Bring It On!

30 10 2019

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Some of us have lived through this period of time before.  Only the faces change.  

We were in Berkeley for the “Free Speech” and anti-Vietnam War riots.  We were in Washington, D.C. when the city was set ablaze after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis.  We were there when Watergate broke, and we lived through that too.  We lived with 9/11, and watched Iraq turn into a graveyard for so many Americans and their dreams, while still others were maimed for life, and trillions of dollars were wasted . . . for nothing.[2]

The title of this article is the rallying cry of Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—who has written:

Sunday morning, President Trump announced that the world’s worst terrorist, the head of the ISIS caliphate who had raped an American woman, had received justice.

About to be captured and carried off in a helicopter by U.S. special forces, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up with an explosive vest in a compound in northwest Syria. The long search for the sadist and fanatic had ended in triumph. No U.S. troops were lost.

That evening, Trump went out to the fifth game of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. As his face was flashed on the big screen, the stadium erupted with people booing and chanting, “Impeach Trump!” and “Lock him up!”

That Trump is not cheered at a D.C. baseball game is not odd, for the spectators are not working-class Trumpians. Series tickets cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, and the spectators are drawn from a town that gave Donald Trump 4% of its votes in 2016.

The mutual distrust in this city was on display when Trump told the press yesterday morning that he had not alerted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the impending U.S. raid, because he was afraid of leaks.

“I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” said Trump. “I don’t want to have people lost. … We were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. … A leak could have cost the death of all of them.”

The Russians, however, were alerted we were coming, as they control the airspace over the compound we were targeting. And Trump thanked the Russians for their cooperation.

Also left out of the loop was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, one of the “Gang of Eight” that is almost always given a heads-up about major military operations. Schiff is conducting secret hearings to drum up support for Trump’s impeachment and removal for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

It is imprecise to say this city is divided over Trump. It is rather almost solidly united behind what millions of Middle Americans believe to be a deep state-media conspiracy to overturn the 2016 election and effect a coup d’etat against a president whom this city detests but fears it cannot defeat in 2020.

A week ago, this writer noted the astonishing number of foreign capitals that were on fire with protests that go beyond marching and demonstrating — to riot, rebellion and even revolution. As with the “yellow vest” protests that shut down Paris on many weekends this past year, and the disorders in Hong Kong, the epidemic had spread to Beirut, Barcelona and Santiago, Chile.

In Iraq, over 200 have been killed and thousands injured in protests this month against the Baghdad regime. In Algeria, now six months after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced to step down, rioters still battle the army.

The thread common to these uncivil, often-violent disruptions?

A conviction that the cause the protesters are advancing is so critical, noble and necessary that democratic rules may be dispensed with and law and order suspended in pursuit of the cause.

Saturday’s Washington Post describes the mindset that is taking hold in D.C. among militants, using as an example the Extinction Rebellion group’s dragging of a boat into the street at 16th & K to block traffic for hours to call attention to rising sea levels.

“Blocking traffic may only be the beginning,” wrote Marissa Lang. “As protests in the District continue at a rate of about two a day, activists looking to stand out from crowds that march near the White House or the Mall have resorted to more disruptive measures in recent weeks — a tactic that experts said will probably escalate.”

She cites sociology professor Dana Fisher: “There has been a lot of discussion among people on the left who use protests as a tactic that peaceful, traditional protests may not be enough. … That could mean … more people blocking traffic. … I think we’re going to see a lot more people coming into D.C. to get arrested.”

Fisher continues: “When activists don’t feel like their grievances are being heard or responded to … the natural progression is to get more confrontational and, sometimes, to get more violent. … I’m … surprised it’s taken so long.”

Who wins when leftists go lawless — in liberal citadels like D.C.?

This thinking echoes the famous “bodies upon the gears” speech of Mario Savio at the famous 1964 University of California, Berkeley campus riot: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that … you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!”

After Berkeley came civil disobedience; the burning of ROTC buildings; and urban riots marked by looting, shooting and arson. Out of that came Richard Nixon’s 49-state landslide, Ronald Reagan, and Republican triumphs in five of six presidential elections starting in 1968.

Bring it on.[3]

To those at the stadium in our nation’s capital who booed the President—and chanted, “Impeach Trump!” and “Lock him up!”—they are the dregs of society, without a purpose in life.  Pat Buchanan is right: they are not working-class Americans, but the privileged elite; and they occupy a town that gave Donald Trump only four percent of its votes in 2016.  They do not relate to you and me.  They are like the Hollywood-do-nothings who prance around spouting meaningless platitudes, and feeling entitled.

