Insurgency and Counterinsurgency….

POSTNOTE Jan. 30, 2021:  On or about Feb. 8, 2021, the Impeachment trial will begin in the U.S. Senate, relating to events including Jan. 6.  The most comprehensive summary on the issue I have thus far seen is this post, filed overnight, Jan. 30.


This post is an invitation to consider where we, as individuals, stand in this divided nation at this point in our history.  Following are several diverse opinions which came to me this month, which I think are worthy of your time to read.  They speak for themselves.  Where do you fit in this big picture?


This chilly morning in Minnesota I elected to do my walk indoors at the nearby community sports center.

This day the normal quarter-mile route was split in two.  Next door was a group of perhaps 30 police practicing.  “Move back” was the tactic being practiced when I walked by the first few times.  It was mindful of the unrest we’ve witnessed recently.  I’m sure it was not a coincidental activity – the recent events at our Capitols have focused on relationships of all sorts and the roles of law enforcement and government in these.

On our walking path, which was fairly crowded partly because of reduced space, four old guys (my age group) sauntered along, abreast, chatting.  All were moving slowly, causing the rest of us to have to go around them.  Envision two cars driving slowly and abreast on one side of a busy four lane highway.  The only alternatives for others are to stay behind the cars, or to pass on the shoulders.  I don’t think it even occurred to the men, all friends, that they were not respectful to the rest of us.  (They did wear masks, which are required.  They didn’t keep social distance.  They were basically oblivious to us.  No one suggested to them they were a problem; we had the luxury of being able to go around them.)

Back home, an e-mail from Jeff included a link to a column in today’s New York Times.  Here is the pdf version: Robert Grenier NYTimes 1/27/21 “How to Defeat America’s Homegrown Insurgency”


Here are the “homegrown” opinions from my inbox in recent days:

1 – from D, Jan 15: I suspect that many, if not most, of the people who attended Trump’s rally on the morning of Jan. 6 were simply there to support him. Among those folks, a certain percentage believed that Trump won the election but “they” stole it from him. They weren’t happy about it, but knew that Biden would take office and they would work to further the Trump agenda and help him retake the White House in 2024.

A smaller, much more dangerous, subset of the rally attendees, were the TRUE true believers. They believed that Trump not only won the election but that he absolutely would continue in office after the inauguration. Further, they believed that they had support from people in congress, the vice president, and law enforcement. All they had to do, they believed, was show up at the capitol and they would be welcomed with open arms. When met with resistance, they were shocked. Kind of like the religious end-of-world predictors who simply cannot believe that the world is still intact after their date certain. A woman who had been maced was incredulous that once she’d forced her way into the capitol, the police maced her. These people feel betrayed and won’t simply go away. No one knows what they do next. Hopefully, they will be marginalized and Republicans who know better will finally put country before self interest and work to repair the damage done by four years of lying incompetence and malevolence.

2 – from KB, Jan 20: Interesting line in the David Ignatius piece you linked in postnote 2:

“But even as the Biden administration attacks the most seditious members of the insurrection, it should consider a tactic that’s quite radical in the current political climate — listening to the other side.”

Immediately after Trump’s surprising 2016 victory there was a lot of talk among the pundits about their collective failure to understand the mood of America and anticipate that result. I wonder if the pundits, or political leaders, have become wiser since then? Listening couldn’t hurt.

Thoughts towards a better world.

