What do Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; and former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama all have in common? The members of this unlikely chorus have recently raised their voices, warning that we are in grave danger as a democracy, and in danger of losing the very values necessary for continuing as a free, self-governing people.

It can happen.

The generation that fought World War II to defeat fascism and preserve our so-called free world has not entirely passed, and already we see Europe facing a resurgence of neo-Nazi resentment and racism.

In the Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela, China and Kenya, we see human rights and freedoms in retreat as dictators consolidate their power.

Meanwhile our own president hails such dictators as “strong leaders,” white supremacists march across a university campus in Charlottesville, Va., brandishing clubs and swastikas, and Steve Bannon is crisscrossing the nation to convince us that the litmus test for Republicans must now be “loyalty” to (falling in lock step with) President Donald Trump.

It’s time we heed the warnings and recognize the danger in that kind of divisive either/or, us-versus-them rhetoric.

The tragic story of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power is, after all, a story that began with a movement like today’s "alt-right," with lies, racism and the placing of blind loyalty in one misguided leader.

It’s time we review that history before we have to repeat it.

Dan Henderson, Holmen

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