Earlier this week the managing editor of our local paper, The Facts, invited readers who were around during the 60s to send their thoughts about how present day politics differs from what we experienced fifty years ago. I started my own list but abandoned the project as the list got longer and longer. I decided, instead to send him an essay-style discussion of my observations. It is too long for The Facts to publish so I will post it here.
Mr. Morris began his discussion like this pointing out that he was a child when most of the protests were happening “back then”. You may read his column in the facts here.
I sent him my reply this morning. It follows:
I thought about your comparison of the 60s-70s protests to those of the present. I started a list of the things that are different and when I got to #15, it occurred to me that what I have witnessed in my 77 years has been a passing of power back and forth between the parties but with a spiraling descent of the Republican party to where we are today.
When President Nixon resigned, the public would not tolerate lies from political leaders.
Media was controlled by commercial interests that, in the case of broadcast media, was subject to regulation as users of the public’s broadcast frequencies. Print journalism was big business, too. They reflected a variety of viewpoints but still reported within the constraints of a journalism profession that valued facts and recognized a single reality.
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
If that sounds a lot like “your favorite president,” do not be concerned. It is not about him, it is from a psychological profile of Adolph Hitler written for the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II predecessor of the CIA. I know, it isn’t considered to be appropriate in American political discourse to throw around the H word when we talk about the loyal opposition.
The document, written for the OSS in 1943, had been classified and was released by the CIA for publication in 1999. World War II was far in the rear view mirror by then and it certainly did not seem that it could ever be used in American politics except, perhaps, as a guide for citizens who need to be eternally vigilant and on the watch for anyone who would use that model in our own domestic politics.
The above quote appears in the report, A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler: His Life and Legend, by Walter C. Langer, which is available from the US National Archives.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
I will offer more on this myself after I finish reading the entries from various writers. However, after reading the first by Annie Proulx and the next by Dave Eggers, I wanted to go ahead and post it so others could take a look for themselves. The Guardian offers a fresh view from the UK that I don’t get from the Times and the Post, my usual first stops in the morning.
I will get back to these essays later. In the meantime, enjoy them as YOU have the time.
They are patriots. They regularly sacrifice for their country and its constitution. Their work is fundamental to democracy and the rule of law. They are nonpartisan. We depend on them for fair and free elections. Their hours are demanding and their pay is low.
These attributes make them perfect targets for presidential insults.
Why not? It is only by matters of degree the extent to which they share these attributes with Gold Star mothers, American POWs, our fallen warriors, frontline health care workers, teachers, the intelligence community, the FBI and virtually anyone, including those in his own cabinet who do not satisfy his demand for personal loyalty.
And that is my thought for today. Mask up. Wash your hands. Go vote.
Yes, it’s a play on the old Edwin Edwards bumper sticker when he, the convicted criminal ran for governor of Louisiana against David Duke: “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” Edwards had been indicted and acquitted (a small detail in Louisiana politics and usually a temporary condition) on a variety of public corruption charges during an earlier term as governor.
Indeed, during the new term he won by trouncing Duke, he faced federal charges and was convicted.
If you don’t know who David Duke is, join Trump. Never heard of the guy.