DONALD TRUMP Jr., in his better-selling book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” writes of his reactions to visiting Arlington National Cemetery and driving “past the rows of white grave markers.”

He explains: “In that moment, I ... thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed ... Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually ...”

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Forget that President Donald Trump and his family — in spite of their self-proclaimed “sacrifice” — continue to profit from the family’s hotel and real estate holdings and dealings since Trump, unlike previous Presidents, retained ownership of his business and the Trump Organization, and has continued to make money from deals around the globe. In comparing the scrutiny and criticism Donald Trump Jr. has received in the press to the ultimate sacrifices of the 400,000 American fathers, brothers and sisters buried beneath the green hills of Arlington, he can be accused of callousness and egocentricity. But while perhaps extreme, his ignorance of American tradition and history is not uncharacteristic of the Me Generation, which he sadly represents.

It once was an unassailable American value that “war demands equality of sacrifice.” An 18-year-old George H.W. Bush believed that and left the comfort and prestige of Yale to become the Navy’s youngest fighter pilot in combat in the Pacific during World War II. And a sickly young Harvard graduate used family influence to pull strings and have the Navy allow him to go to war, where he would captain a PT boat in the Pacific but survive to, 18 years later, become President John F. Kennedy.

It was a time when the President’s sons all went to war: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s son Elliott Roosevelt became an Army Air Force pilot and flew over 300 combat missions. Jimmy Roosevelt enlisted in the Marine Corps and, in fierce combat against the Japanese, earned both the Navy Cross and the Silver Star. Navy Lt. John Roosevelt earned the Bronze Star, while Franklin Roosevelt Jr. was awarded the Silver Star for bravery under heavy enemy fire.

Americans once lived by the principle that we all are required to sacrifice. The federal income tax was first championed by Republican President Abraham Lincoln in order to pay for the Civil War. The income tax was made permanent by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson to pay for World War I. After Pearl Harbor, Americans on the home front accepted the rationing of meat, alcohol, cigarettes, liquor, sugar and butter. War demanded equality of sacrifice.

All of that changed, tragically, with Vietnam. The sons of affluence and influence gamed the system to avoid serving. That was followed by the all-volunteer military, which guaranteed that instead of 3 out of 4 male high school graduates and 3 out of 4 college graduates serving in the American military, the sons of privilege would be spared the burden of fighting for their country.

The late Sen. John McCain was the last American presidential nominee to wear his nation’s uniform and go to war. Let us not blame Donald Trump Jr. No one in his family had ever been seen fit to sacrifice for his country by serving. His father famously compared his avoiding sexually transmitted diseases during the ’90s to his “personal Vietnam.”

War truly once did demand equality of sacrifice. But no more in 21st-century America.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
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IN THE SEVEN presidential elections since 1992, the Republican presidential nominee has won the popular vote exactly once. The lone GOP candidate to receive a majority of the national vote was George W. Bush in 2004. Bush’s election-day victory over Democrat John Kerry, who had, in most obse…

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MATT SCHLAPP, chairman of the American Conservative (cough) Union, which hosts the annual CPAC conference, tweeted that he was disinviting Mitt Romney from the confab this year because he “could not guarantee his physical safety” after the senator voted to convict Donald Trump in the impeach…

Saturday, February 15, 2020
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FROM the day he entered the race, Joe Biden was the great hope of the Democratic establishment to spare them from the horrifying prospect of a 2020 race between The Donald and Bernie Sanders.

Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
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“SHOUT OUT, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” said the prophet Isaiah, which we read in church on Sunday, but nobody shouted. We are flatlanders, brought up to be still and behave ourselves and listen to instructions, but if the instruction is to shout out and raise your …

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

LAST MONDAY’S Iowa caucuses were an epic failure for Democrats. Thanks to a star-crossed ballot-tabulation program written by alumni of the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, final results were still unavailable as of early Thursday morning. The party that is desperate to control every Ame…

It’s comforting, no doubt, to believe that Donald Trump has survived the impeachment trial because he possesses a tighter hold on his party than did Barack Obama or George W. Bush or any other contemporary president. In truth, Trump, often because of his own actions, has engendered less loya…

During his floor speech explaining his vote to convict Donald Trump, Mitt Romney was overcome by emotion and paused to compose himself. The intense moment came when he spoke of his devotion to God, saying: "I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am." Lump in throat. Lon…

Sunday, February 09, 2020

JUST AS he has done throughout his business career and personal life, Donald Trump bullied his way through being only the third President in history to be impeached. He was not removed from office by the Senate — not because he was found “not guilty”, but because he threatened, stonewalled a…

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Mark Shields is best known for his work on CNN’s “Capital Gang,” where he debated policy issues with syndicated columnists Robert Novak, The Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt, and Time magazine’s White House correspondent Margaret Carlson.