Trump is right not to trust any Democrats, or those on the far-Left, or their media lackeys—or the RINOs in the Republican Party such as the despicable Mitt Romney.  Yes, lots of us are ashamed that we voted for him and the equally-despicable Paul Ryan and others.[4]  And yes too, Russia’s killer and dictator-for-life Vladimir Putin whom I despise is more trustworthy than the un-American racist anti-Semite Barack Obama and his co-conspirators who have engaged in sedition, such as Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Jerry Nadler.[5] 

A rising number of Americans are understanding, finally, that we are in the midst of this great nation’s second Civil War: a fight for the soul of America, which will determine its destiny for years and generations to come.  Abraham Lincoln stood at a similar precipice, and stared into the abyss, and he destroyed the enemy.  While it took generations to heal, he saved our great Republic.  Had he failed, we might not be one nation today.[6]  Donald Trump is his worthy successor.

 

 

© 2019, 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 https://naegeleblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/timothy-d.-naegele-resume-19-9-27.pdf). 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 can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/the-middle-east-is-not-americas-fight/ (“The Middle East Is Not America’s Fight”)

[3]  See https://buchanan.org/blog/is-democracy-a-dying-species-137638 (“Is Trump Facing a 1960s-Style Revolt?”)

[4]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/24/when-will-the-actual-shooting-begin-in-americas-second-civil-war/#comment-20531 (“The Despicable Mitt Romney Must Be Driven From The GOP”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/the-state-of-our-union-2019/#comment-19656 (“Echoes Of The Despicable John Bolton”)

[5]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/barack-obama-is-responsible-for-americas-tragic-racial-divide/ (“Barack Obama Is Responsible For America’s Tragic Racial Divide”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/should-barack-obama-be-executed-for-treason/ (“Should Barack Obama Be Executed For Treason?”) (see also the extensive comments beneath these three articles) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War”); but see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/edward-w-brooke-is-dead/ (“Edward W. Brooke Is Dead”)

[6]  See, e.g., 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/2019/09/30/impeachment-may-become-the-singular-obsession-in-washington-and-dominate-news-coverage/ (“Impeachment May Become The Singular Obsession In Washington, And Dominate News Coverage”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/ulysses-s-grant-an-american-hero/ (“Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero”)

 

 





Is Democracy A Dying Species?

22 10 2019

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The United States has the purest form of democracy in the world.  Does this mean that it is perfect, and without flaws?  Certainly not.  But we are blessed by our Founders’ inherent wisdom, which has stood the tests of time.  Years ago, I wrote:

I believe in this country, and I believe in Americans of all colors, faiths and backgrounds. The United States is the only true melting pot in the world, with its populace representing a United Nations of the world’s peoples. Yes, we fight and we even discriminate, but when times are tough—like after 9/11—we come together as one nation, which makes this country so great and special. Also, all of us or our ancestors came here from somewhere else. Even the American Indians are descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait—or the “Bering land bridge”—according to anthropologists.[2]

Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—has asked the question that is the title of this article:

What happens when democracy fails to deliver? What happens when people give up on democracy?

What happens when a majority or militant minority decide that the constitutional rights of free speech, free elections, peaceful assembly and petition are inadequate and take to the streets to force democracy to submit to their demands?

Our world may be about to find out.

Chile is the most stable and prosperous country in Latin America.

Yet when its capital, Santiago, recently raised subway fares by 5%, thousands poured into the streets. Rioting, looting, arson followed. The Metro system was utterly trashed. Police were assaulted. People died. The rioting spread to six other cities. Troops were called out.

President a Sebastian Pinera repealed the fare hike and declared a national emergency, stating, “Chile is at war against a powerful, implacable enemy who does not respect anything or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits.”

How does a democracy that has spawned within itself a powerful and implacable enemy deal with it?

Last week, tens of thousands of Lebanese of all faiths and political associations rioted in Beirut and Tripoli to demand the overthrow of the regime and the ouster of its president, speaker of parliament and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. All must go, the masses demand.

In Barcelona, Friday, half a million people surged into the streets in protest after the sentencing in Madrid of the secessionists who sought to bring about the independence of Catalonia from Spain in 2017.

In all of China, few enjoy the freedoms of the 7 million in Hong Kong. Yet, for five months, these fortunate and free Chinese, to protest a proposal that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China, stormed into the streets to defy the regime and denounce the conditions under which they live.

