2020 Annus Horribilis

22 12 2020

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

As 2020 draws to a close, many Americans will be thankful that they have survived the Annus Horribilis[2], or the “horrible year” of 2020, one of the worst years in their lives.  China launched its deadly Coronavirus (or COVID-19), which has decimated the United States and other countries globally.[3]  Many of us know people who have died, or have been at “death’s door” before recovering.  Yet, there are reasons to believe that the virus is mutating, and that it may be even more devastating in 2021 and beyond, notwithstanding the presence of one or more vaccines.[4] 

Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—has discussed the schisms in America today, in an article entitled “Can Democracy Hold Us Together?”:

If America were a company and not a country, we would have long ago dissolved the corporation, split the blanket, and gone our separate ways.

What still holds this disputatious and divided people together?

Consider. In announcing the $900 billion stimulus bill to deal with the pandemic, Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not mention that the gifts for her distressed countrymen and women at Christmas would have been twice as large had she taken President Trump’s offer of $1.8 trillion in October.

Why did the speaker slap that offer away?

“The President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” she told House Democrats.

Rather than let Donald Trump take credit, Pelosi stiffed millions of Americans.

Sunday, however, the speaker took time for a statement to hail the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue from Statuary Hall. “Welcome news,” said the speaker. “Congress will continue our work to rid the Capitol of homages to hate.”

Lee had stood in a place of honor in the Capitol for decades. When exactly did the statue of the general become a homage to hate?

Both episodes point up an unpleasant truth.

Our dysfunctional American family agrees upon less and less.

By mid-November, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 52% of Republicans thought Donald Trump had “rightfully won.” Sixty-eight percent of Republicans thought the election was “rigged.” A third of independents, and even 10% of Democrats, agreed.

This month, a Fox poll found that a third of all registered voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, with 78% of those who voted for Trump expressing that view.

In the long term, not only is the election of 2020 going to be suspect. Also, belief in one of the sacraments of secular democracy, universal suffrage, is going to suffer.

Moreover, the issues that divide us now go increasingly to the faith of what defines us as a nation and a people.

A slice of our intellectual elite emphatically agrees with the New York Times’ Project 1619, which decrees that the real birth date of this nation was neither 1776 nor 1789, but the year that the first slave ship arrived in Virginia.

To this influential cohort, enslavement of Black people brought from Africa and dispossession and destruction of the indigenous tribes that European settlers found here are the defining events of our history.

And all who participated in these crimes against humanity or refused to condemn them are undeserving of exaltation.

Not only Lee, but Columbus and Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, TR and Wilson are all racist white men whose disgraceful and even criminal conduct disqualifies them from a place of honor in the American pantheon of 2020. All statues of such men need to come down to cleanse us of the stain of having honored them.

Pelosi says that such statues are “homages to hate.”

She may not have thought so five or 10 years ago, but she believes that now.

What has taken place is a mass conversion.

Yet, there is another America that still cherishes the nation these men created. And, as did their fathers, grandfathers and ancestors, these Americans have shown a willingness to fight and die in her defense.

Thus do we Americans disagree on the most fundamental of issues.

Was America, is America, with all its sins and virtues and all its achievements, a country to be cherished, loved and defended? Or is America a country of whose history we should all be ashamed?

Part of America also believes that discovery in the Constitution of a woman’s right to an abortion and a right of homosexuals to marry were major milestones of progress toward a more moral America.

Others see these as long strides away from the Christian country we used to be, a social and moral decline toward the same quiet death that has come to other civilizations and nations that went before us.

In short, we Americans disagree on whether our country is a good and great nation worth defending, or a place that needs a deep cultural cleansing of its sins.

And we have no common code of morality. One side is rooted in modernism and secularism and the other in the teachings of the Old and New Testament, Christian tradition and a natural law written on the human heart that is superior to man-made law.

People who disagree upon such basic beliefs naturally drift apart, as we Americans are doing today.

Political questions arise out of these fundamental differences, and they are not insignificant.

