Letter: A study in contrasts that helps define freedom
I enjoy reading the events that have happened historically on each date. Recently, I was struck by the contrast of two events that took place on April 30.
In 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first duly elected president of the United States. In 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide to avoid capture by the Russians.
The contrast is stunning: one man whom a nation believes will lead them to glory, based on equality and certain unalienable rights, including freedom of the press, speech and religion, among others; the second man convinces millions to give up all those rights, while he goes on a genocidal killing spree, spreading war and terror that eventually costs the world some 60 million souls.
I read of these two events one week after visiting the World War II Museum in New Orleans, a great museum divided into five pavilions. In one, you are inundated with images of Hitler and Swastikas, laws passed to suppress civil liberties, photos of Hitler's rallies, captioned speeches of "Der Fuhrer." I asked myself who are these Americans today that so proudly make such displays or proudly parade around town squares?
What are they saying? Are they swearing allegiance to that man's image and savagery? Do they believe they have a new Fuhrer in their midst, someone willing to see the death of a democratic republic in order to gain power?
If so, these people are not patriots, they do not believe in democracy, they do not believe in America, nor the aspirations of the Founding Fathers.
We need to be protective of our institutions and suspicious of those trying to scare us into giving away those unalienable rights. Beware of the man behind the curtain, pulling all the levers, for he is not our friend. And the deity he worships died in a bunker in 1945.