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If ISIS Attacked NYC Would Rick Scott Care?

This time, will Robert E. Lee win and destroy the Union?

With about one week to go before the 19th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda assault on the United States, it is worth pondering what has happened in America since then. At that time, despite the turmoil of presidential politics with impeachment and Florida, when the nation was attacked it was possible for Democrats and Republicans to stand together on the steps of the Capitol and sing God Bless America. No such unity is possible today between Democrats and Trumpicans. America consists of two peoples still bound in a single political entity but no longer functioning as one. Whether we separate into separate political entities or remain as one is what the current war is all about.

The coronavirus is different than Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The earlier two events were recognized as attacks on America, all America, the entire nation. The country responded as one. By contrast, the coronavirus never was perceived as a national threat. Health officials understood that the virus represented a national threat. Sometimes they even said so especially if they did not work for the Federal government. Those employees were often muzzled and/or undermined.

From the onset, the White House including an assortment of Trumpicans in various positions, viewed the coronavirus as a Democratic problem and not an American one. In the beginning, this was an easy decision for the scientifically-challenged to make. The virus hit hard in New York. Day after day, Americans watched a city under assault in painful gut-wrenching scenes. No other location in America was experiencing that horror. But for Trumpicans it was as if the Germans were bombing London alone so why should the entire country care.

This scenario played out for weeks if not longer. The disease infected cities, especially cities governed by Democratic mayors in states governed by Democratic governors. And the people dying weren’t even people the Trumpicans cared about anyway. But the economic decline was hurting Trumpicans. So did stock market decline. But now the stock market has recovered. The President dedicated to making rich people richer gleefully noted when it had returned to its former heights. The coronavirus problem was over, it had been solved.

Since the problem was a Democratic one, no national leadership was required. Trumpican governors in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas had everything under control. There would be no repeat of what had happened in New York City. Even though under Article 2, a non-Democratic President had the powers of a king, the world’s worst manager and career business failure knew better than to put himself in charge of the response to the virus. Let others carry the ball and bear the blame while he took the credit.

In the months to come, nothing altered this perception of the coronavirus as a Democratic problem. That view remains prevalent with Trumpicans. One thousand deaths per day over an entire country of 330 million is barely noticeable compared to one thousand per day in Queens or New York City as a whole. Despite all the talk about superspreader events, Trumpicans attending those events at an Arkansas Memorial Day pool party, Tulsa political rally, or South Dakota motorcycle gathering have not died in droves or barely at all. Maybe if it had been Tom Brady and not Tom Seaver who had died with Covid-19, Trumpicans would get the message that the virus is a threat to the country. So far it hasn’t happened. It’s not going to happen. The only news that might affect the vote is the coming announcement of a vaccine…not that Trumpicans would be vaccinated anyway. In the meantime, Trumpicans have discounted the virus as a threat to them beyond the flu and remain loyal to the person who kept real Americans outside the cities safe.

This attitude carried over into the aid packages. Once relief had been passed to help rich people get richer or at least maintain their wealth, the enthusiasm for aid relief dissipated. If people received $600 instead of $300, what would be their incentive to work? If Democratic states were bailed out, that would be rewarding states for being expensive, ineffective, and overstaffed. Why should people in Florida bail out those loser states like New York? It’s not like anything had been done to help New York during the past three years anyway. That will teach that other Queens boy who is really the boss.

Now the antipathy has been openly expressed. The war has been declared. The line in the sand has been drawn. President of the United States has said to the Governor of New York: DROP DEAD! There is no need here to repeat the vituperative exchanges which followed between the two Queens combatants. Suffice, it to say, it was a no holds-barred clash involving even relatives of the fighters.

Two points stand out so far.

1. The Governor has yet to call for the defunding of the Confederacy for the over $20 billion surplus in tax monies the state sends annually to the federal government.

