With the presidential election less than one year away, the present moment feels confusing, unsettling, and unfamiliar. It feels a little creepy.

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If it’s true that history repeats itself, then looking to the past for some understanding can be useful. However, the word “repeats” is not quite accurate, as the present is never going to duplicate the past. But whenever the circumstances, conditions, etc., of the present come together in the right way, things that existed in the past can return and thrive again. The scourges that have plagued humanity in the past haven’t gone away, they’re just held in check.

And when the health of any organism, body, culture, or nation starts breaking down, it becomes vulnerable to whatever predator stuff is there waiting to gain dominance and have its day.

So that being said, the following is a quote from what can rightfully be called recent history, because there are still many people alive today who lived through it, and remember it:

“Hitler’s sickness was contagious; the nation was catching it, as if it were a virus. … But neither the leaders of the Christian churches, nor the generals, nor any other representatives of the ‘good’ Germany spoke out at once in protest.” (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer).

The thing about viruses and contagians that makes them so powerful is that they mutate with successive generations, sneaking back in and overcoming the host body’s defenses.

So while history might not exactly repeat itself, circumstances often do, given that human nature seems pretty consistent.

So please don’t be afraid to speak out in protest. Look what happened when people didn’t.

— The writer lives in Sperryville

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