Inaugural Day is a day for Presidents. January 20, 2021, was no different. There were Presidents physically in attendance. There were Presidents there in spirit through mentions of them in speeches. There was a President who provided the backdrop for a celebration of America. Truly it was a day for Presidents.
Of all the Presidents, the one who loomed most prominently over the proceedings was Abraham Lincoln. I make this claim based on no scientific study of the speeches but simply based on my aural and visual impressions of the day. It was a day for Lincoln. In some ways, that should not be surprising given the Civil War references to the current situation. The biggest change was the reference to a war between the Red and the Blue instead of the Blue and the Gray. Nonetheless, it should be noted that Lincoln was a Republican president and the people celebrating his life were Democrats; the Confederate-based Republican Party never sings his praises.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s examine the Presidents and the setting for Inaugural Day.
DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE FOUR PRESIDENTS WHO WALKED INTO….
“Peaceful transfer of power” was one of the phrases that We the People have heard frequently in the past few weeks and months. It refers to something routine in the United States and rare in the world. It refers to one person in power freely relinquishing that position not simply to another person but to a person in political opposition. We take this action for granted so much so that it rarely is commented on until this election.
George Washington stepped away from power twice. Even once would have been remarkable but he did it twice. The first occurred when the “Indispensable Person” to the victory in the American Revolution stepped down from power and returned to his farm. He immediately was compared to the Roman Cincinnatus. King George III who was on the losing side was in shock and stated: “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”
But Washington was not through. A few years later he became the first President of the United States of America. After two terms, he stepped down. A few years later, his Vice President who had become President stepped down and peacefully transferred power to his bitterest rival after a contentious election. Later then became lifelong pen pals. They both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the birth of the country they had created. So besides the upcoming 250th anniversary, it also will be the bicentennial of that momentous day.
Of the over 190 countries in the United Nations, how many have had a peaceful transfer of power?
Of the over 190 countries in the United Nations, how many have an over 200-year tradition of a peaceful transfer of power? 100 years? 50 years? 10 years?
Of the over 190 countries in the United Nation, how many have had ceremonies with the current leader and three predecessors (four if it hadn’t been for the pandemic)?
Of the over 190 countries in the United Nations, how many have five predecessors who are even alive?
We take much for granted. We take for granted what George Washington did in setting this country on course to being a constitutional republic and not a monarchy, banana republic, or dictatorship.
We take much for granted in how our Presidents become members of a very small club.
How George Bush the father became a surrogate father to William Clinton who had no father growing up he could call his own.
How First Michelle Obama and George Bush the son could so casually and without artifice stand together.
We are reminded of what we take for granted by the behavior of the sore loser who did not participate in this inaugural ritual. The person who wanted to be President for Life unlike the far wealthier George Washington whom he mocked for not naming anything after himself. The person who only considered the votes of “real Americans” to be valid and worked for weeks to steal the election. The person who instigated a coup attempt and as always did not have the courage of his convictions because he has neither courage nor convictions. The person who sulked in the corner out of sight when he couldn’t be the center of attention and would have to peacefully transfer power to the winner. His behavior will become part of the historical record in contrast to Washington and so many others, a testament to how the immature child failed to live up to the adult responsibilities of the job.
THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE UPON US
The eyes of the world continue to be upon us. When people who are not free wish to free, they do not think of China or Russia. The global symbol for freedom remains the Statue of Liberty.
In the span of a mere two weeks, another symbol of the United States, the Capitol, experienced two of the widest swings in imagery possible. Today we live so much in the moment that it is hard to realize how much has happened in those few days. One President of the United States instigated an insurrection so he could steal the election and remain in power. The House of Representatives then impeached that President for a second time. A new President was inaugurated. He took his oath of office at the very site of the American carnage perpetrated by his predecessor. In a few days, the Senate, in that same building will take up the trial to convict the former President. While the former party of Lincoln will not allow that conviction to occur, at least the actions will become part of the official record of the country for posterity and all the world to see.
On January 6, 2021, the world was in shock in what it saw happening in the United States. On January 20, 2021, the world was in relief that the peaceful transfer of power had occurred. One day, when there once again will be tourism, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall, and Lafayette Square will become even more visited sites than they were before American experienced the twin disasters.
THE PARTY OF LINCOLN
Since my first blog on the end of the Republic Party as the party of Lincoln appeared in 2016, I am not surprised that now it is becoming official. Even prior to January 6, various elected Trumpicans had openly proclaimed that the Republican Party was now the party of Trump.
The Trumpicans who helped incite the insurrection were not acting in the spirit of Lincoln.
The Trumpicans who sought to steal the election by disqualifying electors were not acting in the spirit of Lincoln.
The Trumpicans in the House who voted in support of the President of the United States’s attempt to steal the election through an insurrection were not acting in the spirit of Lincoln.
The Trumpicans in the Senate who will vote not to convict the President of United States for his attempt to steal the election through an insurrection will not act in the spirit of Lincoln.
The abrupt and expected flip-flop of Kevin McCarthy documents the political calculation that there is more to gain from being the Trumpican Party than the Republican Party. Next year when the pandemic is over, the economy has recovered, and more and more of the truth of Trump regime and his life have been revealed, the wisdom of forsaking Lincoln for Trump will be tested.
In the meantime, January 20, 2021, was a day of Lincoln and the country is better for it.
Over four years ago, on March 2016, I wrote a blog entitled R.I.P. Party of Lincoln (1856-2016). At that time, I did not know the Republican Party would become the Trumpican Party. I did know that the Republican Party was no longer the party of Lincoln. His name was rarely invoked. Even today it rarely is by the President of Malice except when he favorably compares himself to America’s greatest President.
Still, the legacy of Lincoln lives on among the few Republicans left who have not succumbed to becoming Trumpicans. Within the Party, their resistance is futile. They have made themselves known through ads which effectively exposes the shortcomings and dangers of the current President. However those ads will not reclaim the Republicans who have become Trumpicans. Any deprogramming efforts will require substantially more resources, time, and effort than a mere commercial provides…including the desire of the Trumpican in the first place to become a Republican once again.
Ironically, the showcase for the Never-Trump Republicans was the Democratic National Convention. On that virtual stage, these Republicans were welcomed. However in a time when all the Republican presidential nominees in the 21st century are persona non grata in the Trumpican Party, it is difficult to know where these Never-Trump Republicans will align themselves after the elections. Will they continue to support Joe Biden and the Democrats for the next four years? Will they start a third party?
Back on February 29, 2020, I wrote
Rick Wilson, Richard Conway, John Kasich, and Bill Weld can struggle all they want to regain control of the Republican Party but it is not going to happen. At present Lincoln Republicans have no political party. Neither do admirers of Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, or even the Bushes. So how will they vote? What will they do now that the Republican Party despises them? (The Socialist versus the Trumpican Smackdown: What Are Democrats and Republicans to Do?)
Now we know how they will vote. Bu we don’t know what the plans are for the future.
In a well-meaning op-ed column, David Brooks wrote:
My guess is that if Trump gets crushed in the election, millions of Republicans will decide they never liked that loser and jerk anyway. He’ll get relegated to whatever bargain basement they are using to hold Sarah Palin (Where Do Republicans Go From Here?, August 9, print).
There is a lot of wishful thinking in those guesses. Think of what has happened in the short interval since those words were first printed. Now think of the impact all those events have had on his popularity. Try “unchanged” since last year at this time.
The one possible glimmer of hope for Brooks is the idea of “loser.” If, and it is an “if,” Trumpicans lose the White House and the Senate and fail to retake the House and if there isn’t a national melt down and Joe Biden does become President, then Trumpicans will be faced with the prospects of Democratic control. Will Trumpicans be content to remain loyal to the loser through 2024 even while he is being prosecuted and perhaps jailed? In my last blog, I asked the question of what Sean Hannity will do if confronted with a Democratic sweep and only a loser to oppose them. At that point will Hannity’s desire to stop the Democrats trump his loyalty to a loser? No one knows now but it is possible to support some Trumpican ideas without supporting the person who has no power future political future.
If, and only if, he is pushed off the stage or is confined to OAN broadcasting from Rikers, who, then, will fill the leadership void? Will the Never-Trump Republicans then be able to regain the support of the former Republicans? Such a prospect seems unlikely. More wishful thinking. One should keep in the mind that none of the multitude of Republican candidates in 2016 assuaged the angst the Republicans felt. All those candidates fell by the wayside. Nothing that has happened in the last four years indicates that Never-Trump Republicans can wrest the leadership position from the defeated and criminal loser or that the party members will follow them. Everyone now is jockeying for position to be the successor who will save the party from ruin< Meanwhile he is not leaving the stage and still could win. You don’t hear much talk about 350 Electoral College votes for Biden now do you?
To return to the Brooks column, in it he dutifully identifies four possible prospects for the future leadership of the Republican Party:
The post-2020, post-Trump Republican future is … is embodied by a small group of Republican senators in their 40s, including Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse. They all came of age when Reaganism was already in the rearview mirror. Though populist, three of them have advanced degrees from Harvard or Yale. They are not particularly close to one another. They may be joined by a common experience, but they are divided by ambition.
Brooks then proceeds to examine the strengths and weaknesses of each of them. This analysis would be perfectly legitimate in normal times, but the one critical lesson of the last four years is that these are not normal times. It is not possible to develop a modified Trumpism to reach out to a larger share of the electorate when the main actor still hogs all the attention. No Trumpican can stand up to him. Besides, one should keep in mind that the Republican presidential popular vote electoral record in the baby-boom era is abysmal. If the boomer candidates leave the stage, there is no inherent reason to believe that next generation will do any better. Remember THEY ALL WILL CARRY TRUMP TAINT. They will have to explain their support as even more and even corruption and criminality is revealed in the ongoing investigations.