2. The contrasting images of the one person are really remarkable to behold. Based on his real estate years in New York City, Little Donnee Waney is pond-scum slime. He was a successful clown but a failed businessman and human being. He never was accepted by the New York elite try as he might to be accepted. Even after being a long-time Democrat and Clinton supporter, he realized that he had no future in politics or business in the city and would always be a pariah. He was cruel, mean, nasty, and incapable of telling the truth besides being a simpleminded, ignorant, narcissistic bigot.

On the other hand, as THE DONALD, he is God’s gift to America. America should be thanking him for the sacrifices he made of his own free will to help his country by becoming America’s greatest president ever and at great personal cost. He is America’s Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name and he will lead America to victory over the new ISIS, the socialist Democrats who aren’t even real Americans anyway.

The battlelines have been drawn and the war is underway. In the next two months, Americans will scarcely know the world outside America exists. All attention will be on America’s Third Civil War. Even before Election Day, the hostilities are underway. Cuomo may be called back to television frontlines to give daily updates on the ongoing war with the Trumpicans. In fact, maybe even two Cuomos will be speaking daily on the war just as they did when one was infected and the other struggled to stop the spread…unless, of course, Chris becomes a casualty of this war.

In a way, the open declaration to defund Democratic cities does America a favor. Perhaps now we will stop pretending that it is politics as usual or just another presidential election. The coronavirus is not the existential threat to the continued existence of the United States as a single political entity. The current salvo against the Democrats is just one example of the scorched earth war that will only get worse. Tom Friedman, the longtime reporter on Lebanese civil war politics, wrote back on August 19 (print):

Here is a sentence I never in a million years thought that I would ever write or read: This November, for the first time in our history, the United States of America may not be able to conduct a free and fair election…[T]hat would not result in just a disputed election…that would be the end of American democracy as we know it. It also isn’t hyperbole to say it could sow the seeds of another Civil War.

The threat is real.

Yes, it is. The battle is engaged. Militias will be on the march when called. This president genuinely could succeed in accomplishing what Benedict Arnold and Robert E. Lee could not. Is Joe Biden up for the fight of his country’s life?

8:46 AM 9/11 to 8 minutes 46 seconds, 2020: What Happened?

From 9/11 to May 25, 2020 (

The numbers 8:46 may become bookend numbers for a transitional period in American history. The first is the time when a jet plane commandeered by Islamic terrorists crashed into one of the World Trade Towers in Manhattan. The second is the amount of time a Minneapolis cop knelt on the neck and back of black man who then died. Each event set off chain reactions. The worlds of these two incidents of death are very different.

9/11 8:46

The attack on the World Trade Center lead to responses which are not possible today. In France the headline of the newspaper Le Monde was “Nous sommes tous américains — We Are All Americans.” Parisians gathered at Notre Dame to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” [how did they know the words?]. The French built 82-foot-tall scaffolding replicas of the now collapsed buildings. The sign on the buildings read: “Les Français N’oublieront Jaimais. The French Will Never Forget.”

Nineteen years later the French may still remember but it is a different United States they see today. The eyes of the world are still upon us but what do they see now.

1. They see a simple-minded immature child president who is a buffoon and laughing stock.

2. They see a country that has abandoned of its own free will its position of leadership in the world.

3. They see a country which failed to manage the coronavirus in a spectacular display of ineptitude, declare victory, and move on content to have 800-1,000 deaths a day forever.

4. They see a country divided by racism preparing to refight the Second American Civil War.

At times like this they must wonder what happened to America or have their eyes been opened to longstanding but buried truths?

At home, the situation has changed as well. After 9/11, the members of Congress, meaning of both parties, stood together on the steps of the Capitol to sing God Bless America. That could not happen today.

The coronavirus clearly shows that even when faced with a deadly attack that far exceeds the death totals from 9/11, Vietnam, and Korea combined, that We the People that cannot come together. We can’t because we aren’t really one people, we are two houses.

By now it is well-known to Trumpicans that CORVID-19 is a New York medical emergency and not an American one. Real Americans don’t wear masks because real Americans aren’t infected. CORVID-19 is a disease of New Yorkers, nursing homes, prisons, and meatpacking plants operated by both legal and illegal immigrants. Why should real Americans care?

