History will forget the likes of Mike Lee and Lauren Boebert, as long as America survives them | Private Eye | Salt Lake City Weekly

History will forget the likes of Mike Lee and Lauren Boebert, as long as America survives them 

Private Eye

Pin It
click to enlarge news_privateeye1-1.png

For a number of years, City Weekly has conducted an annual tour to Greece in September. As it's now September, I'm therefore in Greece with a great bunch of folks, and we're currently on our seventh day of travel.

Just a couple hours ago, we reached our home for the next two days in Kalabaka, Greece, where the stunning monasteries of Meteora are situated on the rocky spires that rise nearly vertically from the valley floor. These monasteries, which once numbered 24 in the 1300s, still claim six in operation today, several of which we will visit tomorrow morning.

If you've seen the movie For Your Eyes Only, starring Roger Moore as James Bond, you, too, have seen these spires. He roped his way up and, in so doing, figured out how to stymie the bad guys.

They are also glimpsed in The Bourne Identity, Lara Croft Tomb Raider and Game of Thrones, in which the Vale of Arryn is said to be inspired by. In 1988, Meteora was established as a UNESCO World Heritage site, of which there are an additional 18 more in Greece.

By the look of things—including three tour buses in just our parking lot—Meteora is on more than one bucket list. Meteora is both mystifying and stunning. Well, all of Greece is that, and I say that with no shame or hyperbole—it simply is. Yesterday, we visited Pella (where Alexander the Great was born) and Vergina (where the Royal Tombs contained the remains of his father), also UNESCO sites.

We traveled to both of those from our recent base in the city of Thessaloniki, which is basically a living history class of all things related to early Greek, Christian, Roman and Byzantine cultures. When not gawking at such treasures as St. Demetrios Church, the Rotunda, the Arch of Galerius, the White Tower and notably the broad cultural thoroughfare of Aristotelous Square, our group found plenty of time to take in the other finer things of the region: bougatsa, grilled sardines and ouzo.

By the time this trip ends in early October, a little more than 80 people will have joined in. That's a ton, and my tour-guide receptors are always set on "little" or "very little" patience. I'm simply not much of a tour guide, so we hire real guides when possible, which is a good thing since everyone along now has at least some idea that when my own grandmother was born in a log cabin near Vernal, Utah, in 1899, Greece was far down the path of building tremendous artifacts that are treasured worldwide.

Those artifacts still stand after more than 2,500 years—like the Parthenon sitting atop the Acropolis. Greece has also dispensed to the world such gifts as the values of societal literacy and education, thespian appreciation for humor and tragedy, the symbolic and powerful words of poetry, the need for both accepting and challenging logic, math and the sciences, the seeds of modern-day medicine and the structural pillars of civilized society, governmental rule and, of course, democracy.

For 20 of us, our first port this year was Athens, where democracy was born. We all stood there on the very rocks and pathways where some of history's greatest orators spoke and also where the first pagan Greeks were converted to Christianity by the biblical Apostle Paul.

I remember one visit here when I ran into a group of about 10 Latter-day Saint missionaries singing away on Ermou Street in Athens. I approached and discovered that none of them knew where Paul spoke, despite it being in plain view from street level. Nor did they know where Corinth was or that Paul wrote his Letters to the Corinthians only 40 miles or so down the pike. I just figured, oh well, that's how Americans are, we don't really try to learn about other cultures.

But a religion hellbent on gaining converts to the LDS church maybe should have tried harder. There are several reasons why there are less than 800 members of the LDS church in all of Greece (population nearly 11 million). I mean, even Zig Ziglar would counsel a salesperson to understand his client and the needs of the client before making a pitch. It's not hard to figure out that suggesting to someone they've been wrong on a subject for 23 centuries is a tough starting point, but to also misunderstand them from the get-go?

Giving missionaries a primer on ancient Greek history would be a great starting point for sure. And undoubtedly there are faces lost to Greek history who were not the best of citizens, who were lesser of spine when it came to standing up to the corrupt. But that's why in the movie Troy, Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) tells his aide and horse groomsman that history will not remember him, that only the brave will live on.

So, it is with some solace that as I wander these internet webs today (rife with images of Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and some guy shagging at the local theater), I more easily understand and accept that the cowards of our own United States of America governments will be equally lost to time as was the boy who made his living by scooping the manure left by Achilles' horse. Our halls of law, honor and justice are full of them today, elected officials to the greatest democracy in the greatest country in the world, somehow amplified to rarified status by means and behaviors that were not acceptable in ancient Greece.

The lingering greatness of ancient Greece could not have survived the clown shows begat of the likes of farcical horse-manure shoveling politicians like Boebert or Utah Sen. Mike Lee, just to name two. And neither can America, by the way.

Send comments to john@cityweekly.net

Pin It


About The Author

John Saltas

John Saltas

John Saltas, Utah native and journalism/mass communication graduate from the University of Utah, founded City Weekly as a small newsletter in 1984. He served as the newspaper's first editor and publisher and now, as founder and executive editor, he contributes a column under the banner of Private Eye, (the original... more

© 2023 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation