Gary Horton: A story as old as Aesop

By Gary Horton

Last update: Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

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.

 

Click here to post a comment

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.

 

About the author

Gary Horton

Gary Horton

  • charles maurice detallyrand

    Trump lies because he knows his supporters will believe it.

    • Gil Mertz

      Don’t you just hate it when a president lies, Chuck? I can only imagine your outrage when Obama lied about Americans murdered by terrorists or to get his healthcare scheme approved.

      • Castaic Clay

        “But, what about him….” Calling the waaambulance for you now

        • Gil Mertz

          Just looking for a little consistency CC. You should try it sometime.

          The only thing more disingenuous than a Democrat whining about a politician being dishonest is seeing them accusing anyone else on the planet about “What about him?” after blaming Bush for eight years of Obama’s failures. Pretty lame CC, even for a coward like you.

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            Have you noticed you’re completely unable to defend Trump’s lies? I’m glad Gil that you can harp on one to a few statements made by democrats over the years but Trump lies so often and in such an appalling way I can’t even begin to remember all of them just from the past 60 days! There really is no equivalency here. Do you remember Gil when Trump insinuated Ted Cruz’ father was somehow involved in the Kennedy assassination? Why would you put any faith in this man? Is it really so much more important to you to hate liberals than to recognize and admit the horrific territory we’ve entered here as a nation? We have a sitting president who was helped by a foreign adversary in an act of outright war and who has lied at every turn about his connections and involvement. We have a president who

  • Brian Baker

    Gary, where were your complaints when Obama was doing the lying? “If you like your doctor and insurance, you can keep your doctor and insurance”…. that one was a whopper, told to try to sell the wildly unpopular Obamacare.

    Obama: Red line in the sand, Syria.

    Translation: You can do anything you like, Assad.

    Obama: If unemployment isn’t down under 5% by the end of my first term, I’ll deserve to lose re-election.

    Translation: I’ll tell any lie that makes me look good.

    On and on. This is why you guys on the left have pretty much zero credibility when it comes to your criticisms of Trump: because you had absolutely no problem when the ObaMessiah was doing the exact same things.

  • Castaic Clay

    Where are the usual suspects hurling their insults? Googling frantically to find a retort?

    • Gil Mertz

      You apparently didn’t read Gary’s column.

      Your cowardly cheap shots are old and stale, CC. Do you ever have anything of value to share?

      • Castaic Clay

        As much if not more than you

        • Gil Mertz

          Then let’s see you defend your remarks instead of running away after each stupid cheap shot. Is this really all you’ve got?

  • lois eisenberg

    Gary a great opinion column. BRAVO !
    ” There’s still 35 percent of Americans believe anything, literally anything, the president says or tweets”, and what does that say about their moral and ethical characters?

  • lois eisenberg

    Now the liar-in-chief can add strong arming to his illustrious attributes !

  • lois eisenberg

    “Secret Service asked for $60 million EXTRA for Trump and family travel and protection, documents show”
    How despicable is that ??

  • Gil Mertz

    Gary, it is you and the desperate Democrats and their shameless allies in the media that are the ones crying “wolf” every day about Trump. An alarm can be a useful tool but when it sounds every day, several times every day, it becomes a noisy nuisance and people begin tuning it out. This is exactly what’s happening with normal Americans who want to see the country move forward and see the political games stop. Democrats are only digging themselves deeper and deeper.

    The main talking point for the DNC and the deranged media from Comey’s testimony was their hysteria about the FBI investigating Trump’s alleged ties with Russia. And yet, the DNC and media fail to mention that after nine months, the FBI has not found ANY evidence. You guys omit that part to advance your irrational hatred of Trump but normal Americans are seeing right through your charade.

    And isn’t it funny how Comey now suddenly, magically, and inexplicably has total credibility with Democrats again after they were ready to tar and feather him when he re-opened the investigation about Hillary Clinton? Yes, funny indeed.