Strange at it may seem, there are some Republicans left in the White House. Consider the following excerpts from the acceptance speech at the Trumpican National Convention.
Because we understand that America is NOT a land cloaked in darkness, America is the torch that enlightens the entire world.
Gathered here at our beautiful and majestic White House – known all over the world as the People’s House – we cannot help but marvel at the miracle that is our Great American Story. This has been the home of larger-than-life figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson who rallied Americans to bold visions of a bigger and brighter future. Within these walls lived tenacious generals like Presidents Grant and Eisenhower who led our soldiers in the cause of freedom. From these grounds, Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on a daring expedition to cross a wild and uncharted continent. In the depths of a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln looked out these very windows upon a half-completed Washington Monument – and asked God, in His Providence, to save our union. Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt welcomed Winston Churchill, and just inside, they set our people on a course to victory in the Second World War.
What united generations past was an unshakable confidence in America’s destiny, and an unbreakable faith in the American People. They knew that our country is blessed by God, and has a special purpose in this world. It is that conviction that inspired the formation of our union, our westward expansion, the abolition of slavery, the passage of civil rights, the space program, and the overthrow of fascism, tyranny and communism.
In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just, and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.
We must reclaim our independence from the left’s repressive mandates. Americans are exhausted trying to keep up with the latest list of approved words and phrases, and the ever-more restrictive political decrees. Many things have a different name now, and the rules are constantly changing. The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated, and driven from society as we know it. The far-left wants to coerce you into saying what you know to be FALSE, and scare you out of saying what you know to be TRUE.
Our country wasn’t built by cancel culture, speech codes, and soul-crushing conformity. We are NOT a nation of timid spirits. We are a nation of fierce, proud, and independent American Patriots.
We are a nation of pilgrims, pioneers, adventurers, explorers and trailblazers who refused to be tied down, held back, or reined in. Americans have steel in their spines, grit in their souls, and fire in their hearts. There is no one like us on earth.
I want every child in America to know that you are part of the most exciting and incredible adventure in human history. No matter where your family comes from, no matter your background, in America, ANYONE CAN RISE. With hard work, devotion, and drive, you can reach any goal and achieve every ambition.
Our American Ancestors sailed across the perilous ocean to build a new life on a new continent. They braved the freezing winters, crossed the raging rivers, scaled the rocky peaks, trekked the dangerous forests, and worked from dawn till dusk. These pioneers didn’t have money, they didn’t have fame– but they had each other. They loved their families, they loved their country, and they loved their God!
When opportunity beckoned, they picked up their Bibles, packed up their belongings, climbed into covered wagons, and set out West for the next adventure. Ranchers and miners, cowboys and sheriffs, farmers and settlers – they pressed on past the Mississippi to stake a claim in the Wild Frontier.
Legends were born – Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, Davy Crockett, and Buffalo Bill.
Americans built their beautiful homesteads on the Open Range. Soon they had churches and communities, then towns, and with time, great centers of industry and commerce. That is who they were. Americans build the future, we don’t tear down the past!
We are the nation that won a revolution, toppled tyranny and fascism, and delivered millions into freedom. We laid down the railroads, built the great ships, raised up the skyscrapers, revolutionized industry, and sparked a new age of scientific discovery. We set the trends in art and music, radio and film, sport and literature – and we did it all with style, confidence and flair. Because THAT is who we are.
Whenever our way of life was threatened, our heroes answered the call.
From Yorktown to Gettysburg, from Normandy to Iwo Jima, American Patriots raced into cannon blasts, bullets and bayonets to rescue American Liberty.
These are not the words of a Trumpican, they are the words of an anonymous Republican in the White House. That writer shows Never-Trump Republicans a way forward. It is not possible to regain leadership in the Republican Party by replacing Trumpicans. It is not possible to expand the electoral reach by being Trump-lite. It is not possible to be a positive force for America’s future simply by stopping the malice. To regain control of the Republican following an electoral ruin, a Lincoln for the 21st century is needed or else the country will remain divided into two houses that can’t live together.
The unsung August 11, 2020, has unexpectedly become a preview into America’s future. On that day, Jamaican-Indian female heterosexual Kamala Harris became the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party and possible next President of the United States of America after Joe Biden. Also on that day QAnon Marjorie Taylor Greene won the Republican Congressional primary runoff in the safely Republican 14th Congressional District in Georgia to the acclaim of the current President of the United States. In this blog I wish to address the role of monsters in American politics.
MONSTER UNDER THE BED
When you are a child, there are monsters under the bed. There are monsters in the closet. There are monsters in the bathtub drain. There are monsters that rattle windows, shake doors, and walk in attics. They are everywhere. Eventually, the child grows up. Eventually the child gains the maturity and cognitive skills to recognize that those monsters don’t exist except in the child’s mind. They are real in the world of the child, they are not real in the world of the adult. At least, not normally.
All children do not grow up. Some people remain children all their lives. Little Donnee Waney is one such example. The media persists in analyzing his actions and decisions as if he were an adult. It is as if Mary Trump never wrote anything or doesn’t know what she is talking about. If you accept that she is correct about his being a child in the body of an adult with the emotional maturity of a three-year old, then his fixation on conspiracies should be analyzed on that basis.
Now in the eighth decade of his life, he still lives in his child-world of monsters all around him. He calls them conspiracies. Sometimes he call them MS-13. On August 11, while these other events were unfolding, our Scared Child in Chief was on Hannity describing how he had saved America from monsters. His big beautiful completed wall that the media doesn’t talk about had proved itself already. “Thousands” of MS-13 had been stopped, returned to their home country, or imprisoned. The wall was working to keep America safe from the monsters that were ever threatening to invade the country. Naturally, Fox didn’t perform any fact-checking. One presumes the Trumpicans watching believed that their President and Commander in Chief was successfully hard at work protecting them. He had their loyalty, their devotion, and their vote. Hence the immovable 41% in the polls.
HOW THE POLITICALLY-CORRECTED PEOPLE TERRORIZED THE PARTY OF STUPID
Simply because he is a scared little child doesn’t automatically equate to his fears resonating with Republicans. After all, the Republicans of Reagan were not scared. Back then, which isn’t that long ago, Republicans were a Party of optimists about Morning in America, about defeating the Evil Empire, about America being a City on a Hill. Some of those Republicans are still alive today. Yet the Party now is one of Mourning in America, carnage at home, withdrawal from abroad, and no desire to be a City on a Hill or advocate of American Exceptionalism.
Something happened to intimidate them into being the scared party of stupid. That something was the Politically Correct. Year after year they preached the gospel of the invasion of the alien other who were going to take the country away from native-born whites. A minority/majority people would be become the new dominant political and cultural power in the United States. White privilege would end. White people would be sent to the back of the bus unless they were Woke in which case they would be tolerated and forgiven their trespasses of being white. If you tried with all your might, all your soul, and all your heart to deliver a message better calculated to terrorizing white people into thinking they had had no future in America, or at least, no future they would want, you could not have done a better job than the PCPs did. They were absolutely relentless in telling white people that in the years to come they would confined to the dump heap of history, powerless strangers in their own land.
The party of stupid responded by cowering in fear. The whining party of stupid desperately sought a savior who would rescue them and their country from a fate worse than death. At no point did the party of stupid fact-check the claims of the PCPs. At no point did the party of stupid challenge the prognostications of the PCPs. Instead it fell for the PCP scam hook line and sinker, curling up into a scared ball of fear. The monsters are coming. Help us take back our country. Save us.
I was reminded of this con in a recent article on the census in my local paper via the Associated Press. It stated that non-whites and Hispanic were a majority of people under the age of 16 now. The death rate non-Hispanic whites surpasses their birth rate. The number of non-Hispanic whites is declining. In 25 years, non-Hispanic whites would be a minority. On and on the article went about non-Hispanic whites as a diminishing people in the country.
What about Hispanic whites? At no point did the article mention Hispanic whites. You would think that such people didn’t exist. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Latin America settled by many people from Europe just as the United States was. Don’t people in Latin America know if a person is of European, African, local Indian, or mixed descent? Aren’t countries in Latin America culturally and politically organized based on those distinctions? Yet somehow when the people come to the United States they are all lumped together.
That tactic has worked wonders in terrorizing native-born white people. Once upon a time Germans weren’t considered to be white people and then they were. Once upon a time Irish weren’t considered to be white people and then they were. Once upon a time Italians weren’t considered to be white people and then they were. If Germans, Italians, and Irish still weren’t considered white people, think how small the percentage of white people in America would be today. Now if a German, Irish, Italian, Spanish, Cornish, etc. first goes to Latin America and their descendants come to the United States, suddenly they are no longer white again. We probably are the only country in the world where the descendants of Nazis can be classified as Hispanic.
But the party of stupid is content to let PCPs define Caucasians from outside Europe as brown people. You only have to listen or watch PCP’s gleefully forecast the impending minority status of white people to realize what the response might be. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction to the persistent PCP prophecies of decline for white people is exactly what you should expect it to have been: a desire to be saved from the PCP monster.
QAnon represents the most extreme example of the terror that has overwhelmed Republicans as they contemplate their future. They accept as true the con the PCPs have inflicted upon them. The ultimate response is to invoke the monsters of monsters, Satan her/himself. Divine assistance is needed to thwart the nefarious plans of the hated PCP Socialists. Fortunately our Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, is here to do precisely that. Therefore he must be re-elected despite the rigged election against by the Deep State. He must be able to continue the fight however long it takes.
WHITHER THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
The Republican Party as the party of Lincoln has been dead for years [R.I.P. Party of Lincoln (1856-2016) March 12, 2016]. Right now it is dedicated to becoming a third party in a two-party system where it is as irrelevant on the national level as it is on the state level in California.
