They say those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. That’s true now more than ever as we live through the Age of Trump and remember the Thanksgiving story.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

Ever since President Trump was elected in 2016, we’ve seen bumper stickers with messages such as “Resist” and “Not My President.” We’re also seeing Democrats drift toward socialism to solve the issue of income inequality.

This week and next, Here’s Something will revisit the still-relevant Pilgrim story. This week, we’ll examine the relevance of the Pilgrims’ guiding document to today’s politics. And next week we’ll consider the failed socialist experiment of the Pilgrims’ early years.

As we remember every November, the Mayflower carried a group of separatist Puritans, later to be known as the Pilgrims, to the New World so they could escape religious persecution in England.

The Pilgrims, aiming for the colony of Virginia, were blown off course by terrible storms to Cape Cod. On Nov. 11, 1620, about a month before they would set foot on land, America’s original boat people signed a document known as the Mayflower Compact, which would serve as the governing manifesto for the new settlement.

The contract was necessary because of a percolating mutiny among non-Pilgrim members of the ship’s passengers and crew. Because the Mayflower had veered off course and had few provisions to continue the journey to Virginia, some of the non-Pilgrim crew members were threatening to live as they saw fit, under their own rules, once landed.

The so-called “Strangers,” as the Pilgrims described these wayward crew members, were employees of a trading outfit known as the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London, which financed the Mayflower’s voyage. Once in-country, the crew would trade prized English cloth for goods from native populations.

Because the Mayflower failed to reach Virginia, however, some of the Strangers felt they were unbound by any contractual agreement with the company or the Pilgrims, who were indentured servants of a sort.

Facing potential mutiny, disunity and chaos, the Pilgrims wrote the Mayflower Compact, which was signed by 41 of the 43 male passengers. (Two non-signing Strangers died soon after from illness.)

The compact was necessary to hold the fledgling community together as they prepared to disembark the Mayflower for the wilds of the New World. Considered one of America’s founding documents, it set forth a republic form of government and brought divergent groups together to form a workable government.

The pre-Compact discord on the Mayflower is similar to today’s political turmoil. The ship of state with Trump at the helm has been met with fierce, unforgiving opposition by those within government and citizen protestors and media members without, whom prejudiciously hated Trump from the get-go and have thrown up roadblocks and vowed impeachment from Day 1.

Imagine if Plymouth Plantation residents had painted “Resist” on their hay wagons (if they had wagons or even paint) and declared John Carver “Not My Governor.” Imagine if anti-Pilgrim Strangers had beat up residents donning red “Make the New World Great Again” hats. Imagine if they had criticized every move the new Pilgrim government made. The whole venture would have ended in discordant calamity.

Living together peacefully takes a well-worded governing contract and consent of the governed. The Mayflower Compact succeeded because people willingly subscribed to it.

Now, 399 years later, we should remember that elections have consequences and the losing side should accept the results, at least until the next election. Failing to do so, as we’ve seen since 2016, leads to disharmony.

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