These protests have been marked by riots, vandalism, arson and clashes with police. “Hong Kong streets descended into chaos following an unauthorized pro-democracy rally Sunday,” writes the Associated Press. Protesters “set up roadblocks and torched businesses, and police responded with tear gas and a water cannon. Protesters tossed firebombs and took their anger out on shops with mainland Chinese ties.”

What are the Hong Kong residents denouncing and demanding?

They are protesting both present and future limitations on their freedom. The appearance of American flags in the protests suggests that what they seek is what the agitators behind the Boston Tea Party and the boys and men at Concord Bridge sought — independence, liberty and a severing of the ties to the mother country.

Yet, because the Communist regime of Xi Jinping could not survive such an amputation, the liberation of Hong Kong is not in the cards. The end to these months of protest will likely be frustration, futility and failure.

Perhaps it is that realization that explains the vehemence and violence. But the rage is also what kills the support they initially received.

In 1960s America, the first civil rights demonstrations attracted widespread sympathy. But the outburst of urban riots that followed in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and 100 cities after Martin Luther King’s assassination sent millions streaming to the banners of Gov. George Wallace in the campaigns of 1968 and 1972.

When the “yellow vest” protests broke out in 2018 in Paris, over a fuel tax, the demonstrators had the support of millions of Frenchmen.

But that support dissipated when protesters began smashing windows of boutique shops on the Champs-Elysee, assaulting police and desecrating monuments and memorials.

This reversion to violence, ransacking of stores and showering of police with bricks, bottles and debris, is costing the protesters much of the backing they enjoyed. In the trade-off between freedom and order, people will ultimately opt for order.

Yet, one wonders: Why are these outbursts of violent protests and rioting taking place in stable, free and prosperous societies?

Chile is the most stable and wealthy country in South America. Catalonia is the most prosperous part of Spain. Paris is hardly a hellhole of repression. And Hong Kong is the freest city of China.

If the beneficiaries of freedoms and democratic rights come to regard them as insufficient to produce the political, economic and social results they demand, what does that portend for democracy’s future?

For, despite the looting, arson and attacks on cops in Hong Kong, Xi Jinping is not going to order his satraps to yield to popular demands for autonomy or independence. Nor is Madrid going to accept the loss of Barcelona and secession of Catalonia. Nor is the conservative Chilean government going to yield to the street rebels and revolutionaries. Nor is Paris going to back down to the “yellow vests.”

Yet, one wonders: If the “end of history” and worldwide triumph of democratic capitalism thesis has, as most agree, been disproven, is it possible that the Age of Democracy is itself a passing phase in the history of the West and the world?[3]

Americans have not given up on democracy at all.  While many are at odds with their fellow citizens about the direction that our great nation should take, they are exercising their rights of free speech dramatically, for an often-troubled world to see.  Is it a pretty sight?  Is democracy in action an edifying experience?  Not always, but it is a sign that our great democracy is functioning.  

The rifts in our body politic cut across lots of fracture lines: Donald Trump or no Trump[4]; abortions or no abortions[5]; foreign wars or no foreign wars[6]; the admission of illegal immigrants or none[7]; man-made “global warming,” or one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated on Mankind by the “eco-Nazis”[8]; — . . . and the list goes on and on.

If one person could be said to have been at the very heart of the cleavages in our society today it is the racist and anti-Semite Barack Obama, who did more than any other president to resew the seeds of racism in America today, and to divide this country along fault lines that are “fragile” in the best of times.[9]  By leading the treasonous efforts to destroy the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump, there is no doubt that Obama engaged in sedition, which is consistent with his character.[10]

Pat Buchanan was correct when he observed that “the rage is . . . what kills the support they initially received”—and we have seen all of this before (e.g., during the Vietnam War era), and survived.  George Orwell warned about it in his prescient Animal Farm, where all of the animals were considered equal until the Pigs accreted power and control, and subjugated the other animals (or “disbelievers”) until they reigned supreme.[11]

Abraham Lincoln and his trusted generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, dealt with the harsh realities of divisions within our great nation that might have torn it asunder—and they prevailed.[12]  At times, the forces of division (and of evil and darkness) must be destroyed, not simply defeated.  Nothing less will suffice. This was certainly true of Adolph Hitler and his “Thousand-Year Reich.”

Lastly, Pat Buchanan was mistaken in the conclusion of his article above.  In the United States, the Left is being given enough rope to hang itself, like its alter egos did before.  And most Americans are myopic: they are focused on their own lives, and do not really care what goes on in the world outside—as long as it does not affect them—which is understandable.