Even a repeat of 2018 in 2020 would not be enough to change the trajectory. It would only leave more QAnon and Tea Party in Congress and fewer Republicans. There was no Howard Baker during the impeachment. There is no Howard Baker during the campaign. There will be no Howard Baker after the elections. It is not only that no one in White House can tell Putin’s Pence what Russia is up to; no one in the White House can tell him that the flu epidemic was in 1918/1919.
JOE BIDEN CHALLNGES TUBBY WUBBY TO A BIKE RACE FROM YO! SEMITES TO THIGHLAND.
He’s not leaving the stage if when he will be thrown in prison.
As long as Lincoln remains persona non grata in the Republican Party it has no future. When Lincoln said, “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers…,” he knew that his audience included immigrants with no biological ties to 1776. Yet he included them as Americans. When George Bush the son, spoke of compassionate conservatism and received 44% of the Hispanic vote, he showed that the Lincoln option still worked. When Jeb Bush with his Mexican-American wife ran in 2016 he showed that the Republican post mortem from the 2012 election might still work. But the low-energy candidate was no match for the party that had abandoned not only Lincoln but Reagan. It wanted a candidate who played to their fears generated by the PCPs and not one who offered hope. The PCPs more than Putin were responsible for 2016 election results and now over 165,000-and-counting Americans are dead. And still the Republican Party remains the whiny party of stupid.
In American history, there have been three existential moments when the fate of the United States was at risk: creation, secession, and depression.
At the birth of the country, there was no guarantee that it would be successful. There was no guarantee that the fledgling states would successfully constitute themselves. One person made a difference and earned the reputation as the indispensable person. We will never know if without George Washington, the United States would have been created or not. What we do know, it is not simply by chance that he was in that position. People picked America’s first action hero to command the American forces and people wrote the Constitution with the expectation that he would be President. He fulfilled expectations.
At the secession, one may reasonably posit that the election of Abraham Lincoln triggered the event. But the idea that America was a house divided already was known. If it hadn’t been Lincoln’s election that immediately led to the Second Civil War, it would have been something else. It is easy to imagine that America’s Second Civil War could have ended with two separate countries as we are today except not legally. No one anticipated that Lincoln would become America’s greatest president outside the Confederacy. He exceeded expectations.
At the depression, one may reasonably posit that the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a direct result of the failure under Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt was elected to save America. No one knew that there would be a second and unrelated threat looming just years away –World War II. Similarly, Roosevelt’s success in the 1930s during the depression did not necessarily mean he was right person to be the wartime leader. Roosevelt first fulfilled and then exceeded expectations when the second threat arose.
Today, if one would to identify the three greatest American presidents, outside the current White House and the Confederate states, the answers would be Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Historians can play the “what if” counterfactual one on do times make the person or does the person make the times. The other Roosevelt is likely to be a favored choice for Presidents who could have risen to the occasion to save the country had the opportunity existed. It is a lot easier to select Presidents who would have failed miserably had they been President during these crises or whose shortcomings precipitated the crisis in the first place.
MOUNT RUSHMORE OPPORTUNITY
At this moment in time, America experiences multiple threats. The times cry out for a Mount Rushmore President to lead us from the calamities facing us. It seems as if fate is piling it on, confronting America with one challenge after another. We are facing:
1. the attempt by the Middle Kingdom to wrest world leadership from us
2. America’s Third Civil War
3. the global coronavirus crises
4. the global economic recession if not depression
and, of course, below-the-radar, climate change which hasn’t disappeared from the real world even as it recedes from the news media due to all the other events.
To some extent, during the 2016 election We the People given our Electoral College system picked a President to deal precisely with most of these issues.
With climate change, the choice was simple. The candidate who denied that climate change existed and who claimed it was a Chinese hoax won. As one might expect, the anti-science values of his supporters carried over into other science-related issues. He has meet expectations.
With China, the choice also was simple. The winning candidate was one who had no interest in America’s role in human history or position in the world. Everything was transactional. Everything was a zero-sum game. There were no allies, only transactional relationships. We pulled out of the anti-China alliance the previous President had put together. The new President did so because he vowed to undo whatever Obama had done. The new President did try to apply his transactional zero-sum values to trade the Middle Kingdom but so far without much to show for it. Now he is trying to blame China for the coronavirus crisis and turn China into Mexicans and Salvadorans. That will work with Trumpicans again in the election but has little substance in the global arena. He has not met expectations but is still trying; plus the game has changed due to the new circumstances.
With America’s Third Civil War, the choice also was simple. The winning candidate made no attempt to be President of We the People. He made no attempt to be an e pluribus unum President. He saw that America was not a house divided but two houses. He did not divide America, he exploited the divisions which existed. The longtime pretend Democrat and Clinton supporter realized he had no future there just as he had none with the New York elitists whose approval he craved and never received. Instead he became a fake Republican, heard the call of Sarah Palin to take back the country from you know….those people, and answered the call. As long as Trumpicans think he is fighting for them against the terrorists, they will continue to accept him as their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name no matter what else happens. He is meeting expectations and still fighting as the battle is not yet over.
With the coronavirus, that was unexpected. Just as Roosevelt had been elected for one crisis, the depression, and then had to face another one, so to now there was a second crisis unrelated to the first. The winning candidate was elected to save real Americans by taking back the country, not to fight a virus. Whereas Roosevelt proved successful in dealing with the unexpected, the same does not apply now. Success if fighting against immigrant people does not translate into success in fighting against an immigrant virus. Still, he has claimed success, asserted he wouldn’t have changed anything, and declared himself a “10.” The wartime President against the invisible enemy has won and saved over 2 million American lives in the process. By November, the coronavirus crisis will be over if it isn’t already and who will remember the problems of the spring.
With the depression, again the unexpected occurred. The United States economy already was on its way back in 2016. The one action taken to help rich people get richer did not contribute to a more successful economy. Now we are on our way back. By November we will be back and who will remember the problems of the spring.
To recap, the winning candidate did do what he pledged to do…up to a point. He did wreak havoc with the international arena. He did ignore climate change. He did fight immigration. He did insult, demean, and mock the politically correct, the news media, and the Republicans who did not accept the new Trumpican order. He did not end Obamacare. He did not return manly manufacturing jobs to the United States. He did not return manly coal mining jobs to their former number. He did save America from the coronavirus and did rebuild the economy. So despite his dishonesty, ignorance, narcissism, above-the –law behavior, and conduct as a seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck, he had and still has a legitimate chance win the Electoral College again.
What is important to realize is that the immature child playing imaginary games where he makes up the roles genuinely believes he has succeeded as a wartime general and that Trumpicans accept his version of the truth as communicated via Tweets and Fox.
WARTIME GENERAL FOR AMERICA’S THIRD CIVIL WAR
The same considerations apply to the ramped up Third Civil War in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Bonespur Boy is seeking to replicate his wartime victory over the coronavirus over the thugs and terrorists.
“We will end it now.”
“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
“My administration will stop mob violence, and stop it cold.”
“These are terrorists. These are terrorists. And they are looking to do bad things to our country.”
“Only I can save our country because I am a very stable genius, the smartest person in the room.”
Obviously it is only because of Divine Providence, that at this moment of existential crisis, that our Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, is here as President of the United States. He saved the economy once, he will do it again. He saved the country from the coronavirus. He will take back the country for real Americans. Truly we are blessed that at this moment of existential crisis, we have a President equal to if not superior to Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. And if you don’t believe me, just ask him.
For all his talk about having the greatest first year if a President ever,
For all his talk about having the greatest first two years of a President ever,
For all his talk about having done more for black Americans than any President except Lincoln,
He had a legitimate opportunity in the real world to become one of America’s greatest Presidents if only he knew it and was capable of rising to the occasion.
There have been many famous battles in American history, ones of great significance not just to this country but to the world.
These battles reverberated through American history. They helped define who we are as a country and a people.
But I suggest when the future histories of this country are written, one battle above all others will stand out: the battle when America’s greatest warrior took our country back in the Battle of Lafayette Square.
Think of the situation Little Donnee Waney faced. There he was hunkered and bunkered deep in the bowels of the earth. He was trapped in an area no American sees except in movies like White House Down. Outside surrounding the real White House were heavily armed terrorists. There were terrorists by the thousands, terrorists by the tens of thousands, terrorists by the hundreds of thousands. Bonespur Boy had promised he would fight for real Americans. Now the moment of truth had arrived.
Showing no fear, the immature child playing imaginary games where he makes up the rules, rose up out of the earth to vanquish the forces of chaos armed to the teeth prepared to destroy him. Never before in American history had anyone seen such a courageous act as when this President confidently strode across Lafayette Square eyes fixed on his destination – a photo-op in front of a historic church where he would brandish a Bible upside down and destroy those who would destroy him.
Songs will be song.
Stories will be written.
Tales will be told.
Movies will be made.
“The Mouth That Roared.” Coming to a theater near you now that the coronavirus crisis is over and we can sit in theaters once again.
His exploits have complicated the design of the Unpresidential Library. In my original vision, at the entrance to the library would be a statue of him bent over with Stormy Daniels swatting with a copy of Forbes Magazine with him on the cover. The statue would say “I’m kissing my ass. I’m kissing my ass. I’m kissing my ass.” Then the statue changed to one of Little Donnee Disinfectant holding a bottle of disinfectant. Clorox and Lysol would pay big money to ensure their product wasn’t the one the very stable genius was holding. Now, I am thinking the entrance to the Unpresidential Library should have a statue of our Lord and Saviour, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, holding the Bible as the minions of Satan were swept from the land in a confrontation worthy of Armageddon itself. One small step at Lafayette Square, one giant step towards taking back the country.
