We have a democracy with rules spelled out in our Constitution. By their actions, many voters in America seem to be edging toward another form of government they feel is better than our admittedly messy democracy — strong man rule.

The current president has suggested more than once he likes one-man rule more than the form of government given us by our Founders.

I like to watch the history of Germany in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. The BBC has some great historical programs presenting what happened in democratic Germany in the words of those who decided they, too, wanted to change from democracy to one-man rule.

A man appeared in Germany who said he alone could greatly improve on democracy, which he blamed for society's problems. A majority of Germans bought the idea, and step by step allowed their new strong man to eliminate the rules and traditions of democracy.

After WWI Germany was punished severely for what the world saw as their responsibility for that war. Germany staggered to pay reparations demanded of them, and their strong-man leader raised great resentment over these payments, and blamed minorities for the country's problems. He urged abandonment of democracy and making him sole ruler. His motto was "Deutchland uber alles,” Germany over everything.

We, and all democracies today are lucky to have this German test case of one-man rule vs. democracy readily available to see through modern inventions such as film made by Germany and others. We should make sure we benefit by such clear lessons from history that are normally quickly forgotten. Our children should see these films in history classes.

Of course one could say the victors of WWII wrote this history. But again, the films present the words not only of the victors, but of the actual participants of the time. German and others. So there's little or no distortion.

I think students and all of us will find the films highly dramatic and riveting. And it’s not Hollywood fiction. It's also not what some bloviator on radio or TV today wants you to think. It all really happened as captured on film.

For those attracted to action and horror movies, you will be richly rewarded. The grand finale — WWII — is the ultimate horror show of all time.

Study this marvelously clear history lesson from start to finish, especially what happened in formerly democratic Germany, not just WWII. Then decide, one man rule or disorganized, argumentative, often-very annoying democracy?

Not to spoil the show, but strong-man rule worked out very poorly for Germany and all nations drawn into the resulting war, even the victors. The result was death, terrible injury and destruction on a scale never before seen.

In the end, the beaten strong man actually said all Germans should suffer and die for "losing his war." He did not lift a finger to ease their horrible suffering.

This review of history is currently important. We may be asked to decide about changing our form of government sooner than we think. Attempts are being made this very day to test serious changes in our democracy, bit by bit, step by step.

With one eye on history, pay attention to what's being done in America today. Defend your democracy, or abandon it if you think that best. It’s hard to realize when important history is happening right before our eyes, but it is today.

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William Gloege is a resident of Santa Maria.