    To see you guys outraged about honesty after passionately DEFENDING one of the most deceitful and corrupt politicians ever to sit in the White House makes YOU the crazy ones.

    • lois eisenberg

      “Gallup: Trump job approval drops to 37%”
      The normal Americans disapprove of the liar-in -chief !

  • lois eisenberg

    “Trump’s America: Two coal plants announce closures in Ohio, layoffs at Carrier factories in Indiana”

    • Castaic Clay

      Maybe he can make the typewriter great again too

      • Gil Mertz

        You and Lois make quite the pair. Definitely intellectual colleagues who would blame a typewriter for their stupid remarks. True Democrats.

        • Gary Bierend

          I block them both Gil, that’s about all the effort they deserve.

          • Gil Mertz

            I was thinking the same Gary. I gave Castiac Clay several chances to actually engage but he prefers useless cheap shots and doesn’t even use his real name which I thought was mandatory. Such a coward. Please remind me how to block him so I don’t waste any more time.

          • Gary Bierend

            It’s easy, there’s a little icon in the upper right corner of their post that you click and then select the option to block. It’s like having “slow” traffic leave the road, if you know what I mean.

          • Gil Mertz

            In the case of Castaic Clay and Lois, it’s more like flushing the toilet. Thanks for the tip, Gary. I wish I could make the rest of the worthless babbling from the left disappear so easily.

  • Eric Heilbrun

    Let’s face it, both parties failed miserably this last election. The Republican establishment never wanted Trump but couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out how to derail the Trump train when it was becoming obvious that the locomotive had enough steam to make it to the station (coasting). And the Democrats could only offer up a Socialist and a former Senator that narrowly escaped a felony indictment. A candidate that inspired a Gary column in 2008 in which he explained why he hates Hillary. Yes he was very clear about hating Hillary, so let’s not go crazy bashing voters that chose otherwise.

    We had to choose between two reprehensible candidates. Character does matter and in both Trump and Clinton, their character is certainly questionable. I think the Democrats were too focused on making history again with a “first woman President” than they were with offering a candidate that could lead our country.

    Just curious, if you had to pick a Democratic candidate tomorrow, who is there?

    • Brian Baker

      James Webb. I’d vote for him and I’m a conservative, and an Independent.

    • Gil Mertz

      I do not share Trump’s values or defend his antics but I do share his vision for America. I can’t think of a single Democrat who’s vision of America that I would share. The fact that they have no one leaves them with nothing but to create hysteria and divide Americans against each other with fear and hate as the media serves as their propaganda wing.

  • Gil Mertz

    “…We hear a population recoiling over the rape and pillage of Trump’s proposed health-care changes…”

    As you are fantasizing about the “rape” of much-needed reforms in Obamacare which America supports, let me give you a REAL rape case, Gary.

    Last week, a 14 year-old girl was brutally raped and sodomized by an 18 year-old man and a 17 year-old accomplice in the boys’ bathroom at Rockville High School. One of the alleged rapists is
    Sanchez-Milian who had been apprehended at the Texas border but because of Obama’s catch and release policy, he was a free man. Such a disgrace.

    This tragic rape made possible by your “so called” president’s policies puts your twisted obsession with Trump’s “rape” of Obamacare into perspective pretty quick, huh?

  • lois eisenberg

    Flash !!
    ” Republican governors are rebelling against the deep cuts to domestic programs in President Trump’s proposed budget.
    They’re most concerned about cuts to job training and economic revitalization programs, and to grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
    OH HUM !!

  • lois eisenberg

    Per the liar-in-chief: VOTER FRAUD cost him the popular vote !! EPIC FAIL!!
    “Ex-Colo. GOP leader one of Trump’s puppets said only Democrats committed voter fraud. Now he’s charged with voter fraud.”

  • lois eisenberg

    Postponing the vote on the Healthcare Bill is spineless by the Republicans and they are
    at it again in their lam-duck obstructionism !!
    Another failure in trying to make America great again and first !!

