Once upon a time there lived an emperor whose only ambition was to be always well dressed. One day two swindlers came and claimed that their clothes were invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid. The emperor had them make a suit of the special cloth for him.

He sent his trusted officials to the swindlers to see how the suit was progressing, but none of them would dare to admit that they couldn't see it. When the emperor finally viewed the suit he didn't admit that he could see it either and neither did anyone else. It was only when he marched through the city in the new suit that at last a young child cried out, “But he has nothing on at all!” Hans Christian Andersen wrote this fairy tale in 1837.

“Protests over racism and #BlackLivesMatter are spreading across the country,” wrote a Washington Post report over the weekend, “including in small towns with deeply conservative politics. The scale of the protests is unprecedented.” As seen in Andersen’s short tale, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.