A New Nation?
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.
Thus began President Abraham Lincoln’s message to the people gathered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 19, 1863.
The political climate today seems similar to that which preceded the U.S. Civil War. Now, as then, the country was divided. Those groups held irreconcilable opinions. One side saw slavery as a moral issue. The other saw slavery as an economic issue essential to their way of life. One side saw the Federal Government as the ultimate authority. The other believed in States’ Rights.
On December 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. One by one, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee followed South Carolina’s lead. By June 8, 1861, the Confederate States of America was complete. The war had already started in April of 1861 when secessionists fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
Does today’s division reach the level that we saw in 1861? Perhaps. It is certainly moving in that direction.
A Texas legislator has suggested a referendum on succession. Some adherents of the Boogaloo movement are preparing for or seeking to incite a second Civil War. The Wolverine Watchmen threatened to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. When asked to disassociate himself with the militant extreme-right group, The Proud Boys, President Trump told them to “stand back and stand by“.
The extreme-left is not without some guilt. While most adherents to the Antifa movement stress non-violent protest and activism, there are those who believe that violence must be met with violence. While we don’t hear about left-wing conspiracy theory groups as a counter-balance to the right-wing’s QAnon, extreme-left conspiracy theorists do exist. They just aren’t sufficiently organized to form their own “nut case club”.
Three Critical Dates
There are three potential flashpoints:
- January 5, 2021
- January 6, 2021
- January 20, 2021
The results of the Georgia Senatorial election will determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. The regular election in November undercut the broad power base of “Boss Trump”. A win by both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia would cripple the power of “Underboss McConnell”.
A joint session of Congress will meet in the House Chamber at 1 PM EST to count the electoral votes. As President of the Senate, Vice President Pence is expected to preside. According to 3 U.S. Code § 15, a Senator and a Representative can object to any state’s vote count. If the objection conforms to the rules stated in the aforementioned law, it is followed by a separate debate and vote in each chamber of Congress. If both chambers vote for the objection, it will stand. Only 2 such objections have occurred in the past. Both were defeated. Nevertheless, some members of both the House and the Senate are threatening to object to the votes of some of the swing states.
At 12:00 Noon on January 20, 2021, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America. At the conclusion of taking his oath of office, President-elect Biden will become President Biden. At the same time, Donald John Trump’s term of office will end and he will become former President Trump.
Some have suggested that Trump may refuse to leave the White House. If so, he will be considered a trespasser. In the past decade, the Federal Government has had a lot of experience in removing trespassers from the White House. Unfortunately, it probably will not be as funny as this video that’s been making its way around the internet.
If I were Joe Biden, I’d be more concerned that the White House has been thoroughly sterilized before I moved in. By January 20th, The People’s House will have been a Petri dish for COVID-19 for almost 4 months.
Another Cause for Concern
Getting Donald Trump and SARS-Cov-2 out of the White House is trivial in relation to the threat of violence during the month of January. Donald Trump is a conman. He is out to take his followers and the country at large for whatever personal gain he can. Most governmental sycophants are following him either out of fear or to get whatever power and/or wealth they can siphon off of the Trumpist scam. BUT … to many of his followers in the country, he is the leader of their supremacist, separatist, and anti-Constitutional cult. Trump has encouraged his followers to rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6th and “get wild“. To some of them … like the Boogaloo Boys, the Proud Boys, some QAnon conspiracists, etc. …, that is a call to violence. There are some on the extreme left who are more than willing to meet them with violence of their own. We must hope and pray that saner minds prevail.
… The Republican Party may be Imploding.
In the early 1830s, those opposed to President Andrew Jackson’s authoritarian administration … the National Republican Party, the Ant-Masons, and disaffected Democrats … coalesced to form the Whig Party. By the early 1850s, the Whigs began to fracture over the expansion of slavery into the territories. Some Whigs split from the party to form new parties. Some formed coalitions and sub-parties while remaining Whigs. The Republican Party focused on the question of “Slave Power”. The Know-Nothings were a nativist anti-Catholic coalition. Other coalitions formed the “Opposition Party”, the “American Party”, and the “Constitutional Union Party”. By 1860, when the election of the first Republican Party president, Abraham Lincoln, triggered the succession of the Confederate States, the Whig Party ceased to exist.
The Republican Party may be going the way of the Whigs. A portion of the party rank-and-file have become members of Donald Thump’s cult. Some members of both chambers of Congress are politically Trumpists … either because they agree with the President’s support of oligarchy and authoritarianism, or because they live in fear of the dreaded “Trump Tweet”. The rest, led by “Underboss McConnell”, are focused on obstructing anything that might interfere with their political and/or economic power and that of their wealthy supporters.
