It is with macabre irony that while we remember the 76th anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Europe during WWII, we are today deep in the midst of a three-front war.

First, we are fighting a novel enemy in the virus that will continue to expand the pain that has killed more than 116,000 in this country alone, disrupted public education, halted the economy, and bloated the realistic US unemployment rate past 20%. We win on this front only if we follow the science and manage the minimum amount of discipline that we now practice.

The second front is more complicated and arguably more aggressive. I had, for some 3 1/2 years, treated with bemusement the president, the administration and his Congressional enablers as the tragic punchlines in history which they richly deserve. After all, in four, or inexplicably perhaps in eight, years they would be gone like another lousy reality TV show. The last two weeks, however, have proven my judgement more than a tad naive. Since his inauguration, the conscious choice of the President with the deliberate and complicit support of every single member of the administration makes them the evil bastards of American political and social treachery.

To be abundantly clear, lawlessness must not be tolerated but it is the duty of those at the top to protect and lead. These are tasks at which they have abjectly failed.

Seventy-six years ago my father and Kate’s grandfather, veterans of Italy and the Ardennes, fought to stamp out the evil of Fascism. Even as a skinny 17-year-old kid from Kansas City, my dad understood that there was no choice but to fight. The unthinkable alternative was the expansion of the Nazi regime from Europe to England that would have bested the allies to dominate the globe.

Floyd and Sam, both the children of Jewish emigrants, enlisted after Pearl Harbor because there was no question, not even the slightest thought to the contrary. Fascism must be defeated. Both Sam and Floyd returned, disappeared into the fabric of post-war America, and lead productive, successful lives. However, each was broken by the experience in a different way. Sam returned an amputee only to be again called up once stateside. Floyd believed, for the remainder of his long life, that man would forever be inhumane to his fellow man. In one way I’m glad that he didn’t live to see 2016 and beyond. He would have known now that his belief was right all along.

We are watching, today, on the streets of Minneapolis, Washington DC, and the others the evidence and agency granted, condoned, and blatantly encouraged by an evil not seen in three-quarters of a century. We are not watching some trash TV, one-off anomaly. We are living the normalization of domestic fascism and its integration by our political leaders into the fabric of our government.

Finally, the third front of today’s war is its oldest. It is a civil war that predates even our Constitution – that which creates the nation. This battle began 170 years before the long hot Summer of 1789 in Philadelphia. While we focus on our visceral failure to eradicate racism, we must tie together what happened only 76 years ago.

It is this very integration, the normalization of abhorrent, authoritarian behaviors, and ideologies that put the current occupant in the Oval Office and with him the ugly, disgusting stream of sycophantic agitators who are now at the center of this battle.

Among the direct, conscious results of this administration is the fervorous populism that fans the glaring scourge of racism. This is not new, and no thinking adult can say they did not know. Throughout our lifetimes we just have not ever done enough.

It would be easy for me as the writer, sitting here in distant Bath, to end with an ironic, respected quote. That would provide a comfortable close, a touching reminder, but would accomplish little. Rather we must leave knowing that this is our moment to stand up and not sit back. This is our time to be loud and not quiet. We must lead in the infinitesimally small ways that achieve victory. This is our time to ‘get in the way’ repeatedly, vocally, and consistently.

Let us start today by stepping up. Let us continue the job in November.

Roo Dunn and his family live in Bath.

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