3 – from K, Jan 21: Mr. Biden is being naive to think his election can bring unity back to our country.  Half the voters are joyous while half feel betrayed and saddened.  For more than 4 years Dems and their media acolytes have been filled with bigotry, hatred, and spewed vicious verbal venom at Trump and have repeatedly called him an illegal president, setting the stage for the ensuing civil unrest which plagues us today. Remember the “peaceful” ? transfer of power Trump received for 4 years after his election? There is such profound hatred in Dems they even want to silence the 75 million Trump voters and have even mentioned deprogramming them!  Democrats and the media would scream to high heaven if they were purged from all social web sites. So much for free speech!  Notice the liberal ACLU is silent!  Have you noticed since the election the overtly biased media have sidelined their offensive team and have sent in their defensive team?   Several million Americans expect Mr. Biden to screw up our country so bad that the 2022 election will be a retributive bloodbath for Dems, with even many moderate Dems voting to oust many liberal Dem socialists.  With Biden and or the media crowd calling Trump voters thugs, racists, deplorables, white nationalists, and terrorists they now expect unity from Trump voters?!?!?!  In 2020 Trump campaigned TO the people (note his huge crowds), while Biden avoided campaigns and interviews and hid in his basement and let his vengeful friends talk DOWN to Trump voters and engaged mainly in electioneering.  Biden will achieve national unity when pigs fly, or maybe possibly when Dems utter a SINCERE mea culpa to purge their hatred and bigotry for people on the other side of the fence.  The Dems not only have knocked Trump down, they kicked him while down and now want to rub salt in his wounds. This disrespectful bigotry by the left may even cause Trump and his half of the country in 2022 to rise like a Phoenix out of the ashes from the Dem’s dumpster and quell the Dem egotistic power trip.  Please spare me any (usual liberal slay the messenger) response and instead call for a genuine peace treaty and extend an olive branch as kind of mind changing atonement meds to the swamp leftists in an attempt to purge their chronic systemic bigotry, systemic hatred, and systemic intolerance of American citizens who walk along a different path towards a free great productive country, while carefully and thoughtfully avoiding socialistic leg hold traps and the bottomless puddles of liberal quicksand. We can now watch for a rising China and a sinking United States, many more “Made in China” and less “Made in America” products in our stores; more illegal aliens; increasing American employee layoffs; jobs and companies moving to China; more citizen victimization; higher taxes; increasing homelessness; more goofy gender classifications to de-sex or re-sex   the population; higher gasoline prices if even available; continued contempt for American history, and the green light for the destructive cancel culture crowd.  One area which Biden certainly will excel will be in the sheer number of vindictive dystopian bass ackward executive orders he will sign.  Trump built a wall at the southern border to keep out illegal aliens, but Biden built a fence around the Capital Building with 25,000 armed guards to keep out legal American citizens.  For several months Dem mayors and Governors let protestors riot, brutalize police, destroy, burn, and pillage many cities with impunity while police were ordered to stand down.  Anyone arrested went to jails with the revolving door type of Democrat justice. But when Republicans rained on the Dem’s parade police had to arrest as many as possible, take them to jail and throw away the keys. One green goon suggested Iowa corn fields be converted to windmill farms that won’t produce during calm weather, or solar farms that won’t produce at night. Imagine enduring Iowa’s July and August weather without air conditioning when the temp and humidity hover in the high 90’s, also what are we going to eat, tofu, rice, and raw fish produced in non-unionized China wet sweatshops?
PS: Unity may return when Dem’s offer atonement for their incessant uncivil behavior, and promise to govern to the center rather than just for the aspiring Banana Republic leftists.