Can a republic as fractured and splintered as ours is — racially, ethnically, politically, culturally, morally — with a population who do not share the same belief about whether their nation is good and great or failed and evil, endure? And for how long?

What successful models from history do we see of nations that took the kind of risks we are taking with our republic?[5]

The only successful models in American history are our Revolution and our Civil War, both of which resulted in enormous carnage.[6]

Xi Jinping and Coronavirus

© 2020, Timothy D. Naegele

[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and Timothy D. Naegele Resume-20-6-30). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service). Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/articles/), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annus_horribilis (“Annus horribilis“)

[3]  See Timothy D. Naegele, The Coronavirus and Similar Global Issues: How to Address Them, 137 BANKING L. J. 285 (June 2020) (Naegele June 2020) (Timothy D. Naegele) [NOTE: To download The Banking Law Journal article, please click on the link to the left of this note]; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-silent-voices-of-stalin%E2%80%99s-soviet-holocaust-and-mao%E2%80%99s-chinese-holocaust/ (“The Silent Voices Of Stalin’s Soviet Holocaust And Mao’s Chinese Holocaust”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/can-we-coexist-with-asias-communists/ (“Can We Coexist with Asia’s Communists?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/coexistence-with-china-or-war/ (“Coexistence With China Or War?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/the-coronavirus-must-become-chinas-chernobyl-hastening-the-collapse-of-its-evil-regime/ (“The Coronavirus Must Become China’s Chernobyl, Hastening The Collapse Of Its Evil Regime”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/why-should-the-world-trust-china-ever-again/ (“Why Should The World Trust China Ever Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/china-infects-the-world-then-lies-and-blames-america/ (“China Infects The World, Then Lies And Blames America”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/expert-warns-quarantine-process-failed-as-china-stands-ready-to-crash-world-economy/ (“Expert Warns Quarantine Process Failed, As China Stands Ready To Crash World Economy”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/china-is-americas-enemy-and-the-enemy-of-free-people-everywhere/ (“China Is America’s Enemy, And The Enemy Of Free People Everywhere”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”)

[4]  See, e.g., https://news.yahoo.com/were-going-york-l-hospitals-120027340.html (“‘We’re going to be New York’: L.A. hospitals brace for the worst”) and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9068223/Italy-fourth-country-spot-mutated-Covid-virus-British-traveller.html (“Expert warns new mutant Covid will likely become the ‘dominant global strain’ as Gibraltar becomes FIFTH place outside UK to confirm a case”) and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9074371/Scientists-Walter-Reed-examine-new-UK-Super-COVID-strain-vaccine-resistant.html (“US Army scientists at Walter Reed begin examining genetic profile of new UK ‘Super-COVID’ strain to see if it’s vaccine resistant – as deaths in the US increase by 1,618 and new cases rise by 195K”) and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9079119/2020-deadliest-year-history-COVID-19-surges.html (“2020 is the deadliest year in US history with deaths expected to top 3 MILLION for the first time – as COVID-19 fatalities continue surge to record highs with one American dying every 33 seconds in the last week”)

[5] See https://buchanan.org/blog/can-democracy-hold-us-together-142475https://buchanan.org/blog/can-democracy-hold-us-together-142475; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/the-high-tech-lynching-of-donald-trump/ (“The High-Tech Lynching Of Donald Trump”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/the-u-s-supreme-court-must-be-destroyed-as-a-governmental-entity/ (“The U.S. Supreme Court Must Be Destroyed As A Governmental Entity”)

[6] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/this-is-war-abraham-lincoln-and-ronald-reagan-understood-this-and-donald-trump-does-too/ (“This Is War—Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan Understood This, And Donald Trump Does Too”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/24/when-will-the-actual-shooting-begin-in-americas-second-civil-war/ (“When Will The Actual Shooting Begin In America’s Second Civil War?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/americas-newest-civil-war-2017-and-beyond/ (“America’s Newest Civil War: 2017 And Beyond”)



10 responses

22 12 2020
H. Craig Bradley

Our Two Biggest (combined) Future Military Threats

1.China + (North Korea)
2. Russia (Ursus arctos horribilis)

This means maintaining a Military readiness in TWO separate Theaters around the world (including the Middle East ) at a time of crippling Federal budgets and deficits. This might not be possible in the long term. So, increasingly, we are vulnerable to being exploited.