SHOCK AND AWE BY THE MILITARY
The military reacted in shock and awe at this display of courage and heroism at the Battle of Lafayette Square. They were stunned by this raw display of power. They thought they were just going out to inspect the troops following the inspection of the bunker. They had no idea they were about the witness the greatest act of sheer bravado in the history of the country. They could be seen trembling in awe at what they had witnessed.
When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.
He recognized that this President was trying to do something no President previously had tried to accomplish.
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.
Mattis even went so far as to call for another witch hunt into the Constitutional violations perpetrated by the divider in-chief, unique in the history of this country.
We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.
So moved was Bill Barr that the Attorney General promised to investigate as soon as he completed the exoneration of America’s greatest warrior president from the Russian collusion and Ukranian extortion charges and indicted Obama and Biden.
Mattis even acknowledged that America’s greatest President was one for the ages. He was on par with Abraham Lincoln having devoted his life to the exact same values:
we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite. Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.
These are the very words which have guided our heroic President and genius history scholar all his life. These are the values he comments on endlessly when he is not insulting, mocking, and demeaning people as scum. They are the values that have led him to this great victory. It seems like only yesterday, when Little Donnee Disinfectant was the laughingstock of the world. But now after his televised victory at the Battle of Lafayette Square, he stands tall with Trumpicans. Surely another Red Wave reminiscent of 2018 will sweep Trumpicans to victory in the House, the Senate, and the White House. All the polls show it.
It seems like only yesterday (it was June 2!), when I wrote
And what makes you think the generals will obey a command from the Commander in-chief to send troops into American states to suppress American people?….The American military is not the Department of Justice. The generals are more likely to be loyal to the Constitution than the individual who happens to be President. If Bonespur Boy tries to intimidate the military into playing his game of domination, he may be in for a surprise. Generals are not Trumpican Senators who have sold their soul and will roll over like obedient dogs at whatever whistle he blows, command he issues, or photo-op he desires. Borg to Hong Kong: Resistance Is Futile (Not in America)
Little did I know what was coming!
TRUMPICAN SCOTT JENNINGS INADVERTENTLY SHOWS BIDEN HOW TO WIN
CNN contributor Scott Jennings probably still is a Republican although he toes the Trumpican line. He is an adult who lives in the real world. He ventures off the Fox Reservation to appear on FakeNews outlets. He works very hard at not degenerating to the level of Kellyanne Conway but he has not followed the example of George Conway, George Will, or Rick Wilson in asserting a Republican identity instead of a Trumpican one. As might be expected, Jennings offered a trumpican perspective on the Battle of Lafayette Square. But in so doing he detailed exactly how Joe Biden could leverage that victory into a defining moment for his own presidential campaign. Obviously that was not Jennings’s intent and it is quite possible Biden will let this opportunity slip away.
If it takes a deployment of the US military to do it, because governors and mayors cannot get control of the situation in their jurisdictions, I think the President will find public support for it.
The military may not support it, but Trumpicans will. Jennings admitted his befuddlement with the actions at Lafayette Square and then commented on what Joe Biden could now do to seize the moment.
I was not sure what to make of his march to St. John’s Church across Lafayette Square as I watched it unfold live on Monday. I wish he could have taken one step further and stepped into the church and opened the Bible he held. I wish he had invited faith and civil rights leaders to go there with him. And I wish he would have sat in the front row for a church service aimed at praying for peace, calm and unity.
Churches and Bibles are not props; they are tools for the faithful to spread the Word of God and to unify people around God’s teachings. And churches, perhaps more than any other place, can be powerful places from which to broadcast expressions of sympathy and calm.
Are you listening Joe? The advice of this political operative is to go into the church and have a unity memorial service. There are four former Presidents who are preaching for unity, Democratic and Republican presidents. Invite them to the service. Have them open the Bible and read the passages that helped them through there moments of trauma and despair. Do that for yourself as well. Invite the ex-military generals too who have spoken out against turning cities into battlegrounds. Have the service Jennings says should have been held in the first place.
Listen to what others have said and what you have said.
Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde the Episcopal bishop of Washington who oversees the St. John’s Episcopal Church, said:
[Trump just used a Bible and a church of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said:
We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values. For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
You, Joe Biden said:
The country is crying out for leadership, leadership that can unite us.
You have been given the opportunity to provide that leadership. Have the memorial service for unity that should have been held at St. John’s Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square. Transform the battlefield to a City on Hill. Seize the moment.
P.S. And don’t forget to say “thank you” to Jennings for showing you the way.
The coronavirus has had many non-medical effects on America…and you don’t need a red pill to see them. Think of the talking heads, some of whom receive (and open) these posts. Now we can see your kitchens, your livings rooms, your offices with the required bookcase. Sharp-eyed people or more technically-advanced people can even identify the books on the shelves. We can see men without ties and women without makeup. Will the talking head practices revert to normal once the crisis ceases or will some of the changes become permanent?
With Trumpicans, we have had an opportunity to glimpse their world view from something as simple wearing masks. I doubt if anyone only a few months ago anticipated that masks would become a political issue and part of the culture wars, but they have. Masks serve as a reminder that anything no matter how seemingly innocuous is grist for the culture war mill.
So what can we learn from the Trumpican preference not to wear a mask?
Are Trumpicans Thrill-seekers Who Like to Live on the Edge?
Trumpicans explain their opposition to wearing masks along the lines of: We don’t need the Government telling us what to do. We are free to make our own decisions and decide what risks we want to take. After all, tomorrow, I could get hit by a car.
Part of this explanation is based on the fact Trumpicans don’t get the virus. After three months, they can see who does get infected and dies and who doesn’t. The reality is that Trumpican states and even more so, Trumpican counties, have had a far lower rate of infection and deaths than states and counties that voted Democratic. And if there is a hotspot in a Trumpican area it could be meat plant. That means people who aren’t real Americans anyway. Now the land of Field of Dreams is the state where people at meat plants don’t count unless they are 10% infected or more.
Let’s pursue this idea of taking risks just as we do every day when we could be hit by a car. Automobile accidents are in the 30,000+ fatality range annually. That means in three months, the coronavirus has already tripled the annual deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Do Trumpicans know that? Do they still like the odds?
Do Trumpicans wear seat belts? If so, why?
Do Trumpicans wear helmets on bikes and/or motocycles? If so, why?
Do Trumpican children wear helmets on bikes? If so, why?
Do Trumpicans buckle up on airplanes? If so, why?
At the beginning of his show, Hannity often informs his audience to “buckle up.” What does he mean when he uses that metaphor?
Maybe Trumpicans naturally like to live dangerously and take risks and that separates them from wimpy sissies who wear masks.
Trumpicans Demand Their 007 License to Kill
Even if Trumpicans prefer to live dangerously, do they demand that people around them do so as well?
For example, do Trumpicans support “Drink and Drive”? Do they regard “Don’t Drink and Drive” as an infringement on their rights? Are Trumpicans naturally able to hold their liquor so the restriction need not apply to them? Do they realize that “Don’t Drink and Drive” is not only for their protection as potential drivers?
In other words, “Don’t Drink and Drive” isn’t only about the drunk driver. It’s also about the passengers in the car. It’s also about the people out for a walk who don’t want to be hit a by car. It’s about the people who are out for a jog, a bike ride with a helmet on, or a car ride buckled up, all of whom do not want to be hit by a drunk driver. Is it the position of Trumpicans that not only do they take risks for themselves but that everyone around them has to take the same risks? Do they think their right to drink and drive gives them the right to play Russian roulette with the lives of others?
The same considerations apply to vaccines. Think of how many people today demand the right to play Russian roulette with lives of others including children. Now imagine what will happen if a vaccine for the coronavirus is discovered but Joe Biden is President. How many more people will refuse to be vaccinated as a matter of personal freedom then?
We are at a point now where the wearing versus not wearing a mask will move beyond a political preference to an economic and legal boundary. Retail establishments, government buildings, planes and trains, will have mask-only policies. You want to go to Disneyland, wear a mask. You want to enter a hotel, wear a mask. You want watch a ball game, wear mask or stay home or go to a Trumpican bar. Here is where Trumpicans will sue to demand their right to play Russian roulette with the lives of others, their right to their 007 license to kill.
Vaccinations may mitigate the need for masks. However how will anyone know if the other person has been vaccinated? Will proof of vaccination be required before entering a venue?
Robert E. Lee versus Abraham Lincoln
No matter how poorly the coronavirus has been managed in America, Trumpicans are not going to abandon their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. When the war starting going badly for the Confederacy, did Confederates abandon Lee for Lincoln? Did they shift alliances because of the pending and then actual defeat? No. No matter how many Confederates died, they did not abandon their cause. Still 155 years, Confederates prefer Lee to Lincoln even as they have become Republicans. Confederates have remained loyal to their cause despite the defeat and Trumpicans will remain loyal as well no matter how many Americans die.
How Would Trumpicans Know the Coronavirus War is Going Badly?
Now that we have crossed the 100,000 dead and rising threshold, there is a sense that Trumpicans should realize that the wartime general has done a poor job. How would they know that?
As I have repeatedly said, Trumpicans like mainland Chinese, get their news from one and only one source – the government propaganda outlet. Several weeks ago Fox resumed its normal programming – all Deep State, all the time. The onion was being pulled back layer as one guest mentioned to reveal Obamagate, the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the United States. Each day witnessed more and more of the corrupt actions of the Deep State against Michael Flynn. It was only a matter of time before Durham exposed the whole rotten under belly of American politics.
