Vice President George H.W. Bush, with his wife, Barbara, in Houston on Oct. 12, 1987, when he announced his candidacy for president. (Ed Kolenovsky/AP)

Anne Applebaum made frightening and convincing parallels in her May 20 Sunday Opinion essay, “To glimpse our future, look to Rome.” But the fault lies not in our stars. We are, unfortunately, dangerously, a world of children, and, like social media, high-fructose corn syrup and the Kardashians, this breed of politician is our candy.

A lifetime ago, we watched President George H.W. Bush announce with comforting machismo, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” When his opponent said, “That’s a nice idea, but where are you going to get the money?” no one was listening. Mr. Bush won. Before that, Ronald Reagan was elected despite the media repeatedly and passionately alerting us to how completely ignorant of the world he was. But he was soothing. Reagan, President Trump, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and 1,000 others are the monsters; we are the Drs. Frankenstein.

Bennett Pologe, Riverdale, N.Y.