This division between the not-a-house divided but two houses played out in the relief packages to help people, businesses, and states get through the crisis.

Donald J. Trump 10:41 AM – Apr 27, 2020

Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help? I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?

These thoughts were echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Trumpicans who see no need to assist Democratic states like New York during this national crisis that isn’t really a national crisis. Overlooked in the debate is that New York paid $26.6 billion more in taxes in 2018 than it received back, a testament to the weakness of the New York State federal delegation compared to the Confederate federal delegations. What happens if New York State tires of subsidizing the Confederate states and decides it needs the money itself?


The death via kneeling has had a profound effect on American politics and society. We are just starting to see the impact in the polls. It still is too early to know how it will play out.

One regrettable type of response has been how to exploit the death to your own advantage.

One way has been for mostly young black males to exploit the absence of police to smash windows and loot expensive stores. Obviously these instances are the favorite of Fox.

A second way has been for the alpha-male wannabe commander in chief to demonstrate that he is a real man. He has done so with his comic-book-tough talk to governors on phone calls. He has done so by pretending he was inspecting the White House bunker. He has done so by dominating Lafayette Park in one of the greatest displays of false bravado in American history. He has done so by using his generals as props. In so doing he has learned that he can’t count on them to do his bidding for photo-ops against the American people exercising their constitutional rights. He has even learned that Bill Barr of all people has his limits in his loyalty. Despite all this, he will continue to act tough and talk up his great victories before loyal Trumpicans at his professional political wrestling arena events beginning June 19 in Tulsa.

A third way has been to ramp up efforts to purify America. Monuments will be toppled. Once the forces of purification have been unleashed, it is impossible to tell where it will end. This Columbus Day during the election countdown is sure to provide multiple battlefronts as America’s Third Civil War heats up.

A different and optimistic way also is possible. The murder of George Floyd can be a catalyst for an intense, often painful, and hopefully honest discussion about the place of Middle Passage blacks and Confederates in the United States. Remember “malice towards none.” There are too many people involved to wish away the current situation or to solve it unilaterally. A national discussion where one side simply condemns the other as inferior, terrorist thugs, or people who need to repent their sins will be destructive. Much of the discussion will be at the grassroots level which is good since it will be harder for the conversation to be hijacked. But ultimately not everything can be solved at the local level. No matter what people work out involving the local police that will still leave the damage caused by interstate highways that ripped neighborhoods to shreds.  Given the failure to develop a national solution to the coronavirus, it is impossible to imagine how we can develop national solutions to the problem of race in America with the current political environment in Washington. Someone is going to have win America’s Third Civil War and I hope it is We the People.


As stated in previous blogs, my expectation was that America’s Third Civil War would heat up after the presidential election. It appears that more people now recognize the possibility of the culture war becoming a civil war.

Thomas Friedman (May 13, 2020, NYT, print): Having a pandemic is really bad. Having a pandemic and a civil war together is really, really, bad. Welcome to Donald Trump’s America 2020 [written before the murder of George Floyd]

Paul Krugman (June 2, 2020, NYT, print): And Donald Trump, far from trying to calm the nation, is pouring gasoline on the fire; he seems very close to trying to incite a civil war.

Thomas Friedman (June 3, 2020, NYT, print): I am not at all certain that we will be able to conduct a free and fair election in November or have a peaceful transition of presidential power in January. We are edging toward a cultural civil war, only this time we are not lucky: Abraham Lincoln is not the president.

The Confederacy is back in the news big time. We see it in the conflict over the military bases with Confederate names. We see it in the conflict over Confederate statues. It’s as if the America’s Second Civil War never ended. Probably that is because it hasn’t.

No matter the election results, a battle will ensue. It is already underway.

Remembering 9/11: Historical Memory

Man in Red Bandana (

Where were you on the Day of Infamy?

Where were you when you learned that Kennedy had been shot?

Where were you when the towers fell?