  • Gil Mertz

    I applaud the delay on the healthcare vote by the GOP. Unlike Democrats who always put party first and voted for Obamacare “so they could see what’s in it”, Republicans are having principled disagreements within their party make this right for the American people. The Democrats are having another cow because keeping your promises and voting with integrity are foreign concepts to them.

    • lois eisenberg

      “I applaud the delay on the healthcare vote by the GOP”
      What healthcare act ?? HaHaHaHaHa

  • charles maurice detallyrand

    Oh what lies are these specifically about Russia that we swallow, Gil?

    • Gil Mertz

      Did you not write, “We have a sitting president who was helped by a foreign adversary in an act of outright war”

      Despite ZERO evidence, you Trump haters cannot let this go. You ignore Obama’s authorizing more than $100-billion to the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism but freak out over the fake news about Trump and Russia. Is it really that hard to accept the reality that Americans have rejected the failed policies of Obama and the Democratic Party?

      • charles maurice detallyrand

        I did write that, are you refuting that claim? I’m sorry what specifically are you stating, try as hard as it might be to stay on topic. It’s a simple question, what are the lies that “we are swallowing” about Russia”? You seem adamant about it, so what are these lies we believe about Russia, Gil? Can you name them, can you list them?

        • Gil Mertz

          Have you been asleep since the election, Chuck?

          Every day the Trump-hating, far-left propagandists in the mainstream media have been regurgitating the DNC talking points that Russia impacted the outcome of the election. It wasn’t their hopelessly corrupted candidate, it wasn’t the Obama legacy, and it wasn’t the socialist message of the Democratic Party….it was the RUSSIANS!!!

          I’m refuting that claim because after nine months of investigating it, the FBI says there is NO PROOF. And yet, you keep circulating this lie as though it’s true. Every day it’s RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA. No one can explain “how” they were supposed to have impacted the outcome of our election or “how” it changed anyone’s vote. They think if they just keep repeating RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA that it will stick with the ill-informed and easily frightened which is the base of the Democratic Party. Like so many DNC schemes, it has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with hurting Trump with their visceral and irrational hatred. Obviously, this trick worked like a charm on you, Chuck.

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            You do realize the FBI is and has been investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia? You do realize this right? You seem to be approaching this from the wrong angle Gil. No one cares about Clinton. No one knows if she would have lost with or without Russian intelligence meddling in this election. The scope by which they did influence I can be quite certain you however are not aware of. What is more important is if there was any collusion between Trump and the Russians. More and more evidence keeps surfacing that suggests this indeed is true. So again what lies about Russia are we swallowing Gil? What information do I believe isn’t true?

          • Gil Mertz

            For some odd reason the Signal deleted my last response to you Charles. Since you’re convinced that the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election was because of the Russians….please tell me exactly what the Russians did and how that changed a single vote. And what evidence do you have that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians? What do you know that the FBI and the TSA doesn’t?

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            “Since you’re convinced that the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election was because of the Russians….please tell me exactly what the Russians did and how that changed a single vote.”

            If you’d read my last post I mention it’s not clear if Clinton lost on her own accord or not. She certainly ran a terrible campaign. There are statisticians who have shown that it’s likely the hacking provided the slight edge with which Trump won in the end as well as Comey’s last minute announcement. However Gil it’s moot. It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter if Clinton had won. A full investigation of Trump and his associates is required. You do realize a criminal need not be successful in order to be guilty I hope. If a bank robber holds up a bank and doesn’t get anything in the process a crime is still committed. I believe the hacking did have an influence. I don’t believe that was the only factor. I think Clinton ran a terrible campaign in many ways. The crime we are discussing here is less to do with Clinton and much more to do with one committed against the american people, against the sovereignty of our democracy.

            What do I know that the FBI doesn’t? Certainly nothing. And as I stated they’re currently investigating Trump’s campaign for collusion with the Russians. As for the TSA I wonder if you’re trolling me because I don’t see how they are relevant.