At the same time, many prominent Republicans are leaving the party and registering as Independents. Steve Schmidt, who was senior campaign strategist and advisor to the presidential campaign of John McCain, has gone so far as to register as a Democrat. He remains conservative and describes himself as a single-issue Democrat … the preservation of the United States as a Constitutional democracy based on the rule of law. Steve believes that the Democrats are the only major political party that retains that belief.
Will the Republican Party survive … or, will it fall to the RINO Trumpists? Will the Republican Party survive … or, will it fall to the extreme right with all of its white-nationalism, conspiracy hawking, militarism, authoritarianism, and anti-Constitutional tendencies? Will Donald John Trump be the last “Republican” president? Will there be a home for right-of-center and moderate conservatives? We shall see.
… Donald Trump Continues to Exploit his Followers.
As President Trump, his cult, and his duplicitous conspirators in Congress continue their treasonous coup attempt, money continues to flow into the Republican National Committee, the Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again joint committees, and “Boss Trump’s” new political action committee, Save America. One month after the election, this latest con had raked in $207.5 million. The large print on the campaign’s website implies that he and his clown car full of lawyers are fighting fraud in the 2020 election. The small print says the the bulk of the money is going to the Save America leadership PAC and the RNC. The PAC has a lot of freedom on how its funds can be spent. There are limits, but if Mr. Trump’s handling of the money in the now defunct Trump Foundation is any example, he will ignore as many of those limits as he thinks he can get away with.
… Americans are Dying.
As I write this, 350,778 of the people in the United States have died from complications of COVID-19. At about the same time that I noted that number. there were 331,982,771 people living in the United States. The ratio between those numbers is 0.00106. The number of people who have died is 0.106% of the current population. That’s 1 person dead for every 947 people. By the time you read this and check the links attached to the death and population numbers, it will be worse than it is now. The SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t care about your politics … or your race … or your gender … or your sexual orientation… or your age … or how rich or poor you are … or how cool or tough you think you are … or how bored you are.
The ONLY thing this or any other virus cares about is that you are a nice warm host it can use to replicate itself and to spread its replicants to other nice warm hosts.
The vaccines exist, but they do nothing until they become vaccinations. The vaccinations have begun, but we are unlikely to have the pandemic under control before late summer or early fall 2021. Until then, we must all do our part. It is absolutely essential that we:
Wear our Masks,
Maintain our Distance … at least 6 Feet Apart,
Wash our Hands,
and practice other forms extreme hygiene.
Feel free to disagree about almost anything else, but to disagree with proper health precautions during a viral pandemic is not only stupid, it borders on criminal. You can spread the virus BEFORE you have any symptoms. You may not even experience any symptoms and still infect others. Do everything you can to protect yourself … to protect those you love … to protect your neighbors … to protect everyone you encounter. If we all work together, we can beat this thing and return to “normal”. Who knows? By the end of the year, we may have learned how to have a better “normal” than we had before meeting SARS-CoV-2.
A “Politically Interesting” Week
This first full week of January 2021 will be especially busy. In accordance with the Constitution, the 117th Congress began on January 3rd and will count and certify the votes of the Electoral College on January 6th. Sandwiched between those regularly scheduled events, the State of Georgia will elect two Senators in a runoff election and, possibly, change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Both the election and the vote count have already generated a lot of contention … and, that could be just the beginning.
Two weeks after the Electoral College vote count and certification, we will swear in our new President and Vice President. Joe Biden will become the oldest President in the history of our country. Kamala Harris will become the first woman, the first black person, and first person of Asian descent in the history of our country to hold the office of Vice President.
The potential for positive change and the risk of tension-induced confrontation are both high.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’re reminded of the Federalist versus Anti-Federalist dispute at the time of our country’s founding.
This sounds a bit reminiscent of what Charles Manson described as a coming race conflict that he called “Helter Skelter“.
Donald Trump’s militant and lunatic fringes remain a danger and will probably continue to be a danger after he is no longer President.
In some cases, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate substitutes for the Vice President in Joint Sessions of Congress. If I were Mike Pence, I’d try to pass the buck to Chuck Grassley. Since Joe Biden will be declared the winner, whoever announces the results will move to or near the top of Trump’s “enemies list”.
The name “Whig” came from comparing “King Andrew” to King George III of England.
Mitch McConnell wins the 2020 award for accumulating the most nicknames. Comedians on TV have called him “Turtleman” for years. I either heard or invented “Underboss McConnell”. He proudly calls himself “The Grim Reaper“. Joe Scarborough has dubbed him “Moscow Mitch”.
The previous oldest President was Donald Trump. The “Pluto in Leo” generation may be trying to prove, “We’re not yet finished with what we started in the 1960s.”
There is no previous holder of this record. Kamala Harris is the first on all 3 counts.