Gary Horton: A story as old as Aesop


We’re told, “We’ve seen it all before.” We’re told, “History repeats itself.” We’re told, “Those who fail to learn from history are damned to repeat it.”

Enter our “so-called” President Trump. A man with thumbs on his Twitter keyboard so predictable, had he been born 1,600 years earlier he could have been the protagonist in Aesop’s, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

That’s a story that everyone knows – it’s a story that’s been kicking around a long time – apparently ever since men could talk and wolves invaded farms. This story struck nerves in Greek times, it struck nerves though medieval times, and it’s resonated right to the present moment.

And there’s a reason the story has stuck. In every generation, in every town, village, neighborhood, school – almost any social circle – we find little boys (and girls) telling lies for attention.

“Me, me!” the message rings, as the messenger warns of wolves at the gate or danger at the door. The alarm always proves false, but the shouter of “wolf, wolf!” gets the attention he or she craves.

…Until the gambit no longer works.

Eventually, we tire of waking from our sleep to rush the farm gate to protect sheep from wolves.

Eventually, we tire or reading of 3 a.m. tweets of a past president’s “wire-tapps” (spelling intentional) of our golden tower. Eventually, we tire of bald-faced lies accusing distinguished leaders of false nationality, of hysterics about immigrants, of so-called health care for all that’s really giant tax breaks for the super-rich.

In the original story, the boy eventually loses credibility. Real wolves do finally appear and the townspeople, who’ve heard this story and the boy’s hysterics too often before, remain unmoved, tucked in their homes, unaware of the real danger lurking.

In some versions, the wolf eats the sheep; in others, the wolf eats the boy. But take your pick – in the end it ends badly for the “boy who cries wolf,” and sometimes ends very badly for the folks who tolerated the bad boy.

The original Greek version concludes with a moral summary: “This shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.”

Sadly, today’s America has a president with the same character flaws as the boy who cried wolf. He has the same need for attention, the same lack of discipline, and the same propensity for lying.

It would be truthfully funny if his position didn’t possess so much power. It would be truthfully funny, but there’s still 35 percent of Americans believe anything, literally anything, the president says or tweets.

Fortunately, we live in a “town” where 35 percent are still buying the wolf stories but about 65 percent have already crossed the line from where the “man-boy” is still believed.

Most folks mostly ignore the random and odd pronouncements of our commander in chief.

Indeed, how can we now trust anything Donald Trump might say? He has destroyed his own credibility within 60 days in office.

We hear our own FBI is investigating links between the Trump campaign and the Russians. We hear a population recoiling over the rape and pillage of Trump’s proposed health-care changes.

We’re at 60 days in and indeed, there are wolves salivating to chomp up somebody – or many inside those White House gates.

And what of how the story ends? Sometimes the wolf eats the sheep, and sometimes the wolf eats the boy.

What should happen should a real emergency appear and again we get manipulative tweets from an unbelievable president who we’ve been conditioned to mostly ignore?

This is a sad story, nearly as old as people have been talking. And if we don’t learn from history we’re damned to repeat it – yet again.


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