Our current President routinely lies and lies and lies. Just yesterday, he accused the New York Times of making up a source. That was a lie because there were 11 other news organizations in the room with the “made up source.” Earlier in the week, he lied about a spy implanted by the intelligence community in his campaign. He disputes facts like climate change in justifying his support for the coal industry. The Washington Post revealed that the President lies on average six times a day.
- Our current President riles up his base by partially blaming our problems on illegal immigrants coming en mass across the border and launching crime waves with their gangs. This is another falsehood.
- Our current President professes to be a patriot by criticizing football players for kneeling during the national anthem.
- Our current President likes and praises authoritarian leaders like the ones in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Egypt, and the Philipines.
- Our current President, emboldened by his third National Security Advisor, the Prime Minister of Israel, and leaders of Saudi Arabia, appears to be laying the false propaganda narrative of justifying a military action against Iran.
Why does a significant portion of people who belong to the Party of Lincoln believe all the fecal matter coming from this President? This is astounding because the President is not the first demagogue to exhibit these behaviors or attempt these measures.
When will we ever learn from history? When will the people ever learn to recognize a power grab or a con job or a real witch hunt when it is happening. History offers us lots of lessons so we can recognize these attempts when they happen.
Lessons from history
During World War One, President Wilson and his cronies launched propaganda efforts to increase American support for our involvement in the war against Germany. There were gangs known as the American Protective League who were quasi-aligned with the Justice Department who went after, at times violently peace advocates, immigrants, suspected Socialists, and people who had not volunteered to enlist. People against the war would sometimes find themselves arrested and imprisoned for sedition. Some were even lynched. One of these was the Socialist Candidate for President Eugene Debbs who had amassed over a million votes in the 1912 Election. Wilson preferred to let him rot in prison rather than pardon him. President Harding did that as a healing gesture after he took office.
After World War One, the US had anarchist attacks which justifiably resulted in a Red and anti-immigrant scare. Unfortunately, the legal and nonlegal authorities took reprisals to extremes. Many innocent people were deported. Some were arrested. A few, like Sacco and Vanzetti, were executed, possibly for crimes they did not commit. This fear of the other extended to race relations where lynchings occurred across the country and a resurgent Ku Klux Klan emerged in the Midwest and South, claiming to be agents to rescue the poor white man.
After the election of Franklin Roosevelt, demagogues like Father Francis Coughlin spewed Anti-Semitic filth to the downtrodden and the first isolationist America First Movement emerged with legendary aviator (and Anti Semite-Nazi Admirer) Charles Lindbergh partially picking up the Coughlin banner in an attempt to keep the US out of World War Two.
A new Red Scare on Hollywood Actors, Writers, and Directors followed by McCarthyism witch hunts on government employees and attacks on comic books and the new music genre known as Rock and Roll in the late 1940’s and early 50’s pitted American against American. Again lives were ruined as innocent people were blacklisted and not able to work unless they outed other people or worked under aliases.
Leaders in both parties were guilty of spreading “fake news” when the American Intelligence Community (the Central Intelligence Agency) helped replace democratically progressive elected governments and conduct wars in Central and South America, The Middle East (think Iran) and Asia.
Reactionaries and backward thinkers led by opportunists like George Wallace who saw white votes in promoting segregation propelled the violent struggle for Civil Rights in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.
Richard Nixon promised he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War but his only secret was when made his own secret deal with the South Vietnamese to stall Johnson led peace talks just so he could eke out a narrow victory over Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
“Trees kill people”
Ronald Reagan became President after announcing his candidacy in Philadelphia. Mississippi (not far from where three civil rights workers were murdered) and won twice despite saying trees kill people and making speeches, commemorating World War heroes who only existed in the movies.
The first President Bush won in 1988 in part by sanctioning his allies release of the racially tinged Willie Horton Ads.
The second President Bush rushed us into a war with Iraq under false pretenses rather than have United Nations Inspector finish their work in that country. He claimed Iraq would be ready for democracy and we had a ready-made opposition group just waiting to implement it. How well did that turn out?
Lessons from history
Look at these lessons from history. Then look at Donald Trump and his administration. Do you see parallels? Should it be allowed to continue to exert unchallenged power by the Congress after 2018? Should it be allowed to be reelected in 2020?
Trump Supporters need to learn from history. We all do.