Where was the coronavirus in all this programming? It was in interviews with the wartime general bragging about what a great job he had done. It was in the criticisms of the unelected Fauci really being part of the Deep State. Why should he have the power to prevent America from being re-opened? It was in praise of heroic Trumpican governors re-opening their states with no ill effects. It was in praise of heroic state legislators trying to force Democratic governors to re-open. It was praise of heroic freedom fighters trying to liberate their state from Democratic rule.
How would Trumpicans know that Americans were still dying?
How would Trumpicans know that Little Donnee Disinfectant was the laughing stock of the world?
How would Trumpicans know that Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea have all done vastly a superior job individually and even collectively in total to the American experience?
How would Trumpicans know that 40,000-plus people arrived from China after the ban and that the virus hitting New York came from Europe where white people live?
The only way our Dear Leader deserves a “10” is in trying to maximize the number of American deaths. But the only Trumpicans who know that are the old people who are the most exposed and are willing to support Biden. And according to the heroic Trumpican Texan Lt. Governor, old people should be willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of an open economy where nobody needs to wear a mask.
Trumpicans still live in an a world where real men don’t wear masks, real Americans don’t die from coronavirus, and their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, is still fighting for them and deserves a “10.” At least they know enough not to actually ingest disinfectant.
“The America We Need” is the title of a two-page editorial in the Sunday Review of the New York Times (April 19, 2020, print). The huge font size of the title and the location on pages 2-3 of the section deliver a message of importance that is diminished in the digital format. Although the editorial doesn’t include the word “leadership” in the title, much of it is about leadership during crises in American history. As one might expect, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt figure prominently in the discussion. Obviously their examples as well as Lincoln’s Memorial have been in the news a lot lately.
One prominent name was missing: George Washington. It is easy to overlook his importance and fail to recognize that if he had not been the leader he was there would have been no Union for Lincoln to save and none for Roosevelt to rescue and protect. Truly Washington was “the indispensable man.” Regardless of the French military contribution to American success in winning the American Revolution, the likelihood is that no other person could have kept the former colonies now states together for France to aid. Similarly without him as the expected first president, who knows if the delegates ever would have forged a compromise that constituted us as a country. It is not just the selection of the capital city site that now bears his name that kept the states together. They forged the country with a sense with the awareness that he was there to lead them. Finally, once he did lead the country, he established routines that minimized the possibility that the American President would be above the law or have the right to do whatever he wanted.
Turning to Lincoln and Roosevelt, there are some critical points to consider especially now that they have been abandoned.
1. The belief in a strong American role in human history and the global arena
2. The belief in allies and not zero-sum relationships except against actual enemies
3. The importance of home, education, and infrastructure
4. The recognition that not all Americans were sons and daughters of the American Revolution but that people who were Americans by choice stood as one with those who were sons and daughters.
They read. They were interested in history. They were capable of growth. They lived in the real world.
The opening line of the editorial is:
From some of its darkest hours, the United States has emerged stronger and more resilient.
The closing lines are:
The United States has a chance to emerge from this latest crisis as a stronger nation, more just, more free and more resilient. We must seize the opportunity.
“Chance” is not a strong expression of hope and confidence. It is not a ringing endorsement of the idea that we will emerge “more just, more free and more resilient.” It is a recognition that we might not. The last sentence in the editorial with its imperative action highlights the urgency. The editorial mentions the current President but almost in passing:
After criticizing the actions of the “White House” regarding the procurement of the necessary medical supplies and equipment, the editorial backs into denigrating the wartime President. Because of “Trump’s feckless leadership and the tattered condition of the government he heads” bad things are happening, bad things to use the sophisticated analytical terms preferred by the President. Almost hidden in the editorial is the call that “the country is burdened with weak leadership. There is an upcoming “chance” to replace that leadership as was done in the elections of Lincoln and Roosevelt. For an editorial entitled “The America We Need,” these uses of “chance’ poorly reflect on the “fierce urgency of now” that faces We the People.
Can a bro from Queens provide adult leadership to America?
Leadership We Need Not Just in New York State
You are living a moment in history. This is going to be one of those moments they’re going to write and they are going to talk about for generations. This is a moment that is going to change this nation. This is a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people. … Ten years from now, you’ll be talking about today to your children or your grandchildren and you will shed a tear because you remember the lives lost. You’ll remember the faces and you’ll remember the names and you’ll remember how hard we worked and that we still lost loved ones. … But, you will also be proud. You’ll be proud of what you did. You will be proud that you showed up. You showed up when other people played it safe, you had the courage to show up. You had the skill and professionalism to make a difference and save lives. That’s what you will have done.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, to the National Guard, March 27, 2020
Leadership We Have
Now consider the words of the National Tweet in-chief.
In a Twitter message on May 4, 2020, on George W. Bush’s three-minute call for national unity video the day before: “(W)here was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside. He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history.”
In a later Twitter re-tweet from a Trumpican: “Evidence has surfaced that Barack Obama was the one running the Russian hoax.”
At a press conference after being informed that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had just issued a report expressing the conclusion that the coronavirus was not man-made, the wartime President twice asked for the name of the person who had issued the report that contradicted what he had just said. Gosh, what do think was going to happen to her while no one was looking?
What can be learn from these recent incidents?
1. The wartime President is the first President in the last century who can’t and doesn’t want to consult past presidents in a time of crisis. He constantly berates and belittles them with no awareness that future American Presidents will be even more brutal about him.
2. It’s always about him. No surprise there.
3. His simple-mindedness was on display. He always reverts to being the seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb- aleck because that who he really is. Notice he didn’t simply castigate Bush for not being loyal during the attempted extortion of the Ukraine – it was “the greatest” hoax in the entirety of American history. Here he combines his simple-mindedness with his ignorance.
How many hoaxes in American history can he even name that don’t involve him? The odds are in the Trumpican universe the claim is correct since the only other hoax he can name is the Russian one. Even if he used the term in reference to other events can he name them?
Notice also the use of the superlative. His simplemindedness operates on a binary basis. There is no nuance or in-between. It is all or nothing.
The worst trade deal ever… [How many does he even know about?]
The worst presidential campaign ever… [How many does he even know about?]
The worst Secretary of State ever… [How many does he even know about?]
The absolute worst Speaker of the House in United States history/maybe the worst speaker in the history of our country… [How many does he even know about?]
The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on our country (impeachment)… [How many does he even know about?]
I am greeted with a hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen…I believe I am treated worse than Lincoln.
The pattern should be obvious. The historically-ignorant immature child only knows about 1 or 2 examples at the most anyway in each category. In his universe, the accusations may be true! Don’t judge him by adult standards as if he is knowledgeable about American history.
Real Men Don’t Cry
Our immature child President brings other characteristics to his leadership.
“When I see a man cry I view it as a weakness. The last time I cried was when I was a baby.” (People magazine 2015)
No sympathy. No empathy. No mask. Real men don’t get coronavirus.
Fox is Bonespur Boy’s Westworld: a fantasy realm where the President can be the man he wants to be rather than the man he is (David Plouffe as told to Maureen Dowd, NYT March 6, 2020, print)
“He seems psychologically incapable of dealing with a virus that is complex and uncertain. The virus will be in every community and needs truth, honesty and intelligence ⸺ all absent from the unstable Trump, who at his core is a frightened boy and pretender.” (Maureen Dowd, NYT March 6, 2020, print)
Exactly right. That’s what happens when an immature child is forced to operate in the adult world and is out of his league.
“At a time of crisis, America is led by a whiny childlike man whose ego is too fragile to let him concede ever having made any kind of error.” (Paul Krugman, NYT, May 5, 2020, print)
Almost right. He is not “childlike,” he actually has the brain of a child. Check his brain scans. Talk to a child psychiatrist.
The stress on functioning in the adult world is too much for the immature child. It has become too difficult for him to make up imaginary rules that work even in his own mind. So what can Donnee Disinfectant do? Declare game over, muzzle the Time magazine Person of the Year, and start a new game of economic recovery. Because in his world, even a death toll of 3,000 Americans/day is acceptable as long as he thinks it will mean he is re-elected and maintains his immunity from jail.
Soon it will be May 25, Victory over Coronavirus Day.
I truly do believe that if we all continue to do that kind of social distancing and other guidance broadly from federal and state officials, that we’re going to put this coronavirus in the past. I believe by early June we’re going to see our nation largely past this epidemic. I think honestly, if you look at the trends today, that I think by Memorial Day weekend we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us. (The most pathetic Vice President in American history on Geraldo Rivera’s radio talk show, May 1, 2020)
Are you ready? Start making your celebration plans to party now.
Measuring His Performance: The Target Dates
April 2011: Birtherism – reveal Hawaii findings on Obama soon: STILL WAITING
October 2016: sue all his women accusers after the campaign: STILL WAITING
May 25 2020: celebrate the victory over the coronavirus: in 19 days!!!!!!!
June 2020: Back to Normal
July 2020: We’re rockin’ now
Fall 2020: Deep State Indicted
Fall 2020: Deep State proves China responsible for coronavirus
January 20, 2021: Arrested by New York, spends night at Rikers.
If Mike Pence were President, how many more Americans would be alive today? The “what if” counterfactual has a special niche within historical thinking. It may be best known from science fiction for history scholars also engage in it. The time travel stories are a way to “fix” a wrong which had occurred. The result is a better timeline. In practice, such stories typically end with failure in that the past cannot be changed…or if it is changed, it is for the worse due to the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Still, it can be fun to stretch one’s mind and consider a different future. In the very popular podcast Ben Franklin’s World about early American history, host Liz Covart ends her interviews with guest scholars with what she calls the “fun part” of the show: she asks the interviewee to comment on what if something had happened differently in the topic they are discussing. It is not unusual for the guest to conclude that the change proposed by Covart might have made a difference in the short run, but in long term, the greater momentum of history would have prevailed. I wonder.