Perhaps the more appropriate question to ask is not “where were you…?” but “were you?” In other words, we have shifted from a time of people remembering events in their own lives to people remembering only if they are informed of the event in the first place. With each passing moment, the number of people who have direct memories of December 7, the Kennedy assassination, and 9/11 decreases. Increasingly more and more people will know of these events only through oral tradition/movies, family, and possibly school. People may also remember if they visit physical sites associated with these events… providing they already know something occurred there and in effect make a pilgrimage to experience the site.

The Holocaust has been subject to this phenomena for years now. The number of survivors with direct personal experience diminishes. There is a rush to record their experiences using the latest devices that technology has to offer. But there will come a time, and soon, when there are no more survivors left to tell the tale. What will happen then?

Here in New York, many events in state history have effectively vanished from the state consciousness. They are preserved only by the dedicated few. Part of the reason is not simply the passage of time but the changing demographics of state. The biological link to the early events in the history of the state has become smaller and smaller.

What do the Haudenosaunee and Dutch have to do with us? I am not Haudenosaunee or Dutch.

What does the French and Indian War have to do with us? I am not French, English, or Indian?

What does the War of 1812 have to do with us? I am not French, English, or Indian?

What does the Erie Canal bicentennial have to do with me? My ancestors didn’t build it.

What does slavery in New York have to do with me? My ancestors didn’t own slaves.

And so it goes.

Over time, parts of our history vanish from sight or consciousness. They disappear partially because they are replaced by new events, partially because we have no direct connection to them, and partially because we don’t teach them as part of a civic responsibility to develop a sense of place or belonging.

9/11 is no different. In various posts over the years I have noted not only that more and more people have been born after 9/11 but that more and more Americans were not even American citizens when 9/11 occurred.  Recently Matthew Warshauer, Central Connecticut State University (someone I have met on several occasions) had an epiphany on this very topic. His own focus recently has been on the Civil War and he was one of the leaders in Connecticut’s observation of the war’s sesquicentennial. While talking about the Civil War, he began to wonder about historical memory eventually including how long would people remember 9/11.

“Here I am trying to remind people … of literally the biggest conflict in American history, and nobody remembers it [Note – if he taught in the South the answer might be different]. So it got me thinking about historical memory. How long will we remember [9/11]?”

Here is a simple example. Many of you reading this post will remember as a student having to duck under the desk and clasp one’s head in the event of a nuclear attack…and also remember being able to walk up to an airline gate for a departure or to welcome arrivals without security checks. By contrast, younger people have no memory or understanding of the pervasive threat of nuclear war that defined the Cold War (the real World War III) and no awareness that people once could walk right to the gate of a plane … unless they happen to watch an old TV show or movie where people all the time are running to the gate to stop a loved one from leaving before they can express their love.

Following these musings, Warshauer started teaching a course at CCSU called “9/11 Generation,” aimed at educating young students about the event. Some students come to the course “with zero knowledge” of 9/11. As he said,

“That’s been the most fascinating thing. It dawned on me: In another two years, my students are going to have absolutely no emotional connection or memory of 9/11 at all. The subject is merely going to be another history class to them, which blows my mind….As the anniversary has come each year, I’m with the same age group of students, but their view of society and certainly their understanding of the event in history has changed.”

Consider the example of Christine Dennehy, a CCSU senior from Danbury. Since she was 5 years old on 9/11, her memories and understanding of 9/11 are those of a child…until she took Warshauer’s course.

“It was an eye-opening course to take. I learned more than I ever could have imagined. If I hadn’t taken this class, I would not know anything about it and I wouldn’t have thought to look up information.”

Dennehy said she thinks it’s important to continue to commemorate 9/11.

“It’s not something we should let fade into history. People know the day, but if you don’t know anything about it there’s no point in commemorating it.”

