Maria Ressa ’86 is an inspiration not only to citizens of the Philippines but also citizens of the United States. As is being stated publicly by some and discussed privately among many, we, too, have a pressing need to face down despots including notably Donald Trump, a bully, deceiver, psychopath, narcissist, and outlaw, who lacking all norms other than the pursuit of self-interest clearly demonstrates the behavior of a despot.

My own shining example of an individual willing even to sacrifice his life to face down a despot is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the prominent Lutheran pastor and theologian during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. For his continuing opposition to Hitler and the Nazi party Bonhoeffer was executed at Flossenberg concentration camp in April 1945 two weeks before an uncle of mine and his Third Army artillery unit liberated the camp.  

May Bonhoeffer’s moral and intellectual courage inspire us all to recognize and oppose — and help our fellow citizens recognize and oppose — despots among us. Who among us likes a bully?