In America, two counterfactuals loom large. First, suppose John Kennedy had not been assassinated, what would have happened specifically in Vietnam? Would Kennedy have followed the route Lyndon Johnson took? Less frequently is it asked, “Would the Civil Rights Bill have passed?”
The second one involves Abraham Lincoln. I grew up on the Twilight Zone episode Back There and Superboy’s attempt to prevent the assassination of Lincoln through time travel. Those efforts failed. If Lincoln had lived, sooner or later would the Confederacy have returned to power as in some ways it still is today? After all, after World War II, wasn’t the great hero whose words we keep hearing during the present crisis dumped from office in England?
Assassinations make for better “what ifs” than more general questions. An assassination may fail as it did with Ronald Reagan. So it is easy to contemplate a different scenario with Lincoln and Kennedy. The possibility of failed assassination attempt is very believable. Similarly, it is just as believable with Reagan to imagine a successful one. Very little needs to change for those moments to have ended up differently.
Bigger events are more problematical. For example, during the Covid-19 crisis, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth has been shown as a TV series on HBO. It is about an alternate America where Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. He then steers America towards a more accommodating relationship with Hitler than Roosevelt pursued. This counterfactual is less convincing. Here the change is not a matter of a bullet being moved a fraction of inch. Instead it requires a change in the American populace whereby such a person could have first become a viable national candidate and then triumph. That change moves the alternate reality to not totally farfetched but not quite believable either. It’s a really big change.
So it would be if the Senate had voted a President out of office and made Mike Pence the new President. Still, given all that has happened since February –– ONLY FEBRUARY? REMEMBER WHEN WHAT JOHN BOLTON WOULD SAY WAS IMPORTANT? THAT WAS IN FEBRUARY….OF THIS YEAR?! FEBRUARY! WAS IT REALLY ONLY FEBRUARY! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?
If only there weren’t a Trumpican majority in the Senate, think how different America would be today.
If only Mitt Romney hadn’t been the one Republican in the Senate, think how different America would be today.
If only the Senate hadn’t gambled that what harm could the ignorant inept immature President do, think how different America would be today.
Did we lose that gamble or would the events have been the same if Mike Pence had become President then?
This time we have hard-based scientific evidence that the situation could have been different. We know that social distancing and lock-downs work. It is possible to examine the dates of when cities in the United States (like New York) and cities throughout the world commenced a lock down. The numbers aren’t hidden figures. They are visible in plain sight. We know that the earlier these actions were taken, the fewer deaths there would have been and would be. The same applies to the states. It is possible to examine the numbers from the 50 states and observe how many lives would have been saved if a state had acted a day earlier, two days earlier, a week earlier, or two weeks earlier. We know with different national leadership fewer Americans would have died and the economy wouldn’t have collapsed as much.
Would Mike Pence have acted faster to implement what we know to be the successful way to curtail the spread of Covid-19?
Would Mike Pence have ignored all the warnings about the pending crisis?
Would Mike Pence have prevented a cruise ship from docking in order to keep the number of infections down in his country?
Would Mike Pence have claimed there were only 15 infected people and the number would soon be zero?
Would Mike Pence have said everything was under control?
Would Mike Pence have promoted hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer”?
Would Mike Pence have targeted Easter Sunday and then May 1 as dates when the country could be reopened?
Would Mike Pence have asserted his royal powers to do what he wants because the President calls the shots even if he is not responsible because the buck does not stop with him unless you are staying at one of his properties?
Would Mike Pence have conducted disorganized press conferences full of dishonesty and ignorance?
Would Mike Pence have used the press conferences as political rallies where he exults in insulting people?
Would Mike Pence have contradicted the scientific evidence about the possible return of Covid-19 in the fall or next year (assuming it ever disappears in the first place)?
Would Mike Pence have banished scientists who contradicted him or who have better ratings than he has? Ratings for honesty. Ratings for competence. Ratings for trustworthiness.
Would Mike Pence have suggested the ingestion of disinfectants should be investigated?
It is really not so difficult to imagine a different scenario being played out. The evidence is right there before us. We have the numbers. We have the multiple examples from the different cities, states, and countries. When the Unpresidential Library is built, an entire room will be dedicated to the failure of Donny Disinfectant to guide the ship of state through the turbulent wave of infection that washed over our country. Students of all ages and scholars, too, will debate the issue of the price America has paid because Mike Pence did not become President in February 2020. We the People will wonder what if we had had an adult in the White House instead of Donald Trump, the singularly most incompetent, inept, ignorant, and immature president in American history. How many more tens of thousands of Americans might be alive today if only Mike Pence had been President? On Election Day, we will have the opportunity to vote on whether we would have been off if Mike Pence had been President.
P.S. The previous post on Post-Trumpatic Stress Disorder: Is There A Cure? needs to be amended. If the Senate had voted to remove the President, would he have complied? Based on his words, he would have brought the matter to HIS Supreme Court to squash this hoax. Therefore additional requirements to prevent a re-occurrence of Trumpatic Stress Disorder are needed.
Congress shall have the authority to enforce subpoenas through the Sergeant at Arms seizing people who choose not to comply.
Congress shall have the authority to hold subpoenaed people in custody during their testimony.
Congress shall have the authority to indict people who are in violation of their subpoena or who fail to cooperate with the investigation.
Congress shall have authority over the Secret Service in cases where the President has been voted out of office by the Senate.
We are not the UNITED States. We are the DISUNITED STATES. We were when we were constituted. We were when we fought the Civil War. We were when we celebrated the Civil War Sesquicentennial. And we are now as celebrate the American Revolution 250th. One can make the case that during World War II we were a united people but beyond that specific time period, the issue is more problematic.
Lincoln’s advice that a “house divided can not stand” is correct but inappropriate. We are not a house but two houses. The recent and ongoing developments with COVID-19 illustrate what was known beforehand but is now more obvious. The battle to re-open states versus social distancing in states is an expression of that divide.
The maps used on the news shows to show the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting deaths are deceptive. It is not that they are wrong [although the numbers infected and dead due to COVID-19 are likely to be higher]. They are deceptive because the virus does not occur at a state level. State maps are fine for state events – Electoral College vote, Senate and Governor elections, lockdowns and Medicaid expansion. They paint a deceptive picture for the virus.
WE WOULD BE BETTER SERVED POLITICALLY IF THE COVID-19 MAPS WERE AT THE CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL RATHER THAN AT THE STATE LEVEL.
To understand how the virus is playing out politically, we need to look at maps that better reflect the political reality. As best as I can tell simply by observing the maps and without any detailed analysis, I suspect there is a high correlation between high COVID-19 outbreak and the congressional districts that voted Democratic and low COVID-19 outbreak and the congressional districts that voted Trumpican in 2016. Similarly, this correlation would match the congressional districts that want to re-open the economy now and those that don’t.
THE EXPERTS WERE WRONG
Remember when Angela Merkel predicted a 70% infection in Germany? Remember when America was going to hit with a 75% infection rate? You don’t hear numbers like that anymore. Even a 1% rate of infection or approximately 3.3 million [less if children are excluded] is still significantly higher than the current infection rate although still attainable.
So what happened? How did the rate drop so precipitously? To a non-medical person like me the decline of such magnitude suggests the early models were incorrect. Rather than attribute the substantial decline to stay at home and social distancing, it may also be that the ease of infection was not what was originally forecast. Certainly if you are in close proximity to an infected person for an extended period of time – prison, nursing home, Spring Break, Mardi Gras, family event, conference – then the infection rate is high; less so than if you pass someone on a sidewalk or supermarket aisle for only a moment. Regardless of the reason, I think the American people are entitled to an explanation of why the original epidemic infection rates seem to have been so wrong.
There are unexpected consequences to the projected numbers being reduced so substantially. It undermines the credibility of the experts who originally predicted such catastrophic numbers. At the moment, the number dead due to CORVID-19 is roughly comparable to the annual dead due to the flu. That number will increase and doesn’t take into account the mitigation actions. Still it enables people of certain mindset to compare the death totals from human-based actions – suicide, murder, car accidents, drug overdoses/opioid-deaths – none of which required the closing down the country – to a contagion like CORVID-19. The result strengthens the views of the anti-vaccine/no climate change/anti-science/anti-expert/anti-elitist sector of the American population (see Darwin and COVID-19: Science in America).
The disease to which COVID-19 should be compared is not the annual flu or the Spanish flu of 1918 but AIDS (see The Coronavirus Is Not AIDS: Do Trumpicans Know That?). I mention this again not in a medical sense but a political one. Who are the people who are dying as a result of COVID-19? We now have a population sample of over 30,000 people from which to draw conclusions.
Real Americans in a Trumpian world are not dying in droves or even in significant numbers at this time As with AIDS, COVID-19 seems targeted in whom it strikes. But whereas AIDS required specific actions for the disease to be transmitted, COVID-19 can strike anyone anywhere. However in practice, it only seems to strike some people in some locations.
Prior conditions weakens the body and makes it more susceptible to infections. In and of itself, that observation is not new or surprising. People in a weakened condition are by definition more at risk. People with hypertension or diabetes are different from people who don’t have these conditions. People who have less adequate to medical care and who are in poorer health are more at risk. That means poor people concentrated in urban areas are more at risk…even more at risk than poor people in rural areas who live further apart. In general terms that means black people and immigrants say in Elmont, Queens, the neighborhood epicenter in the borough epicenter or the city epicenter of the state epicenter of COVID-19 in the DISUNITED STATES.
Politically, people who are not being infected in significant numbers after six weeks are being asked to care about people who are. They have lost their jobs, their savings, their businesses, their way of life even though so far they are no more at risk for being infected COVID-19 than they are by the annual flu. And they are being asked to care about people they did not care about even before the epidemic.