22 12 2020
Timothy D. Naegele

Yes, I agree, Craig, at least in part.

However, the Little Midget (and his sister) are not always controllable by China; and Putinism dies with Putin.

Similarly, unless—miracle of miracles—Donald Trump is reelected and serves a second term, the Democrats (e.g., the haters of our police and military), and their state beneficiary China, will gut our military beyond belief.

Lastly, as I have written many times, the Middle East is not our fight ever again. We are essentially energy independent, and we do not need the region for anything anymore. Let the nations there fight it out, if necessary, and we can stand back see who is still standing when the dust (or nuclear waste) settles.

We were suckered into the tragic Iraq War in which more than 5,000 Americans died and many more were maimed, and trillions of dollars were wasted, for nothing.



22 12 2020
Richard Schultz

Tim, I had to read it twice—but it’s thoughtful and good. Keep at it old man, we need more thinkers like you. RCS


22 12 2020
Timothy D. Naegele

The Great Schultz, thank you. 🙂


23 12 2020

It does appear Americans are heading in opposite directions at a time when we should be pulling together. The world is not a safe nor friendly place.

Robert E. Lee struggled so hard to decide which side he would serve as succession loomed in the U.S. He was determined to be loyal to his home, which was Virginia. This quote from a letter he wrote at the time is applicable to our day as well:

“Mr Buchanan it appears, is to be our next President. I hope he will be able to extinguish fanaticism North & South, & cultivate love for the country & Union, & restore harmony between the different sections.”

He loved his country. Now U.S. history is being shredded in a disingenuous manner to suit the desires of those seeking power today. It’s so easy to look at those living in the 19th century through 21st century lenses and judge them harshly when we would likely have done the same as they had we been living then.

We must remember the Civil War didn’t begin over the issue of slavery alone, but rather the rights of the states to conduct their internal affairs as they saw fit. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued after the war had already started.

Ser https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation

We Americans had better recognize there are actors in the world who would love nothing more than to see America fail. What we need now is someone to come forward who can bring people together.

Liked by 1 person

23 12 2020
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Susan, for your comments as always.

I agree except for two issues. The war was fought over states’ rights, which gave rise to the succession. Second, slavery was not the major issue, although ending it undermined the South’s economic viability.

The industrial North crushed the agrarian South; and the end of slavery destroyed the South’s “free” labor force. Both are depicted in one of the greatest Hollywood films ever made, “Gone with the Wind.”

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea (“Sherman’s March to the Sea”) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind_(film) (“Gone with the Wind (film)”)

Those who have pulled down or defaced our great nation’s statutes and other monuments, and engaged in revisionist history, have also sought a ban of this magnificent film. They are today’s “thought police,” like the Pigs in George Orwell’s prescient “Animal Farm.”

Next, whichever way the election goes, half of the nation will not accept the outcome, or so I believe. I cited Pat Buchanan’s article above because he describes accurately the schism that exists.

Lastly, aside from the great Lincoln, one of the giants of American history is Ulysses S. Grant. His star should shine brightly in the pantheon of our leaders forever.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/ulysses-s-grant-an-american-hero/ (“Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero”)

Liked by 1 person

23 12 2020
H. Craig Bradley


America’s ONLY hope is to rediscover our more traditional values that once served us well and then pull together, first at the local level, then regionally. We need to let go of the notion anyone can effectively bring about positive and lasting political change in Washington, D.C. We need grassroots not top down management/leadership. This will require more than passive citizens who only vote silently every few years and rarely talk about it. The Left is well organized and funded. Only raw numbers can possibly defeat their desire to monopolize the central government to suit their global (elite) purposes.