4 – from L, Jan 22: What an incredibly uplifting [Inauguration] day!!II

…. the Devil is finally gone .  Yet we know  his vestiges will live on… And we need realize that
So sad to say, no family support here. Just so sad. My [family members] supported that devil. I believe it’s all about the dollar, again, so sad to say. Not even discussable…
5 – from JP, Jan 26: So…my thoughts on GOP and Dems and 2022 and 2024
The Republicans are going to have a purge or some type of reckoning. However mainstream media folks seem to think that the moderates/never trumpers/financials will purge the Trumpist/authoritarians from the party.  Personally I think it will be the opposite.
After 30 years of pandering to a narrowing demographic and outright engaging in blatant or mild racism and Christian nationalism….the base of the party is obviously Trumpist.
So the moderates need somewhere to go…do they set up a 3rd party?  Or does Trump set up his Patriot Party and essentially take 70-80 percent of the current GOP with him?
One way or another there has to be a home for that increment … which even with Stacey Abrams increasing diverse turnout… is really a major reason for victories in Georgia and Arizona. (and WI and MI).
This leads next to the Dems… they have their own problem… the progressive Left and the rest of the party.  If the progressive left is allowed to be ascendant, then those GOP moderates and independents may quickly go back to the other side in 2022, 2024.  So, strangely, it stands to reason that hopefully Schumer, etc. understand that [Sens] Manchin and Sinema (yes yes DINOs) have a place in the party.  If they have to run against a fractured GOP , they have chance to win.
So, I say as I said before, do what FDR and others did before, aa) deliver results for the hoi polloi,   bb) succeed with Covd-19  cc) co-opt the Left’s ideas and make them palatable to the middle.
An Example: Universal Health insurance. I saw someone say that it is in fact a capitalist friendly idea…because it enables workers to make upward mobility and advance to new jobs and companies and states without having to worry about insurance.  It also allows entrepreneurs (been there, done that) and small businesses to remove a huge cost and time efficiency consumer from their overhead.  Even big business would benefit from the lower overhead of HR costs……  the main losers are essentially the drug companies and the insurance companies…..and to some extent the big medical service corporations and medical device manufacturers…..that is the 30% $$$ that could be recaptured.
The kicker is making the benefit exceed the cost (new taxes)……
I see this similar problem in messaging with the new “Green Economy”…. by and large when I hear Dem strategists and progressives talk about it they talk about new jobs that will be created.  They sound a lot like the new jobs created in high tech.   And we know where that left the “hillbilly elegy” crowd in the Rust Belt and rural/small towns.  I aint against the Green Economy, but the pie in the sky bit gets a bit tired ……
6 – Jan. 30 from Annelee, who grew up and lived in what became Nazi Germany (1926 till 1947), and is now 94, and very troubled by recent events in her long time home in Minnesota.  Here is a letter received from her today, shared with her permission: Annelee Jan 30 2021
POSTNOTE, comment from Dick:   Most of my career was in labor relations as a Union staff person in a collective bargaining and grievance processing position.
My experience taught me that dispute resolution always was superior to “win-lose”.  It was never perfect; indeed, a good agreement had positives and negatives for both sides.  But even strikes were temporary speed bumps.  Both sides learned from their shared experience.
So, I lobby for deep conversation and compromise always.
In the current division in our country I am not so sure that this will work.   As I mentioned to a friend on the opposing side recently, the Democrats seem to be a more inclusive group; the current “Republicans” (yes, RINO) have an exclusive view.  The distinction is “me” vs “we”; “mine vs ours”; “belief” vs “fact” and on and on.  I articulated my own philosophy on the parties August 1 and 2, 2020, “D’s” and “T’s”.
Succinctly, for many years, the now-T’s have incessantly played hardball, which has reaped what we all are now experiencing: bitterness and division.  Getting back to some equilibrium will probably have to take a hard-ball tack, rather than compromise.  I don’t like saying this, but this is how I see it.  Trump was an ugly teacher and his acolytes will carry on until stopped.

response from Carol to K:

This is in response to K who sadly is oozing with hatred but then blames the Democrats for being haters…
I hated Trump and who he was before he ever won in 2016.  I knew I did not care for presidents who said a female interviewer had “blood coming out of her wherever,” or who bragged about the size of his genitals in a campaign debate.  But I, like many others, did try to give him a grace period.  After all, he assured us he was going to pivot to being “presidential.”  But of course, he hit the ground lying about his inauguration crowd – and never stopped lying.  (I also have a “thing” against being lied to.)
(And I remind K that a number of Republicans have stated that their party leaders, led by McConnell, met in 2008 and agreed to oppose literally everything that President Obama did – before he took office.)
My hatred and alarm only grew as Trump trashed our democratic norms, trashed our foreign alliances, and in fact trashed each and every person who didn’t worship him.  But it wasn’t until AFTER the November election that I fully realized he was either 1) totally evil, or 2) totally insane.  (I think I still haven’t really decided which.  Possibly both?)  I will never forgive him for what he did to me, and my country, over what was already a difficult holiday season because of “social distancing” and the like, with his nonstop tantrums over bogus election claims, recounts and lawsuits.
No, Democrats and the media did not “set the stage for the ensuing civil unrest.”  Trump set his own stage, piece by harmful piece.  Anybody who cannot see that he was totally responsible for the abhorrent Jan. 6th attack on our Capitol – well, they have no eyes.  Daily they are tracking down and arresting participants in that riot who say, “Well, our commander-in-chief TOLD us it was our duty to do it.”  I do think that he overplayed his hand, and only wanted violence in the streets that day so that he could call out “his” militia and hopefully overturn the election.  But this is what happens when you carefully groom and nurture a monster – sometimes they grow bigger than you planned.
Folks like K evidently blame all Democrats for anything one Democrat does or says.  “Deprogramming”?  Come on.  But then they hurry to let us know that they don’t personally support what happened in the Capitol…
Biden won the election fair and square.  Even kids in Little League learn to accept defeat without trying to destroy everything and everybody in their sight.
some factchecking:
“Remember the ‘peaceful’ transfer of power Trump received,” K asks.  Well, yes, in fact I do.  Obama I’m sure was sick at heart that Trump had been elected; however, he and his staff bent over backward to share information and help the incoming administration.  For the good of the country that he loved.  Trump’s administration?  Not so much.  For weeks they stonewalled, not even providing Biden’s team with what he needed during the transfer period.  And I’m pretty sure I saw Barack and Michelle there on Trump’s Inauguration Day, putting on a brave face.  For the good of the country.  (By the time of the Biden’s inauguration, Trump was probably golfing.)
“Trump built a wall at the southern border.”  Actually, no, he didn’t.  Apart from scheduled replacement of wall that was already up, they built a piddling amount.  “Biden built a fence around the Capital[sic] Building.”  Actually, no, the fence went up before Biden became president…
K says: “For several months Dem mayors and Governors let protestors riot, brutalize police, destroy, burn, and pillage many cities with impunity…”  I’m curious about that.  Could he/she please list those “many cities” that were pillaged for “several months”?  My son lives in South Minneapolis, and the unfortunate riots there after Floyd’s murder lasted three or four days before the National Guard and additional law enforcement that the mayor and governor called in had it under control.
Oh, and as far as “Made in China”?  Does K not know that Biden just decreed that government vehicles would be made in America?
I don’t expect folks like K to ever attempt “unity.” Their buy-in on hatred and lies, unfortunately, is too strong.  Deep down they have to know Trump used them, but will never admit it.  I think it really is a cult.
If they refuse to even care about facts, they should not be surprised when they are disparaged by the other side.  Because if we no longer have a mutual respect for facts and the truth, our country is toast.
1 reply
  1. Mary A Maher
    Mary A Maher says:

    Whose side are you on??

    I believe part of our collective issue is that we are thinking ‘sides’ taking ‘sides’, condemning ‘sides’………etc.

    I asked a friend recently how you could tell someone was on the ‘other side’ and the answer was a mumbled…well, you just know because they ‘read the wrong papers’, ‘listen to the wrong media outlets’, support the wrong causes’.

    Until we remove some degree of judgement call from another persons looks, beliefs, attitudes, aptitudes, strengths weaknesses, relatives, friends, interests, etc. we will remain stuck.

    Practice on the small stuff….the big stuff is really just a collection of the small stuff.

    Does it really matter whose side you are on……..whether you are a pacifist or an extremeist you all start the same and will end the same-be considerate.

    It isn’t called a ‘golden rule’ because of the tarnish.


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