 

 

© 2019, 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 https://naegeleblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/timothy-d.-naegele-resume-19-9-27.pdf). 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 can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”) (citing http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ and http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/2951-ilene/31177-interview-with-timothy-d-naegele)

[3]  See https://buchanan.org/blog/is-democracy-a-dying-species-137638

[4]  See, e.g., 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/2019/09/30/impeachment-may-become-the-singular-obsession-in-washington-and-dominate-news-coverage/ (“Impeachment May Become The Singular Obsession In Washington, And Dominate News Coverage”)

[5]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/abortions-and-autos-kill-more-in-america-than-guns/#comment-3298 (“55 Million American Babies Killed Since Roe v. Wade“—”One can only conjecture as to the contributions they would have made, which are forever lost like the contributions of more than 60 million human beings who were killed by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and their thugs”)

[6]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/the-middle-east-is-not-americas-fight/ (“The Middle East Is Not America’s Fight”)

[7]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”) (see also the extensive comments beneath the article)

[8]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/a-34-trillion-swindle-the-shame-of-global-warming/ (“A $34 Trillion Swindle: The Shame Of Global Warming”) (see also the extensive comments beneath the article)

[9]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/barack-obama-is-responsible-for-americas-tragic-racial-divide/ (“Barack Obama Is Responsible For America’s Tragic Racial Divide”) (see also the extensive comments beneath the articles); but see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/edward-w-brooke-is-dead/ (“Edward W. Brooke Is Dead”)

[10]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/should-barack-obama-be-executed-for-treason/ (“Should Barack Obama Be Executed For Treason?”)

[11]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm (“Animal Farm“)

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

 

 





Jefferson, Lincoln And America

22 03 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Three books are worth reading about Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and America: the “Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson,” which was edited by his great-granddaughter, Sarah N. Randolph[2]; “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald[3]; and “A History of the American People” by Paul M. Johnson.[4]

Jefferson was a giant, and the first book chronicles his extraordinary life through his letters and the letters of others, lovingly assembled and edited by Randolph.  At various points, the book is moving and tearful; elsewhere it is joyous and humorous. At all times, Jefferson’s seemingly-unlimited talents and brilliance, as well as his qualities as a decent human being and his erudition, shine forth.

The greats of American history come alive through their correspondence and Jefferson’s letters to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton, to name just a few—along with the Marquis de Lafayette and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.  We witness firsthand the American Revolution, this nation’s founding, Jefferson’s years in Paris, the French Revolution, and his presidency.

Perhaps three things stand out most of all: the depth of his love for his family and the meticulous care with which he nurtured each family member; his love for Monticello and his desire to return there and be rid of the burdens of public office; and his relationship with Adams that, once breached, is finally restored at the end of their lives.

Remarkably, both presidents died on the 4th of July, 1826.  To paraphrase the words of Jefferson, two “Argonauts” sailed on, leaving this country forever changed and better because they had passed here.  “I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern,” Jefferson wrote to Adams in 1816.  From being Secretary of State and Vice President to two terms in the presidency, involving the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jefferson never lost his love for or his belief in this great country.

He was a farmer, scholar, scientist, diplomat, a leader and a politician.  He was an accomplished horseman who was faithful to his belief in the need for at least two hours of exercise each day.  He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; and he loved music, birds and his gardens in Albemarle County, Virginia.  And he was an American.

In the second book, “Lincoln,” Donald writes brilliantly, and truly spans Lincoln’s life and gives one a sense of being there.  Perhaps most striking is how the tide of events carried Lincoln and changed his views (e.g., with respect to the slavery issue alone, from colonization to emancipation).  Also, Donald describes Lincoln as a master, very calculating politician, not unlike the politicians of today.  He was certainly not the folksy backwoods caricature that often is presented, although he used that to his advantage (e.g., to disarm opponents and garner support).

Despite being wonderfully researched, and spreading out the facts for all to see, one gets the sense that what truly made Lincoln “tick” was unknowable, from a deeply personal standpoint.  Having worked on Capitol Hill, my sense is that most senators are that way, possibly because they have been compromised again and again to reach high offices, and to be all things to all people.

Also, it was interesting how Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman “saved” Lincoln politically, while many of his other generals were either indecisive or utter buffoons.  Lincoln knew that changes were needed, but he was often hesitant to “rock the boat” and make them.  After his reelection in 1864, he seemed much more self-confident, which was cut short by his tragic death.  The reader is left to wonder what he might have accomplished during his second term.

