Today we were blessed with a beautiful day here in Southwest Virginia…blue skies and a break from the oppressive August humidity. Many are looking forward to the three-day weekend in honor of Labor Day. However, in history, September 1, 1939 holds a dark and dubious distinction. On this date in 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, plunging this country into a nightmare and the world into World War II. The astonishing speed of the German attack introduced a new word into the English language: blitzkriegLightning of war.

A young Polish boy returns to what used to be his home and crouches among the ruins during a break in the German air raids on Warsaw, Poland in September 1939. The German attacks lasted until Warsaw surrendered on 28 september. A week later, the last of the Polish forces surrendered near Lublin, giving full control of Poland to Germany and the Soviet Union. (photo-rarehistoricalphotos.com)

Poet WH Auden was at a bar in New York that evening when the news hit the airwaves. He had this to say in his opening lines of his poem, “September 1st.”

I’m sitting in one of the dives
On fifty-second street
Uncertain and scared
As clever hopes expire
From a dishonest low decade:

A low and dishonest decade. By almost every measure, the 1930s were one of the darkest decades, not just in the United States, but in world history. The United States fell into the Great Depression after the stock market crash of October 1929, and although the world was not as interconnected as it is today, the collapse gradually affected most developed nations. First Italy and later Germany fell into fascism under Mussolini and Hitler, Japan became militarized and the USSR suffered terribly under Stalin.

Britain and France were in a state of what some historians call “entanglement”. While an emboldened Hitler demanded more and more, Western democracies yielded more and more. The policy of appeasement, designed to avert war, gave Hitler the green light to remilitarize Germany and considering Hitler a madman, war became inevitable. Therefore, on September 1, 1939, the “smart hopes” of a low and dishonest decade expired.

As some people say, “if you can’t face reality, reality will deal with you”.

Much of what we call “the free world” lived in a dream world for much of the 1930s, turning a blind eye to Hitler. But on September 1, 1939, the blinkers and pink glasses fell off. Too late. The world was at war.

This brings us to today, September 1, 2022. These are low and dishonest times. And people see it. As the respected Gallup polling institute reported in July, “Americans are less confident in major American institutions than they were a year ago, with significant drops in 11 of 16 institutions tested and no improvement for none”.

Those who say they have “a lot/somewhat confidence” in the presidency have fallen by 15% in just 12 months, from 38% to 23%. Trust in Congress as an institution fell 5 points, from 12% to 7%. And to help fuel the problem, don’t expect a lot of media to tell you the truth or tell it to you directly. (Here has Roanoke’s Starwe aim to be an exception.) Trust in “Newspapers” fell 5%, from 21% to 16%, while “TV News” also fell 5%, but from 16% to 11% .

It’s not a matter of skin color, gender, income or level of education, but more and more people are realizing that we live in a culture full of lies. And what’s worse, if you try to tell the truth and explain how you see things, or ask questions or point out some of the inconsistencies, you end up being called a “hater” or a “bigot”, put in jail on Facebook, launched Twitter and demonetized on Youtube.

And who knows how much true information we’ll never know and how many lies are being spread, due to Big Tech censorship and, like the bold period time reported today, much of this censorship is done with the active connivance of members of the Biden administration.

We’ve worried about secondhand smoke for decades, but are we aware of “secondhand censorship”? This means that when a story is censored once, who knows how many “downstream” people will be kept in the dark because they never had access to the information in the first place.

Difficult times.

Since this essay is a column and not an encyclopedia, time and space permit only a few examples:

  • We are told that we must be protected from “fake news” and misinformation. But how to explain it when “the fake news” turns out to be true? We were told Hunter Biden’s laptop was “probably Russian disinformation”, but now we know it was true. Too late. The election is over and President Biden is in office.
  • For most of 2021 and until recently, women and men were told they needed to get vaccinated and boosted with Covid. If you didn’t, it’s because you “wanted to kill Grandma”. “Get vaccinated, and you’ll never get sick or make anyone sick,” they told us, including President Biden, who, along with his wife, was recently quarantined for Covid. But since June Dobbs decision, when the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to the states, the rallying cry was (again) “My body, my choice.”
  • With rising threats abroad, including Europe’s first major land war since 1945, and low enlistment and re-enlistment numbers, members of the armed forces are still being forced to get their Covid shots, even though we now know that they don’t work as promised. Even the small, elite group of Coast Guard lifeguards are threatened by these demands. But if you enter the United States illegally, no shooting is required.
  • President Biden ran his campaign from his basement claiming he would “cure the country”. But once he took office, he pursued a far-left agenda that most of the United States does not favor, and speaking in Maryland recently went so far as to call, essentially those who do not agree with him, “semi-fascists”. “Then tonight, after verbally burning down between a third and half of the country, he’s supposed to give a speech about ‘healing America’s soul’?
  • We say to young people: “Love yourself, be yourself and accept yourself as you are. Then offer them invasive surgeries that irreversibly remove or mutilate the most intimate parts of their anatomy. Young people who are too young to get tattoos can be mutilated in such a way that they will never be able to have children and we call this “gender affirmation surgery”.
  • We are told that there is a climate emergency and that we only have a few years left to save the planet. One of the loudest voices is that of President Obama. The same President Obama who owns multi-million dollar oceanfront mansions in Hawaii and on Martha’s Vineyard. If the world is warming and the oceans are rising, why are the Obamas investing their Golden Years retirement money in two beachfront homes?
  • An important way to save the planet is to switch to “clean energy”, mainly solar panels and wind turbines. So where do we get solar energy? On “solar farms”, and in 2021, Virginia lost about 2,000 acres of prime farmland a week. Farmland that has been abused is probably lost forever as productive soil. Similarly, Virginia’s forests are cut down by the acre, so we can install more solar panels. Since when did cutting down trees save the earth? And the windmills? They kill an unknown number of birds and bats, including endangered species.

The answer? There is good news! There is a way out! Russian Christian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, on the day of his arrest in the Soviet Union in 1974, published a pamphlet “Do not live by lies”.

Don’t believe the lies. The generation of the 1930s believed the lies, until it was too late. But we can decide for ourselves. As much as you can, turn off the lies. Surround yourself with positive, honest people you can trust. Fill your mind and heart with what is beautiful, true and proven. Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer at Bryce Canyon
Scott Dreyer MA of Roanoke has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Photo taken in Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at DreyerCoaching.com.

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