            I’d be happy to explain the breadth of this scandal. It’s quite involved however, it’s not something that can be easily typed up and explained in a solitary comment. I’m amazed conservatives aren’t angered by it. What you think liberals want Pence or Ryan as our president. They scare the left as much as Trump does and in some ways more though they’re certainly more stable as individuals. It’s not like there’s some great win here for the left if Trump colluded with the Russians. The election is over however there’s a lot more at stake here for our country than that. Have you ever heard Trump saying anything negative about Putin? Isn’t that strange? Have you not noticed how much our foreign policy has shifted in our stance towards Russia and our involvement with NATO? The president seems to be undermining NATO itself? Our president seems to be empowering Putin and diminishing our role as a dominant world power. There’s a lot at stake here.

          • charles maurice detallyrand

            We know the Russians hacked both the

          • Gil Mertz

            Your very first accusation is false, Charles. Russia tried hacking both the GOP and DNC computers but were only successful with the DNC because of their inferior protection. Charles, the Russians try to do this every election, not just this one. Everything that was leaked was 100% true about the Democrats. No one has proven that to be wrong. What’s crazy is how the Democrats and their allies in the media were never upset by the lies and corruption that was exposed within the DNC, only that they got caught. If there was any influence on the election, it was that Wikileaks got out the truth about the Democrats. Pretty sad when the American voters have to depend on Wikileaks for news and not the American media which is so corrupt and only cares to protect and advance the DNC.

            So no, we don’t “know” that the Russians only chose to expose the DNC as you claim. I suspect that the rest of your biased accusations are just as false. But sure, let’s investigate it which is exactly what the FBI has been doing for nine months and come up with nothing. You’re upset that the facts are not lining up with your political bias.

            Why on earth would Russia prefer Trump who is committed to make American great again and rebuild our military when they could have had an incompetent, feckless, weakling like Clinton to push around? She PROVED that she could easily be bought by the millions she took as Secretary of State from foreign countries. Isn’t it interesting Charles that the Clinton Foundation is shutting down since she lost? Is it because the needs they claimed to help have all be solved or is it because the Clintons have no more influence to sell?

            Your side had a terrible candidate, a miserable message, and America was tired of Obama’s lies, deceit, and failed policies. You lost. Stop blaming the Russians and deal with it.

          • Gary Bierend

            cmd: “We know the Russians hacked both the DNC and RNC but leaked only information about democrats to influence the election.”

            Apparently you have more information than the head of the FBI, from CNN (no fan of Trump):

            Comey said there was no sign “that the Trump campaign or the current RNC was successfully hacked.”

          • Gil Mertz

            While there still remains no evidence of Russia’s interference with our last election, details are beginning to surface about the illegal surveillance of an American president. And yet, Democrats want to look away at this disturbing development and continue to focus on the Russian boogeyman.

          • Gil Mertz

            Charles, you correctly say, “If a bank robber holds up a bank and doesn’t get anything in the process a crime is still committed.”

            The same is true if a criminal says, “I didn’t know I was actually breaking any laws. That was not my intent” as was Clinton’s defense which inexplicably and amazingly worked. Anyone else would be in prison for what she did – and she was the county’s Secretary of State! For this Charles, we have actual EVIDENCE. I don’t understand why liberals are not upset by this, but every time I bring up Clinton, you want to gloss over it and say, “What about Trump?”

            You don’t have to give me the “breadth of the scandal” with the Russians. Just give me any evidence of any kind that would hold up in court. So far, the FBI has nothing after their nine month investigation. You said you don’t know anything the FBI doesn’t know. So why do you keep circulating this lie without one shred of evidence, Charles?

            The worst thing you’ve come up with so far is that Trump never says anything bad about Putin. Seriously Charles? This is all you’ve got? Can you post something bad that Obama said about Putin? I can tell you how Obama bent over backwards to appease Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror. Shouldn’t that bother you more?