Think of the difference in the attitude towards New York. 9/11 was an attack on the whole country; COVID-19 isn’t. As mentioned above, World War II was a time of national unity; now the World War II generation is collateral damage – old people die. Why not play Russian roulette with the lives of people you don’t care about? After all, what happens in New York stays in New York.
THE QUEENS BROS
The examples of the two Queens bros reflects this divide in the DISUNITED STATES. Andy Cuomo, Governor of New York State, has become the national face and voice of the people who have been infected by COVID-19. With his daughter having been self-quarantined and his brother now infected, Cuomo presents a personal side to the epidemic in addition to his responsibilities as the chief executive of the hardest hit state in the country. His ratings are high and it is quite reasonable to speculate that if the presidential election was next year, he would be the Democratic nominee.
How popular do you think Cuomo is with Trumpicans?
The other Queens bro abandoned Queens and New York for Florida where he now makes his legal residence. Ignorant as he is, he sensed that the United States was and is a divided country. He sensed that many Americans felt the same snub and putdown by elitists that he had when the Manhattan elite refused to recognize him as anything more than a narcissistic sleazeball real estate promoter who failed repeatedly.. He sensed that there was a political opportunity that he could exploit for his own advantage. He sensed that there was no benefit to trying to be the President of all America, of We the People America, of e pluribus unum America. Instead he picked a side and strove only to reach out to his people and not to those people.
It worked. As long as he is defending real Americans from those people, Trumpicans don’t care what else he might do…even if it is to make rich people richer and undermine America’s position in the world. All the shortcomings of his leadership in January to March in the COVID-19 epidemic (see New York Times Investigates the Brain of Donald Trump: President Has a Hissy Fit) are irrelevant as long as he sticks with his primary responsibility. He is their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. But Trumpicans did not vote for him so they could lose their jobs, their businesses, their savings, and their way of life so he could help those people.
The issue of re-opening versus safety first is part of the culture wars, it is part of the Third Civil War. What may be a 9/11 or 12/7 in Democratic congressional districts is Fort Sumter in Trumpican congressional districts. We have seen Trumpican/Confederates marching in Michigan. We have heard Laura and Rush and Fox call for putting real Americans first now. We have heard sheriffs vowing civil disobedience rather than enforce restrictions on the right of American people to be free (see the Twilight Zone episode The Old Man in the Cave). As the weather improves and summer is upon us, the call to be able to move freely about the country and with each other will rise.
COVID-19 may do what collusion with Russia, attempted extortion in the Ukraine, and the sheer incompetence of the ignorant and immature President did not accomplish. It may turn Trumpicans against their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. The bully has backed down to the governors and his feeble efforts at the bully pulpit are laughable. The more Trumpicans protest the restriction and the less their leader does to remove them despite the daily calls from Rush and Fox, the more Trumpicans may abandoned their savior who failed them in their moment of need. This is the first time in this administration when the desires of the Trumpicans and their savior may widely diverge. If he tells them to obey their governors, will they? If he doesn’t eliminate the restrictions and save their jobs, businesses, and way of life, will they still vote for him? If they start dying in droves because no area is safe and no state immune, will they see the light?
I have just learned that the wartime general has called for the liberation of Minnesota and Michigan. How far he will pursue this war remains to be determined. Fox will continually push him to assert his royal powers under Article 2. It is reasonable to predict that as the weather heats up so will the culture wars. COVID-19 will change the way America’s third Civil War will be fought.
When Esau and Jacob emerged from the womb there already was a struggle just as there was between the two houses of America at its birth. Whether the bros will follow the path of Isaac and Ishmael or Cain and Abel is now being determined. It will be the basis, often unstated, of the 2020 elections. Bonespur Boy will not be able to satisfy both the Trumpicans and the governors nor can the world’s worst negotiator mediate a settlement. What will he do? What will the American people do on Election Day (and by mail before then)?
2019 marked the 400th anniversary of the slavery of Africans in the British American colonies. A Federal commission was created in recognition of this event. The commission did not develop a national presence. Instead of leading a discussion on the event, it was confined to some local events in Virginia where the landing had occurred.
At the national level the most significant voice was that of The New York Times. The Sunday Magazine on August 18, the approximate anniversary date, was dedicated to The 1619 Project. According to a subsequent blurb, the issue sold out and additional copies were printed. A related podcast series was the most downloaded podcast in the United States. The Project has been turned into school curriculum with more than 3000 teachers saying they are using it. Copies were sent to over 500 schools in 91 cities and towns in 30 states. Over 200,000 free copies have been distributed to schools, libraries, museums and for various events. There is a book project underway.
All in all it is safe to say that The 1619 Project of The New York Times is a big deal. So what’s the problem?
A HISTORY COMMUNITY REACTION
There was a reaction of a different sort as well to this publication. Phillip W. Magness of The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) is maintaining a database of these responses at The 1619 Project Debate: A Bibliography last updated January 3, 2020. It would be a project in and of itself simply to report on these critiques. A great deal of attention in them is directed against the opening historical narrative written by Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times entitled “The Idea of America” (this title does not appear in the print edition). She had suggested the creation of a dedicated issue on 1619 at a staff meeting in January, 2019. She then invited 18 scholars and historians to a meeting at The New York Times for a brain storming session.
THE EDITOR’S NOTE
In this blog instead of analyzing her historical narrative or the responses to it, I will focus my comments on the six-paragraph Editor’s Note by Jake Silverstein at the beginning of the Sunday Magazine. He also is the person who responded in December to the Letter to the Editor signed by five historians who were critical of certain parts of the project.
The two-page Editor’s Note begins with “1619.” in huge print spread across the pages. The opening lines are:
1619 is not a year that most Americans know as a notable date in our country’s history. Those who do are at most a tiny fraction of those who can tell you that 1776 is the year of our nation’s birth. What if, however, we were to tell you that the moment that the country’s defining contradictions first came into the world was in late August of 1619?
The claim is certainly an audacious one. It announces that the true birthday of the country should be celebrated when slavery began here and not with the Declaration of Independence. One may say that Silverstein’s use of the word “contradictions” is a way to claim that it is not the birthday of the nation that is at stake, just its “contradictions.” But then he would be comparing apples to oranges since the opening sentence specifically refers to “our nation’s birth.” The implication is that our true birth is in the contradictions and not in the declaring of our independence.
THE EDITOR’S NOTE VERSUS THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE
Still in the opening paragraph, Silverstein writes:
Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years.
I am not sure precisely what is meant by 250 years or 1869 as the concluding date. The 14th Amendment on citizenship and rights was ratified in 1868 so perhaps that is the 250th year. The number is significant as we are beginning the 250th anniversary celebration of America’s birthday in 1776. The Boston Massacre, for example, occurred in 1770, so in Massachusetts it will start this year.
Be that as it may, the impression conveyed by the text is that for 250 years the British colonies and American states had slavery. Why 250 years? Consider for example the separate section of The 1619 Project prepared by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture with Caitlin Roper, editorial director. In that section a full page is given to a quotation from Frederick Douglass expressing “the outburst of joy and thanksgiving that rent the air when the lightning brought to us the Emancipation Proclamation.” That document was proclaimed on January 1, 1863. The Smithsonian section contains no such expression of joy on the 250th anniversary exclaimed in the Sunday Magazine.
Regardless of whether one uses 244 years or 250, it is a false message. Not even all the colonies had been founded by 1619. Outside of Virginia, no colony/state had a 250 system of slavery even assuming 1868 is the date for the end of slavery. For that matter many northern states had outlawed slavery decades earlier. Consider again the Smithsonian section. There is a box there entitled “She Sued for Her Freedom.” It tells of Mumm Bett suing for her freedom under the new Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Her husband had died fighting in the American Revolution. Now she argued that slavery violated the rights enunciated in that document. She won and changed her name to Elizabeth Freeman. The Smithsonian concludes that item with:
Her precedent-setting case helped to effectively bring an end to slavery in Massachusetts.
This action occurred long before the 250-year period touted in the Sunday Magazine. Again, the Smithsonian section undermines the message of the Sunday Magazine.
In addition, other states were founded as free states and never had slavery. The intention to depict that all America had slavery and for 250 years is deceptive at best and outright wrong.
VIRGINIA VERSUS NEW AMSTERDAM
Furthermore, the characterization of slavery as a “barbaric system of chattel slavery” also is false. Northern European countries like England and the Netherlands had no or little familiarity with slavery. The legal codes of these countries could handle serfs but slavery was new. In New Amsterdam, the Dutch struggled for decades on the legal status of the African slaves. During that time, some Africans became free. Africans could own land did so on a farm adjacent to the farm of Peter Stuyvesant. Africans could join the Dutch Reform Church. Africans could testify in court. Africans could initiate law suits. The numbers involved were comparatively small at this time. I suspect that if New Amsterdam had remained Dutch, free Africans would have become more and more like free Dutch and that slavery would have ended long before New York began in 1799 to legally end it, again before the touted 250-year period.
Admittedly, the situation in Virginia differed from that of New Amsterdam given all the plantations. Still it took a while to develop the chattel system referred to. After all, to create a system where 75%-white Sally Hemings is black doesn’t happen overnight. The year after 1619 was not the beginning of Gone-with-the-Wind plantations. Again the Smithsonian section sheds light on the deceptiveness of the Sunday Magazine Editor’s Note. A section entitled “Race Encoded into Law” notes the passage in Virginia in 1662 that essentially defines slaves as commodities. This passage implies it took Virginia about 43 years to render a formal decision in law that slaves were property not people. Hence since Sally Hemings mother was biracial and her mother’s mother was black, she was legally a black slave too.