Now let’s turn to a non-college teaching experience. A few weeks ago, a travelling museum on an 18-wheel tractor trailer stopped at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle, the school I attended back when it was a junior high school. The museum is operated by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The 53-foot truck with 1,000 square-foot display area was designed to overcome the absence of teaching about 9/11 in the schools. It provides students with an opportunity to talk with firefighters, see exhibits and artifacts, and hear and see audio and video of the event from eyewitnesses and participants. As John Hodge, the chief operating officer, observes, there is no point to saying “never forget” to people who never knew about it in the first place.

Hodge is the cousin of Stephen Siller. Siller was a NYC firefighter who had just finished his shift when the first plane struck. He “raced” back to Manhattan through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (which connects Brooklyn to lower Manhattan where a battery of canons once stood) with 60 pounds of gear. He rescued several people before he died. Funding for the visit was provided by the FF Thomas J. Foley Foundation named after another fire fighter who died rescuing others.

One final event I wish to share is a community one. It is about Welles Crowther, a 24-year old equities trader from Upper Nyack, in Rockland County, at work on 9/11 on the 104th floor. He was not a firefighter. His father was and the son had earned firefighter status at age 18. It seems as if he had planned to change careers and join the NYC Fire Department. An application was found on his desk in his apartment just as he had told his father.

The story of Welles Crowther has been made into a documentary entitled “Man in Red Bandana.” Gwyneth Paltrow narrates the film. It recently premiered at the Lafayette Theater in Suffern. The theater itself is part of history as it reminds us of the time beginning a century ago when communities had these theaters where everyone would come for entertainment and “networking” although they didn’t call it that then. It was just where the people forged their social bonds that bound them together as a community.

The documentary was pieced together from various oral sources. Survivors told the story of a man in a red bandana who had rescued them, who had led them to safety, who had called out to people to guide them by his voice. The bandana protected his face from smoke and debris. He had received that bandana as a four-year old. He had carried it with him ever since. It had been a gift. From his parents. When they read and heard the accounts from survivors of the man in the red bandana they knew they had found their son who they would never see again. His body had been found just steps from safety.

All that training at the Rockland County Fire Training Center had paid off. Volunteer firefighters are another example of a civic organization that helps hold a community together. First responders put their lives on the line for others including people they don’t even know. In a world with a slew of hurricanes, forest fires, and who knows what’s next, the need for first responders multiples. What are we doing to strengthen a society where people care about others? What is the price we will pay if people only care about themselves?

According to a co-worker, Crowther had once told him “This bandana is going to change the world.” His father Jeff commented:

“It was just a casual remark. But you know, in many ways, it has. The story of that bandana has gone around the world and touched a lot of people.”

At this point in time there is, of course, a well-visited memorial and museum at the footprint of the towers. Given the popularity of lower Manhattan as a tourist destination, it should be no surprise that the accessible site would instantly become a required stop for visitors like the nearby by slightly less accessible Statue of Liberty. But is there more that could be done? Is there more that could make the site a global pilgrimage destination and symbol of hope for our planet?

I think there is and propose the following:

  1. There be a memorial service at Trinity Church (and St. Paul’s Church depending on the size) in honor of people from all the 90+ countries who perished at that time with representatives from the consuls offices in attendance.
  2. The memorial service also be in honor of all the first responders who perished in the effort to save others.
  3. Following the memorial service there be a procession of the representatives from the 90+ countries and the organizations of the first responders to the 9/11 Memorial carrying their flags and a casket.
  4. The flags and caskets are to be arrayed around the footprints of the two towers so people can mourn and pay their respects to those who died in Osama’s assault on humanity.

With this ceremony and commemoration, 9/11 will become a pilgrimage site for the planet as a living symbol of both the worst of human nature and the best. It is through the life and light of this global site that the evil that darkens the land will be defeated.



“CCSU Professor Examines How 9/11 Is Fading From Our Memories,” Russell Blair, Hartford Courant (9/11/17)

“‘Red Bandana’ Recounts a Story of 9/11 Heroism,” Corey Kilgannon, NYT (/9/17)

“Rolling 9/11 Museum Visits New Rochelle Schools,” Colleen Wilson, The Journal News, 10/1/17