Our times have lessons in history

In the middle of the 17th century, England was consumed with religious civil war that saw England, Scotland and Ireland fighting externally and internally with each other. A strong-willed King Charles I, fully convinced of his divine right to rule, even went so far as to suspend parliament for 11 years, conducting affairs under the doctrine of personal rule. These wars, and the commonwealth tyranny that followed, consumed all three lands from 1629 to 1661 and resulted in Parliament raising its own army, which defeated the king’s noble forces, The Cavaliers.

Things haven't changed all that much.

In the 17th century we had rebellion within the Church of England; today we have atrocities in the Catholic Church.

Then: King rules in his own right; Now: President makes his own rules.

Then: Parliament does not support his needs; Now: Congress does not support his needs.

Then: Parliament argues, spars and does nothing; Now: Congress argues, spars, and does nothing.

Then: Parliament shut down for 11 years; Now: Congress aids and abets 35-day partial shutdown.

Then: King stays out of wars due to money problems; Now: President distances himself from treaties and alliances over money issues.

Then: King has ill-chosen, incompetent, corrupt advisors; Now: President has ill-chosen, incompetent, corrupt advisors.

Then: King takes all criticism personally as disloyalty; Now: President takes all criticism personally as disloyalty.

Reading volume II of the Mueller Report, one sees several things: Nobody seems to know if the president can be indicted while in office. In short, the special counsel's primary task seemed to be to decide whether they had the authority to do anything.

Fear dominated the White House from the beginning. The feeling of illegitimacy was real to them — and to Trump.

This is an "adult" soap opera generally without the sex. (But we can’t be sure, since Avenatti and Stormy may be among the redacted.)

Our media has become the London Fleet Street scandal-mongers. Special counsel openly admitted they did not try to verify news stories about any of it.

There is another historic parallel for the president:

When contemplating Gen. Eisenhower winning the election, Harry Truman said, “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike; it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.” Richard E. Neustadt, “Presidential Power: the Politics of Leadership,” 1960

Bruce Schoch

Williamsburg

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