Passive-Aggressive voters is not near enough individual/group effort to bring about any real change in trend, which is fast accelerating downward economically and politically. The stark national divisions between counties that voted for President Trump (85%) vs. the rest ( most populous counties with the largest cities and located largely near the coasts) may result in regional “secessions”.

The great divide is between counties that abide by the U.S. Constitution vs. all the rest of the jurisdictions which do not follow the tenets of the U.S. Constitution. So, eventually, a shadow government will have to be created with a likeness resembling the original 13 States. Perhaps a smaller Union would be a solution, rather than the current 52 States. The growing social/political differences make the current configuration increasingly ungovernable.

I would even go farther to say the Red States and cities/counties really need to develop their own currencies and break away from the national financial system. ( Harness the movement towards a digital dollar your way). There is no real chance to regain independent governing and sovereignty within the framework of the Federal Reserve (Central ) Banking System any longer.

Big government is now joined at the hip with U.S. Banks. Our largest banks are not among the most solvent or safe globally either. The strongest banks are mostly in Asia today, not in the bankrupt Western Democracies.


23 12 2020
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Craig, for your comments.

First, we have 50 States, not 52.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States (“List of states and territories of the United States”)

Second, Donald Trump has effectively emboldened those grassroots’ organizations already, as he has traveled the country and held rallies attended by his faithful. They are simply waiting for the signal to “go,” and they will surpass anything that Brain Dead Joe and Willie Brown’s ho Kamala have ever done or attempted to do.

The only apt comparisons to the Left might be to the thugs, slugs, hoods and mongrels of “Black Lives Matter,” Antifa and other far-Left rabblerousers that have burned our cities, killed or hurt innocent Americans and our police, and destroyed black and other businesses.

One group, namely Trump’s, is positive, upbeat and patriotic; the other is destructive, nihilistic and frankly evil, like the Pigs in George Orwell’s prescient “Animal Farm.”

And yes too, it involves pitting the cities that I have never liked or believed in, located primarily along the East and Left Coasts, against the rest of America.

. . .

Having grown up in a suburb of Los Angeles, I have contended for years that lots of residents of Southern California have never been to downtown LA. There was no need to do so. Among other things, years ago it was a magnet for smog and other air pollution.

The only things that made a difference were the entertainment venues located in or near downtown LA, such as the Staples Center and Dodgers Stadium. Now, the LA Basin’s premier stadium is located just up the street from LAX, not anywhere near downtown LA.

Also, China’s Coronavirus has changed everything. The lockdowns that will extend well into 2021 and possibly into 2022 have made telecommuting the norm. In major American cities such as New York, office leases are being canceled, which will continue. Indeed, the productivity of those working from home apparently surpasses that of those working from bricks-and-mortar locations in our cities. Why waste hours commuting?

Lastly, why should any American risk his or her well-being by visiting ugly, blighted, crime-ridden cities? San Francisco was my favorite city. I worked there; I was married there; and I always looked forward to being there. But not anymore.

The last time that I was there, I walked another lawyer from the hotel in which we were staying to the BART station so he could catch a flight back to LA. I was in a suit, carrying my laptop, and I felt unsafe.

The tragic death of Kate Steinle will always remain in my consciousness. For years, I have walked Golden Gate Park from the east end to the ocean, and then to the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun set, before getting dinner nearby. With the city’s lawlessness today, I doubt that I will ever feel safe again doing that, which is sad.


23 12 2020

Along the same lines of thought … if you haven’t already, consider reading this 24 page essay entitled “The Fate of Empires” by John Glubb. Glubb enumerates upon the various, highly observable stages regarding the ascension, and, ultimate dissent, of empires that have existed throughout history. Empires typically only last (as in one example after another) approximately 250 years.

Personally, I find Glubb’s observations and conclusions to be very compelling. It is well worth the time to read it, and it’s free. Here is the link to the PDF:



23 12 2020
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ray, as always. How nice to hear from you.

I will add it to my “reading list.” 🙂


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