The West Wing of the White House on Sept. 6. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Marc A. Thiessen’s Sept. 7 op-ed, “If this is how you serve, just resign,” about the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed, was a fine rendering of how the system should work. Unelected appointees or bureaucrats should not be subverting the policies or positions of our elected leaders. Institutional checks, rather than personal resistance, are the way the system should operate. People who can’t accept these principles should resign rather than resist or subvert from within.

The problem with applying these principles to our current situation is that we are not dealing with a normal president, so the normal “shoulds” do not apply. Instead, we have a president who is demonstrably ignorant, is uninterested in facts, regularly lies, is wont to act and speak impulsively, views public criticism of him and his actions as treason, and wants the Justice Department to prosecute his political enemies.

History views resisters of despots as heroes rather than cowards.

Michael Mezey, Friendship Heights

Marc A. Thiessen was confused when he suggested that the oath taken by senior civil servants binds them to unswerving fealty to the president because he heads the executive branch in which they serve. Here is the oath they take:

“I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

It is fundamentally different from this oath:

“I swear by God this holy oath, that I want to offer unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the commander in chief of the Wehrmacht, and be prepared as a brave soldier to risk my life for this oath at any time.”

Try to keep them straight.

J.V. Reistrup, Annapolis