The point here is no to deny the barbarity of the chattel slavery system but to recognize that it did not spring forth fully formed the day after the landing in 1619 or in all the future colonies that were established. America would have been better served if The New York Times had told the story of how chattel slavery emerged in Virginia over these forty-plus years.
Why is Silverstein seeking to convey a message of a national barbaric system of chattel slavery that lasted 250 years? The answer is simple as he concludes the opening paragraph.
This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin.
The message bluntly put is that We the White People of America were born in America’s original sin. We the White People of America need to repent for this sin. And The New York Times is going to show us the path to redemption.
SLAVERY DOES REQUIRE ANTI-BLACK RACISIM
Silverstein compounds the problem in the opening words of the second paragraph.
Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional…
Slavery does not require anti-black racism. Who knew Spartacus was black? The word “slave” derives from the Latin sclāvus (masculine), sclāva (feminine) from the Slavic peoples who dominated the medieval slave population in Europe. For that matter, why is it even politically correct to use the word “slave” or “enslaved” anyway? Can you say “gypped” or “jewed”? Putting that aside for the moment, there is a huge omission in The 1619 Project. It’s bad enough that Virginia is made the basis for all colonial and American history to the exclusion of what was happening elsewhere, but another gap in the storytelling is Africa itself. Hannah-Jones does mention in passing that the Virginia Africans brought by an English pirate ship were from a Portuguese trading ship that was from Angola, but that’s it.
WHERE’S AFRICA IN THE 1619 PROJECT?
Somehow the Middle Passage doesn’t have a start point. There is a lot of attention on the destination points in the Western Hemisphere. There is a lot of attention on the horrific conditions in the transportation to the Western Hemisphere. But there is minimal to no attention on the start point of that passage. In the (1500 and) 1600s, that means primarily modern Angola. Back then it meant two major kingdoms, Kongo and Ndongo(/Matamba) with a Portuguese colony of Angola named after the founding king of the Ndongo kingdom. The ignorance of the importance of Angola can be seen in the 400th anniversary trip to Africa by the NAACP. Where did they go? To Ghana. Going to Ghana for the 400th anniversary of slavery in Virginia makes about as much sense as going to England to honor Ellis Island immigrants.
The Smithsonian section introduces a slightly different picture. It notes the Romanus Pontifex of 1455 “which affirmed Portugal’s exclusive rights to territories it claimed along the West Africa coast and the trade from those areas.” The Smithsonian quotes from the affirmation that Portugal had the right regarding the people it encountered to “reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.” But it excludes the reference to “Saracens” which was the whole point of the expeditions. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moslems now encircled Europe cutting off access to both Slavs to serve as slaves and trade with Asia. There was the hope among Catholics that they could do an end-around by sailing south around Africa. In 1455, they didn’t know how far the coast extended. The Portuguese would not reach Ghana until the 1470s and Kongo until 1482. It should also be noted that Portugal was not even aware of the Western Hemisphere at this time.
Evidence of these sailings as part of a religious confrontation and not a racial one may be seen in the actions in Kongo. The king of Kongo was baptized in 1491. Missionaries began baptizing Kongolese in droves. Free Kongolese sailed to Lisbon to be educated. Diplomatic correspondence between Kongo and Portugal and the Vatican commenced. One Kongolese married into the royal family approximately 500 years before Meghan Markle. In the 1600’s Ndongo/Matamba entered into extensive relations with the Vatican in its quest to be recognized as a Christian kingdom. Kongo and Ndongo/Matamba were independent countries and represented Catholic outposts in the confrontation with Moslems. At this point in time, slaves were people not property and slavery was not based on anti-black racism.
Same-race slavery in Africa is another omission from The 1619 Project. In the Travel section of The New York Times, Jacqueline Woodson wrote Finding Pain and Joy in Ghana about her trip there as part of the 400th anniversary (December 15, 2019, print). On the Ghana invitation to descendants of which she is one, Woodson writes
In its efforts to bring the African diaspora together, Ghana’s leaders are also hoping to make amends for the complicity of Africans in selling their own people in what would become the trans-Atlantic slave trade….
…I found myself struggling to come to terms with those who worked with white traders to move black bodies into chattel slavery.
The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred…. But the sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time. Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Kongo; the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold. Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts.
The Smithsonian section also mentions Njinga. It focuses on her exploits as a freedom fighter against the Portuguese. There is no mention of her as a slave-owner or slave-trader. There is no mention of her alliance with the Dutch against the Portuguese or of her purchase of guns and ammunition in exchange for slaves. There is no mention of becoming Catholic and trying to create a Catholic kingdom with extensive correspondence with the Vatican. Think also about the 500 miles mentioned by Gates. Now imagine the Tuscarora in Buffalo rounding up captive Indian tribe slaves, marching them to New Amsterdam, and selling them to the Dutch to be transported as slaves elsewhere. But Njinga gets a pass on her slave-owning and slave-trading in her fight against the Portuguese that Thomas Jefferson on a much smaller scale does not get. There was no abolition movement in Angola.
Frederick Douglass commented on this issue of African slave trade as well. With all the fuss about colonization and Abraham Lincoln in The 1619 Project, it is important to remember what Douglass had to say and which should be included in any school curriculum.
Depend upon it, the savage chiefs on the western coast of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage, and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily see and accept our moral and economical ideas, than the slave-traders of Maryland and Virginia. We are, therefore, less inclined to go to Africa to work against the slave-traders, than to stay here to work against it. (“African Civilization Society,” February 1859)
Why should Middle Passage blacks give up their white masters in the United States for the black ones in Africa who willingly, eagerly, and freely sold them to white people in the first place? Wouldn’t that make for a good high school essay topic?
1619 VERSUS 1776: THE BATTLE IS ENGAGED
With this background in mind, let us return to the original issue of replacing 1776 with as 1619 as the birth of the country and revising the school curriculum and national culture accordingly.
The 1619 Project of The New York Times is a direct assault on what Abraham Lincoln accomplished. Prior to him, one said “The United States are a country.” After him, one said as we still do to this very day, “The United States is a country.” It was Lincoln at Gettysburg who redefined America from being a collection of states to being a We the People country. Lincoln deserves credit not just for making Thanksgiving a national holiday for all Americans even if you were not of Pilgrim descent but for redefining July 4th as well. When Lincoln said “Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers…” he knew that not everybody in the audience was a son or daughter of the American Revolution. He asserted that to stand for the Union then was to stand with the Founding Fathers in 1776. That principle has applied to all naturalized Americans since then.
Obviously not all Americans agreed with Lincoln’s vision then nor do they now. Most famously, Robert E. Lee self-identified as a Virginian and not an American. In effect, his Founding Father was John Smith and not the Founding Fathers we know today or who perform in Hamilton.
America at its birth consisted not only of many states but many peoples. There were Africans, Dutch, French Huguenots, German Palatines, Irish Catholics, Scotch Irish, and Sephardic Jews just to mention the main non-English ones. In addition there were English Anglicans, English Pilgrims, English Puritans, and English Quakers. And then there were the multiple Indian nations/peoples who thought of themselves as independent entities in their own right. To create a collective We the People from that mixed multitude was and is no easy task.
How many multi-religious countries were there in 1776 where people of all religions had the same rights?
How many multi-ethnic countries were there in 1776 where all ethnicities had the same rights?
How many multi-racial countries were there in 1776 where all races had the same rights?
The American story of exceptionalism has many points of origin leading to July 4 which did not grow out of 1619.
1607 with John Smith and Pocahontas
1620 with the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving
1624 with the Dutch and the Island at the Center of the World
1630 with the Puritans and the City on a Hill.
All contributed to the story of America. There is no problem with adding 1619 to this list. Indeed, it should be. There is a big problem with deleting those dates and 1776 and replacing them with 1619 as the origin of America or as the basis of “nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional.”
Consider this date which also could be added to the list. The first black to arrive in New Amsterdam was Juan (Jan) Rodriguez in 1613, six years before 1619. He was a free person of Portuguese and African (probably Angolan) descent. He married into a local Lenape tribe. His story then combines multiple races and ethnicities. In October, 2012, the New York City Council enacted legislation to name Broadway from 159th Street to 218th Street in Manhattan after him. The neighborhood today is Dominican so the location is in tribute to Rodriguez’s place of birth. The location is around 120 blocks from The New York Times. So how about making 1613 the new birthday in recognition of the Island at the Center of the World and the expression of e pluribus unum through the life of Juan Rodriguez?
Our country is not defined by race, ethnicity, religion, or a geographic location but by an idea. The Founding Fathers built on the strands that came before them to start to weave multiple peoples into a unity. Abraham Lincoln continued that effort by including people who were not biological sons and daughters of the American Revolution as ideological sons and daughters if they stood with the Union. Irish who sang Yankee Doodle Dandy continued that journey of being included as Americans. Ellis Island immigrants who sang God Bless America continued that journey of being included as Americans. Middle Passage blacks who said “I have an American dream” and helped America land on the moon continued that journey of being included as Americans. The 250th anniversary of the American Revolution provides us with a desperately needed opportunity to continue that journey in the 21st century with many new peoples who are proud to be Americans and celebrate July 4th.
The 1619 Project represents a giant step backward away from continuing that journey. The front page article of today’s New York Times (“Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.”, January 13, 2020) is about the divided history textbooks of our divided nation. The political reporting of the newspaper testifies to the importance of the hostility to the politically correct in the 2016 presidential elections, a far bigger factor than Putin. Now The New York Times has decided to promote and aggravate the division of the country just as our President does at the precise time when we need to heal and unite as We the People. The New York Times has given us a false history that is woke but not helpful. What a wasted opportunity.