When the book ends somewhat abruptly, one’s interest has been whetted.  It is only too bad that Donald did not do an appraisal of “what might have been.”  There is no question that Lincoln was brilliant, and he was really maturing as a political leader when he was killed.  What a remarkable four years might have followed.  Also, with essentially no protection at all, it is surprising that more leaders of that time were not killed by the John Wilkes Booths of this world.  Lincoln, God love him, was fearless and a true fatalist—or at least that is how Donald depicts him.

One is led to think about Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, who was so important in Lincoln’s life, and his thoughts about Lincoln’s life and death.  Also, Grant’s memoirs—which are said to be the finest done by an American president—are wonderful to read, along with books about Reconstruction, the diaries of Lincoln’s two male “secretaries,” etc.

Years ago, I read an article about how one could only understand the Southern “mentality” by appreciating how conquered peoples—or the vanquished—have been able to survive throughout history under the rule of the victors; and Donald’s book sets the scene for that to take place.  Also, one cannot help but be impressed by what a monumental struggle the Civil War represented, and the human carnage that it left as well as the deep scars that remained.  This book is truly fascinating, and Donald provides a brilliant “birds-eye view,” which is well worth reading.

The third book is “A History of the American People” by Johnson.  For all of us whose ancestors came from distant shores, or however we ended up as “Americans,” this book is rich in details, events and trends that have been woven together to describe our history and what it means to be an American.  This reader gained a new sense of pride in what America is and how our history has evolved, and where we are apt to go as a people in the future.

The United States is a melting pot, or a rainbow of different colors, religions and ethnicities, and therein lies its soul, strength, creativity and diversity, and yes tensions.  Johnson’s weaving of minute facts into a tapestry that is “us” deserves to be read and reflected on by all.  We may not agree with each and every observation or conclusion, but we cannot help to be impressed by the sweep of history that Johnson chronicles and how he methodically marshals the facts into a remarkable and coherent whole, of which each of us is an integral part.

I only hated to see this book end—which was true of the other two books as well—and I wished that that I could read about the next 100 years of this “grand experiment” called democracy, but those pages are being written in history with each passing day, month and year.  While it took the arrival of a new millennium for Johnson to share this monumental undertaking with us, let us hope that similar brilliant works are forthcoming.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  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.  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

[2] See http://www.amazon.com/Domestic-Thomas-Jefferson-American-Classics/dp/0804417598/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[3] See http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-David-Herbert-Donald/dp/068482535X/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[4] See http://www.amazon.com/History-American-People-Paul-Johnson/dp/0060930349/ref=cm_cr-mr-title





Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero

21 03 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

It is been said that Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs are the finest written by an American president, and this assessment may well be true, which is among the reasons why I wanted to read them.  Abraham Lincoln held Grant in very high regard, and credited both Grant and General William Tecumseh Sherman with winning the Civil War militarily and thereby preserving the Union.  Grant returned Lincoln’s respect and praise, both in the words that he wrote and in his decision not to become a presidential candidate in 1864—and probably become a very formidable rival, according to Lincoln’s keen political judgment.

It is a shame that Grant did not write about his own two-term presidency, and instead concluded his memoirs with the war’s end.  However, he died of throat cancer in 1885, twenty years after the “rebellion” ended and less than a week after completing work on the memoirs—which were written in large part to provide much-needed financial security for his beloved wife, Julia Dent Grant.  They accomplished their purpose, and were encouraged and edited by his friend, Mark Twain.

While I am not a student of the Civil War, nor of the other campaigns in which Grant served—all of which are discussed in great detail—his memoirs give the reader a window into the man and the war that wrenched and transformed this nation, and produced so much carnage on both sides.  Like Dwight D. Eisenhower and other famous generals, Grant concludes: “[T]his war was a fearful lesson, and should teach us the necessity of avoiding wars in the future.”

However, Grant adds: “To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared for war.  . . .  [U]nless we are prepared for it we may be in danger of a combined movement being some day made to crush us out.”  With respect to former slaves, Grant writes: “[H]e was brought to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our citizens.”

As to the future of our nation and the healing of its wounds, he concluded:

The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence.  . . .  I feel we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the [North and South].  I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so.  The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to “Let us have peace.”

The expressions of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a section of the country, nor to a division of the people.  They came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all denominations—the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and from various societies of the land—scientific, educational, religious, or otherwise.  Politics did not enter into the matter at all.

