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SCOTT DREYER: September 1 Meditations

Today we have been blessed with a gorgeous day here in Southwest Virginia…blue skies and a break from the oppressive August humidity.  Many look expectantly to the three-day weekend honoring Labor Day. However, in history, September 1, 1939 holds a dark and dubious distinction. On this date in 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, plunging that country into a nightmare and the world into WW II. The stunning surprise speed of the German attack brought a new word into the English language: blitzkrieg, Lightning War.

German invasion of Poland 1939
A young Polish boy returns to what was his home and squats among the ruins during a pause in the German air raids on Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. German attacks lasted until Warsaw surrendered on September 28. One week later, the last of the Polish forces capitulated near Lublin, giving full control of Poland to Germany and the Soviet Union. (

Poet W.H. Auden was in a bar in New York City that night as the news came in over the airwaves. He had this to say in his opening lines of his poem, “September 1.”

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:

A low and dishonest decade. By almost any measure, the 1930’s were one of the darkest decades not only in US but in world history. The USA fell into the Great Depression after the stock market crash of October 1929, and although the world was not nearly as interconnected as it is today, the collapse gradually impacted most of the developed world. 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 “befuddlement.” As an emboldened Hitler demanded more and more, the Western democracies yielded more and more. The policy of appeasement, designed to avoid war, gave Hitler the green light to re-militarize Germany and considering Hitler was a madman, war became inevitable. That’s why, on September 1, 1939, the “clever hopes” of a low, dishonest decade expired.

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

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

That brings us to today, September 1, 2022. We are living in low, dishonest times. And people see it. As the respected Gallup poll organization reported in July, “Americans are less confident in major U.S. institutions than they were a year ago, with significant declines for 11 of the 16 institutions tested and no improvements for any.”

Those reporting “great deal/quite a lot of confidence” in the presidency dropped 15% in only 12 months, from 38% to 23%. Confidence in Congress, as an institution, dropped 5 points, from 12% to 7%. And helping fuel the problem, don’t expect many in the media to tell you the truth or give it to you straight. (Here at The Roanoke Star, we aim to be an exception.) Confidence in “newspapers” dropped 5, from 21% to 16%, while “Television News” dropped 5 as well, but from 16% to 11%.

This is not a matter of skin tone or gender or income or education level, but more and more people are realizing: we are living in a culture riddled with lies. And what’s worse, if you try to speak the truth and explain how you see things, or ask questions or point out some of the inconsistencies, you find yourself shouted down as a “hater” or a “bigot,” put in Facebook jail, kicked off 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 the Big Tech censorship and, as the bold Epoch Times reported today, much of that censorship is done with the active connivance of members of the Biden administration.

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

Challenging times.

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

  • We are told we need to be protected from “fake news” and disinformation.” But how do we explain it when “the fake news” turns out to be true? We were told Hunter Biden’s laptop was “likely 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 had to get the Covid shots and boosters. If you didn’t, it’s because you “wanted to kill grandma.” “Get the shot, and you’ll never get sick or make anybody else sick,” they told us, including President Biden, who along with his wife, has recently been quarantined for Covid. But since the June Dobbs decision, when the Supreme Court returned the abortion issue to the states, the rallying cry is (again) “My Body My Choice.”
  • With rising threats abroad, including the first major land war in Europe since 1945, and low enlistment and re-enrollment numbers, members of the Armed Forces are still being forced to get the Covid vaccines, even though we now know they don’t work as promised. Even the small and elite band of Coast Guard rescue swimmers is being threatened by these demands. But if you cross into the US illegally, however, no shots required.
  • President Biden ran his campain from his basement claiming he would “heal the country.” But once he got into office, he has pursued a far left-wing agenda most in the US are not in favor of, and speaking in Maryland recently went so far as to call, basically those who disagree with him, “semi-fascists.” Then tonight, having verbally scorched some one-third to one-half of the country, he is supposed to give a speech about “healing the Soul of America”?
  • We tell young people, “Love yourself, be yourself, and accept yourself for who you are.” Then offer them invasive surgeries that irreversibly remove or mutilate their most intimate parts of their anatomy.  Youths who are too young to get a tattoo can get thus mutilated in a way they can never bear children and we call it “gender-affirming surgery.”
  • We are told there is a climate emergency and 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 beachfront mansions in Hawaii and on Martha’s Vineyard. If the world is getting hotter 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 move to “clean energy,” mainly solar panels and windmills. So, where do we collect solar energy? On “solar farms,” and in 2021, Virginia lost about 2,000 acres of prime farmland per week.  Farmland that abused is probably lost forever as productive soil. Likewise, Virginia forests are getting cut down by the acre, so we can put up more solar panels. Since when did cutting down trees save the earth? And the windmills? They are killing an unknown number of birds and bats, including ones of endangered species.

The answer? There is good news! There is a way out! Russian Christian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, on the day he was arrested in the Soviet Union in 1974, put out a booklet “Live not by Lies.”

Don’t believe the lies. The 1930’s generation 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 that is beautiful and true and time-tested. 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 M.A. 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 at Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at






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