A Nation Gone Daft

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

For the past week or so I have watched with bemusement the violent behavior of some of my fellow Americans who are bent on eradicating our nation’s history and obliterating some of its significant symbols, such as statues, monuments, and treasured documents.

My attitude toward the minority of Americans who creep out at night to demolish or deface statuary and other representations of America’s past that they find offensive is straightforward: they are mobs of irrational cretins.

However, I am beginning to wonder if America’s version of the Taliban is indeed a minority. There seems to be a national epidemic of GTCD (Group-Think Cerebral Disorder) in which otherwise rational human beings lose their common sense and turn into frenzied, frantic, feverish creatures who are convinced that our nation, its founders, its history, and its values are malevolent, incorrect, and deplorable.

Therefore, these iconoclasts insist, some images, historical figures, and symbols must be obliterated. The world saw it with the Bolsheviks in Russia, and we are seeing it today with the Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere.

It reminds me of an oft-repeated mantra I heard while covering the war in Vietnam. “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

I haven’t seen anything quite like this since Pol Pot, and his army of Khmer Rouge thugs took over Cambodia in 1975 and began eradicating that nation’s storied history, exterminating its culture, removing its icons, and eventually murdering anybody who it felt represented the past.

Their idea was to take Cambodia back to the middle ages and then reconstruct the nation so that it reflected the values and political beliefs of the Khmer Rouge. I spent several years chronicling the Khmer Rouge’s insane and homicidal activities.

I visited dozens of refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border where I heard the