profit private prisons, resulting from the war on drugs and mandatory minimum laws.

We have the potential, opportunity, and power to get it right and elect Bernie Sanders and not allow the election of a President who, the last time she lived in the White House helped to create and perpetuate the second coming of Jim Crow, who has received payments from the private prison industry. I don’t mean to bash Hillary, but nobody would be able to if her record were not what it is. I have not decided if I could violate my integrity and morals just to vote for “The-Lesser-of-Two-Evils” instead of the best opportunity we’ve had in our lifetimes, if it comes down to that in the general, but she should not feel entitled to my vote or that of any other Bernie Sanders supporter because she has a (D) next to her name. As if anyone actually believes the corruption and greed in our political process is partisan or biased.

If we are successful and we turnout in the primaries, we will also have the potential, opportunity, and power to get it right and elect Bernie Sanders to refuse the schemes of the party energizing and motivating the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and blatantly attempting to undo the achievements of the Civil Rights activists of the 1960’s.

With the frightening rise of popularity of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the radical right, the media blackout and coziness of the DNC and Hillary Clinton, we are on the precipice of either getting it right and electing Bernie Sanders, or allowing the election of a President who not only wants to lead us down the wrong fork in the road and continue to do nothing about the issues we currently face, but wants to execute a U-turn and eliminate the accomplishments of our Greatest Generation and the principles which make our country great.

Unfortunately, they also unknowingly ushered in our dependency on fossil fuel and economically enslaved us to nations like Saudi Arabia, who we no doubt have conflicts of interest with, is the birthplace of Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, but for some reason still receive financial aid from U.S. taxpayers while refusing to help in the Global War on Terrorism or with the Syrian refugee crisis. Unfortunately, our dependency has been proven to cause climate change and if we choose to do nothing our actions will continue to have catastrophic effects on our planet.

We have the potential, opportunity, and power to elect Bernie Sanders, our strongest proponent for clean energy, because the fate of our planet cannot afford for us to elect a leader of the free world who still advocates for fossil fuel production in fracking and who took until September of 2015 to take a stance on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Whose State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to governments who had paid millions to her foundation while she served as Secretary of State.

Before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, Saudi Arabia paid at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation and two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing paid more than $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

As a result of the deal, Saudi Arabia was awarded $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets from a syndicate of American defense contractors led by Boeing.

We have the potential, opportunity, and power to elect Bernie Sanders and reject crony capitalistic politicians who have corrupted our democracy while accepting millions like I’ve mentioned, or ones that are unwilling to admit the legitimacy and scientific facts of climate change due to their own corrupt campaign finance enslavement from the fossil fuel industry.

With so many issues looming over our decision in November, our future, along with the future of our children and grandchildren is depending on us to get it right. With the looming threat of Daesh/ISIS, we need to elect Bernie Sanders who understands the difference between a strategic war of firepower and attrition and an ideological war of radicalization and recruitment. Bernie is calling for a united fighting coalition of Muslim countries, financially and logistically supported by the U.S. and other Christian majority countries all united to defeat the global threat of terrorism.

We cannot afford a Commander in Chief who plans to ship us, our friends, family, and children overseas to repeat the same strategic ineptitude that has morphed Al Qaeda into ISIS. A Commander in Chief who understands that in order to defeat “radical Islamic jihadists,” striving for martyrdom and destruction of infidels from the west, our actions can no longer create and recruit more radical Islamic jihadists striving for martyrdom and destruction of infidels from the west.

We can be the generation that grants free/affordable college education to our grandchildren the same way our grandparents of the Greatest Generation granted high school education to us during the high school movement between 1910 and 1940, in which high school enrollment in the United States rose from 19% to 73%, propelling the U.S. to become the world’s economic leader.

Certainly, we did not ask for or seek out these responsibilities, just as our grandparents had theirs thrust upon them, we cannot hope to fight and achieve for fame and recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. We can be revered and respected as the generation who chose to stand together in a political revolution to take our democracy back, who refused to apathetically accept corruption, greed,  and institutional racism to overpower and infect our political process and government, our healthcare system, education system, and our criminal justice system, who simultaneously saved the planet from global terrorism and global warming, or we can be the generation who chose to pass the buck and sat idly by with the entitlement granted to us by our grandparents and forefathers to ensure the perseverance of their earnings.

It’s finally 2016 and time to elect Bernie Sanders. Get involved and recruit in this political revolution. Donate if you can, when you can. Research and arm yourself with knowledge to educate, inform, recruit, and convert supporters of our political revolution. Campaign and caucus, host or attend a phone bank party at your own home or campaign office. Please visit https://go.berniesanders.com/page/s/volunteer to see how you can help.

“We must launch a political revolution which engages millions of Americans from all walks of life in the struggle for real change. This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class. And that’s what this campaign is all about. To win this campaign, all of us must be deeply involved. Our movement needs people like you to help it succeed.”

  • Bernie Sanders

Photo by Phil Roeder