Retired Major Rex C. Squyres is correct when he writes that Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller was the author of the Third Reich quote which I referenced in my recent letter (“By Doing Nothing,” July 5). Incorrect attribution is given to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in numerous online sources.
However, the major’s critique about how “public figures are now tried in the media” and his condemnation of the “eagerness to malign the ‘Trump administration with fascism’” ring hollow in light of the president’s disgraceful performance at the Helsinki summit press briefing Monday, July 16.
Standing beside Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump refused to say whether he believes the universal judgment of the United States intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with our 2016 American elections.
The president’s astonishing denial of Russian interference brought swift condemnation from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said that Trump’s performance will send Moscow a message of U.S. “weakness.” Former CIA Director John Brennan called President Donald Trump’s performance “nothing short of treasonous.” There are bipartisan whispers of “who will rid us of this troublesome man?”
I am quite certain that most citizens would agree with Mr. Squyres that “The United States people desperately need … to start thinking for themselves.” That was, after all, the message of Pastor Niemoller, an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler of Nazi rule who said in 1946 after spending seven years in a concentration camp: “First they came for the. ... Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
We have arrived at a moment in history “when the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes” according to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. The U.S. president insults our allies, starts a trade war with our trading partners and embraces our documented enemy who has violated the very heart of our democracy. Has the Manchurian candidate finally been outed in Helsinki?
Citizens can indeed do terrible things by doing nothing at all. Think November elections!