Lessons of history remain unlearned

Once, when a classmate asked why do we have to study history in a history class, the instructor replied with a quote from George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The minority of Americans who elected the current president obviously have forgotten the lessons learned from the Nazi Propaganda Chief Joseph Goebbels: If you tell the same lie often enough and loud enough, most of the people will believe it.

The president calling the truth "fake news" and White House talking heads such as Kellyanne Conway and Steve Miller calling the lies spewing from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she stands in front of the TV cameras as "alt facts" are two examples of propaganda being used in an attempt to drive the conversation. They are also examples of the disconnect of the administration from reality. Most "fake news" is released from the White House press briefers, and "alt facts" is the politically correct term for lies.

At nearly 70 years old and an avid consumer of both history and current events, I have studied a number of petty third-world dictators and some of the major ones as well. Our president clearly prefers dictators to democracy, as seen by his praise of people such as President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and of course Russia's Vladimir Putin; these are not men any prudent man would want to associate with.

All of them have in common the stamping down of opposition once they came into power, many times violently. I believe that, given the chance, our president would take America down a path toward a country where he would rule by edict and not by law. The fact that he thought the Department of Justice was supposed to protect him personally, and his demand of a promise of personal loyalty from the director of the FBI and the secretory of state make this clear. His praise for Eric Holder's "protecting" President Obama re-enforces this assertion.

Our current president came into office without any sense of what the office is about, no concept of how our government works and a clueless attitude toward the responsibilities of the office of the president. He expected to step into a situation similar to the construct of his real estate business, where his every whim became the same as law.

Until he learns that the United States is a nation of laws and, more importantly, that he is not above the law, there is an ongoing chance of his going down in flames just as Icarus did when his ego caused him to fly too close to the sun.

Lawton Maner

Williamsburg

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