When we were children we used to play a guessing game with the first question being, “Person, place or thing?” We used to know the difference between those choices. Apparently we have gotten stupider with age; otherwise we would know that a person is not a place and a place is not usually a thing.

A president, past or present, is not a country. A governor is not a state. Even the greatest dictator, controlling nearly every aspect of life, is not really the whole country. They just have the power for a time to make it seem so.

Over the past five years we seem to have forgotten this, because screeching people with megaphones have deliberately conflated a person with a country. Loyalty to one’s country is not the same as loyalty to a person, no matter how much that person is feared or admired. By the same token, disagreeing with a person, even the leader of a country, is not disloyalty to the country.

So every politician screaming that anyone who disagreed with Trump was unpatriotic was simply wrong. Politicians are not patriots when they serve a person in direct conflict with their oath of office to serve their country.

In the days of kings, queens and empires, there were leaders who demanded complete loyalty to the crown. We fought a revolution in 1775 to rid ourselves of an overbearing king. The patriots who founded our democracy wanted a different kind of country, a democratic republic, and that is what they set out to create with the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution of the United States.

Now there are a number of politicians who seem to want to go back to the days of kingdoms, and they want the power of one to rule over all. They want to destroy the Constitution, the rule of law, and all the centuries of progress the original patriots fought to create and preserve. This is not only undemocratic, it borders on treason because every member of every state legislature, as well as Congress, swears to uphold the laws of the U.S. and their respective states. Every member of the armed forces, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court also swears to uphold the laws. None of them swear loyalty to a person over their duty to the country.

There is a movement underway among conservatives and anarchists to undo America and all it stands for. Some want a dictatorship, some want a theocracy, and all of them want control to make the country reflect only what they deem worthy. They are willing to destroy half the nation to achieve this, and that is very scary to any American who cares about democracy.

Those conservatives plan to achieve this is by erasing any of the history of the 20th century that doesn’t fit their worldview. This has been done before, when the U.S. policy was to eradicate the Native Americans by destroying their culture, language and economy. Then 100 years ago, Woodrow Wilson also tried to undo the progress made by Black Americans during the Reconstruction era by promoting the KKK and segregating federal agencies. Now, the Republicans are at it again, censoring the factual information our children are taught in our schools in favor of their fairy tales. Our children deserve to be given all the pieces of the American story, not just the white ones, because they will live their futures in the real world with all its diversity.

Susan Chichetto is a resident of Bath.

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