Grant dedicated his memoirs to the “American Soldier And Sailor.”  And it seems true, as Geoffrey Perret has written, “he was modest, sensitive, generous, honest, and superlatively intelligent.  Grant’s courage, both moral and physical, was a matter of record.”  He lives on through his words and deeds, having saved a nation—albeit not being recognized fully as the American hero that he was.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

Grant


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  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.  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

[2] See http://www.amazon.com/Personal-Memoirs-Ulysses-Modern-Library/dp/0375752285/ref=cm_cr-mr-title





Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character

20 03 2010

With the passage of time, America’s greatest presidents prior to the 21st Century are apt to be viewed as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.  Gone from that list most certainly will be John F. Kennedy. Today, few young Americans even know who he was—or care about him—because less than a handful of his positive accomplishments had any lasting significance.

Reagan will be remembered, while Kennedy may be forgotten. This conclusion will surely offend those Kennedy disciples who are still pushing the myth of Camelot until its last gasp. Like William McKinley, the fact that an assassin cut short Kennedy’s life and presidency might be all that Americans recall about him 50 years from now.

It is striking how the death of Reagan . . . made one realize how great he was, and how small and inconsequential Kennedy’s accomplishments were. Aside from some flowery words—mostly written for him by Theodore Sorenson—and what remains of the once-vibrant Peace Corps, Kennedy’s legacy is almost nonexistent today.

Reagan was lucky and blessed to have survived an assassin’s bullet only 69 days after he took office on January 20, 1981, and America and the free world are fortunate that he did.  More than 40 years after Kennedy’s death, the full extent of his life-long medical problems is still being withheld from the American people and conservative scholars; and it is doubtful whether he would have lived to accomplish anything approaching what Reagan achieved.

Kennedy launched this nation into Vietnam; and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, was the architect of that lost war and the enormous suffering that it produced.  More than 50,000 brave Americans died, and it impaled this nation’s honor on the horns of a tragedy that still haunts policy makers and citizens alike.

Even before Vietnam, Kennedy was responsible for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, where Fidel Castro humiliated him completely. This led to more than 40 years of enslavement for the Cuban people. The Cuban Missile Crisis, or Kennedy’s confrontation with the Soviet Union, might have given rise to a nuclear winter.

Reagan is remembered for having brought down that “Evil Empire,” as well as the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, and for freeing the people of Eastern Europe. Today, America’s friends in “New Europe” are its partners in NATO and its allies in the EU—as free men, woman and children who are no longer enslaved by communism.

Reagan’s marriage to Nancy was special and they were blessed with love. There was no hiding of mistresses by the Secret Service, which took place during Kennedy’s presidency. His reckless affairs with women were only outdone by his irresponsible and dangerous relationships with mobsters such as Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana.

Reagan was a doer who had style. Kennedy had style; however, the bloom has even gone off that rose. His serial womanizing, relations with Mafioso figures like Giancana—through their sexual liaisons with Judith Campbell Exner, who was used as their go-between—and other serious character flaws marred it.

Reagan was elected and reelected by landslides, while it is doubtful whether Kennedy would have become president in 1960 if the Mob had not helped him in Illinois and West Virginia—and Giancana claimed credit for that. Kennedy was the son of a bootlegger, and the apple does not fall far from the tree.

The discrepancy between Camelot and the man himself has been laid bare; and there is a stark difference between the hype of Kennedy acolytes and the truth. Perhaps the debunking of his myth is similar to what happened to this country after Vietnam. Maybe Kennedy and America’s invincibility before that war both shared a similar fate, and this country’s naiveté somehow ended.

Kennedy was not someone to look up to, much less deify. Many of us came to that conclusion reluctantly, years ago, with a sense of sadness rather than anger. Like the potentate in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the myth about Kennedy and his feet of clay have become clear for all to see with the passage of time.

In a recent Discovery Channel poll, Reagan was chosen as the “Greatest American,” edging Lincoln by a small margin. When he left office, Reagan had fulfilled his 1980 campaign pledge to restore “the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism.” Also, greatness is often achieved in times of war, and Kennedy never won the war with Cuba, much less the Vietnam War that he started, nor did he win the Cold War—which Reagan won, as he implemented the policy of “peace through strength.”

Reagan will be remembered as one of America’s greatest presidents and a man of character. Kennedy was a tragic Shakespearean figure who may be forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history. Perhaps this contrast between Reagan and Kennedy—this question of character that Thomas C. Reeves described in his terrific book about Kennedy—is what separates the men and underscores their differences, and ultimately will define their respective places in history.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  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.  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

[2] This article was published first at MensNewsDaily.com on August 1, 2005.  See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ReaganJFK.pdf








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