Recently, pictures of West Point Cadet Spenser Rapone became widely publicized, shocking many. In one of the photos, Rapone is seen in his cadet uniform with the words, "Communism Will Win," written in his hat and prominently displayed for all to see. In another, he is seen showing off his communist "Che Guevara" T-shirt underneath the cadet uniform he wore to the West Point graduation.

Reports later showed that Rapone's online rantings included support for Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Rapone's writings were being followed by substantial numbers of millennials within the organization, "Democratic Socialists of America."

In November, a poll revealed that nearly half (44 percent) of millennials preferred a socialist society over capitalism. It is time America faced the reality of this disturbing trend among millennials and fight back with the truth.

First, let's remember the true legacy of communism and socialism. Throughout the 20th century, communism was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million souls. Nothing else in history comes close to this level of mass killing: In the gulags of Siberia and through forced starvation and dispossession of various people/groups by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Through the millions killed during the so-called "cultural revolution" by Mao in communist China. Then there were the millions murdered in Pol Pot’s "killing fields" of communist Cambodia. The legacy of death followed the experiment of communism everywhere.

Though global communism collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union, stalwarts like North Korea allow us to see the continued death of body and spirit under communism.

At the base of Fascism and Nazism, there has always been the foundation of socialism.

Benito Mussolini began as an avowed communist and atheist prior to moving toward the state-centric socialism of the Fascist movement.

Adolph Hitler and associates admired fascism under Mussolini in Italy, particularly the state control of industry, and sought to emulate Mussolini with Germany’s brand of what they would refer to as National Socialism.

Fascism and Nazism were predicated on total state control of industry and were opposed to capitalism and individual rights. More than 17 million were killed under these socialist movements. Venezuela is a modern example of the horrific effects of socialism on the people and economy of a nation. It is ironic that the ANTIFA (anti-Fascist) movement espouses socialism and opposes the alleged excesses of capitalism advocated by conservatives.

A new vogue argument for communism today, made by a number of liberal university professors and others with influence over young minds, comes with separating what happened with communism during the 20th century as from the alleged wonders of the Marxist ideal.

The problem with the argument is that the ideal of communism is not only bad but opposed to our cherished American values. Marx espoused atheism, calling religion the "opium" of the people. The most persecuted groups under communism have been religious groups and particularly Christian.

Marx decried what he called the "bourgeois" family of father, mother and children. He believed family helped foster ideas about private property and should be abolished. He also believed in the eradication of individualism and individual interests to move toward a collective society. The idea of the collective over the individual allowed for the mass killings and starvation. As Stalin put it, "You must break a few eggs to make an omelet."

Our American founders established the antithesis of Marx's communism. In declaring independence, Thomas Jefferson proclaimed to the world that God gave the individual “unalienable rights” which were to be protected by government. Included in basic human rights, alongside life and liberty, was the "pursuit of happiness."

Jefferson had followed 17th-century political philosopher John Locke's three basic rights of "life, liberty and property." Pursuit of happiness is predicated upon right to private property, but going beyond into moral decisions about the use of life, liberty and property. The American system recognized limitation of government, the primacy of the individual and family, and the importance of religion, all detested by Marx.

For those of us who came of age during the Cold War, the understanding of true communism and the importance of freedom was both shared and common knowledge.

For anyone to cheer on a victory of communism, let alone a future U.S. Army officer, would have been utterly unthinkable during the Cold War. That has unfortunately changed.

My generation has failed to acknowledge what has happened in recent years. Ignorance is no longer an excuse, and our work must be clear: Communism is the enemy of everything we hold dear, and all Americans must understand this truth.

Deluded people like Rapone need to listen loud and clear: We are a nation under God in which we all have the right to pursue happiness in our own way. Communism is a failed and wholly dangerous ideology, and it will never win.