THE CIVIL EXCHANGE of ideas is under attack. Opinions are met with hostility and resistance. Divisive issues confound us. Frustrated people are intent on maximum disruption. These are crazy times.

It’s hard to believe a majority of people, whether liberal, moderate or conservative, can seriously condone cancel culture and identity politics. How can our fellow citizens not condemn violent demonstrations that are being promoted as peaceful protests? They are in denial.

Cancel culture is defined as the popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive, valid or not and is being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.

Identity politics is defined as politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.

The country has been taken over by a new generation of activists who show no respect for the experience of the senior class and maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe the elders have dealt them a bad hand and it is time to change.

I received an essay in defense of senior citizens, also described as old fogies and geezers. Some are baby boomers getting ready to retire, others are from the “Greatest Generation” who are already retired. We walk a little slower, our eyes and hearing are not what they once were.

We want to remind the new generation that we worked hard, raised our children and have grown old together. Our education was simple and basic, but it enabled us to lead America into the technological age. We remember the days of telephone party lines, 25-cent gasoline, and having milk and bakery delivered to our homes.

We are probably considered old-fashioned and outdated by many, but there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East. We wore the uniform of our country with pride. We didn’t fight for the “Socialist States of America.” We fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” We may have worn different uniforms, but we carried the same flag.

We have lived what many of you should have read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America. We love this country. There are those who want to destroy this land we love, but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent while it is under attack.

Now, here’s a story told by Tom Nicholson. He bought a sports car and was admiring it when a man approached him and scolded him for his self-indulgence. The man said Tom could have fed thousands of less fortunate people with the money spent on his new 2021 Corvette.

Here’s Tom’s reply: “I’m not sure, but it fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Ky., who built it. It fed the people who made the tires, the people who made the components that went into it, the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, and the men and women at Caterpillar who made the trucks that hauled the copper ore.

“It fed the truckers who hauled it from the plant to the dealer, and the people working at the dealership and their families, but I have to admit, I really don’t know how many people it fed. That’s the difference between capitalism and the socialist agenda.

“When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills. When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self-esteem. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help the less fortunate. That’s showing empathy.

“Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value. Socialism is having the government take your money against your will and give it to someone else for doing nothing.” We need to keep a balance between capitalism and compassionate socialism. That balance is what has made America great.