The authors, collectively, are nearing 140 years of age. The Elder Statesman, and better-looking between us, came of age in the early ’60s and the young Paduan took his first breath 3 years after the Elder got his driver’s license. As the insurance commercial says, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two”. This does not mean we are suggesting that we have any sort of high-minded scholarly expertise in any particular field of study but does, nonetheless, credential our aggregate lifetimes of experience and allow us seats at the table of learned and humble reflection. Life experiences and the wisdom earned from surviving our most heinous mistakes along the way, with or without this or that dusty shingle on a nicotine-stained office wall, has great value all the same.
In the name of full disclosure, unconcerned with impressing others, least of all ourselves, we agreed to “open our kimonos” ever-so-narrowly in the interest of providing a little background.
Both of our family trees are rooted in Appalachia soil; the eldest came from Kentucky coal miners while the youngster learned about the world from generations of pig farmers, proudly descended in part from the McCoy side of the famous feud, who dedicated their lives to carving out an existence in the rocky red clay soil on the Maryland side of the Shenandoah and Potomac confluence, somewhere in the bosom of the Shenandoah Valley. One of us was a soldier and a lawyer and a self-made historian, and one of us was an engineer. Both of us have been adult classroom educators, both of us are fathers, both of us are grandfathers, both of us have been married more than once, and one of us remains happily single… Intending to stay that way until he swan-dives off this mortal coil.
We have both been public speakers, ghostwriters, political activists, and quite prolific opinionators. The two of us cross paths for the first time many years ago, at a nationally recognized political-punditry-themed website we both frequented, and the sidebar commiseration began not too long after that. Within a year or two, the youngster (a self-taught coder and web designer going back as far as the infant days of Al Gore’s internet) set up a personal website for the elder, and we’ve been working together ever since.
It occurred to us during the campaign season of 2020, fully aware that regardless of who the next president would be there were going to be permanent scars left on the American psyche, that maybe we ought to Chronicle how we got here and just what the bloody hell we might want to consider doing about it going forward. We recognize that we are but two Grumpy Old Men, with more of our lives in our rear-view mirrors than whatever there is left to see through our front windshields, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care anymore or that we have nothing left to say.
One decade may not seem like much, between our ages, but when you consider the America of the ’40s in comparison with this horribly disfigured mutation we are looking at today, in the ’20s, … seven decades after the first of us was born … we can’t think of very much that hasn’t gotten worse as the years have gone by. To be sure, technological advancements have improved the Human Condition for many of us, but in so many other ways they have further enslaved us and more substantially complicated things for us than they have actually made us any freer or better human beings because of them.
Admittedly, we understand we run the risk of being discounted as nothing more than a couple of old “Boomers “longing for the bygone days of Glory, but this is simply not the case. Instead, think of us more along the lines of the Prophet Samuel, trying to warn you against the terrible idea of installing a King to rule over you, the Prophet Muhammad, foretelling of your inevitable plunge into greed and immorality, and the Prophet Jesus who told you to guard against false Prophets and asked the question: What shall it profit you, if you gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of your soul?
From where the two of us sit, way up here in the nosebleed section of the cheap seats of humankind’s bleachers, we are as sure as we can be that America stands today, squarely, in the middle of Robert Johnson’s 1939 “Crossroads” (look it up if you’re under 30).
Laugh at us if you like, we are old enough and wise enough to laugh at ourselves every single day because this is how we were raised; hard work, kindness, and human decency, humility, grace, self-respect, and good manners, we were taught, are the cornerstones of being a good person and a decent human being. You would never know it, however, considering the way these younger generations behave.
We think it is no small thing to recognize the woefully lacking supply of these traits amongst members of the GenX, Millennial, and GenZ segments of our current population. We accept that times change, and having once been younger ourselves we appreciate the extent to which we convince ourselves our elders are just “old and don’t understand how the world works”, but it is our Advanced ages that provide our moral higher ground and understanding that even while times may change, people never really do. This is wisdom only acquired over a lifetime of winding roads, with peaks and valleys, and a sizable collection of victories and defeats.
In fairness to the youngsters, we understand that they are no more than the products of their upbringing and we appreciate that not everyone comes from the same family tree, genealogically, but their parents and grandparents – like ours – are products of the same basic Educational Systems, same cultural influences, same understanding of our language and culture and heritage as we were, and presumably passed these things on as their own subsequent Generations came of age in much the same way as these things were passed on to ours. This, however, doesn’t appear to be true when you take a close enough look at the sorts of things these new generations are demanding of the world they have been assigned the task of sustaining and further improving, without any sort of real clue -or concern- regarding the long-term havoc their proposed ideologies will wreak on the world were they to get their way.
As we begin, we are of the opinion that the most obvious, and quite striking description of America’s younger generations is their level of anger and their heightened sense of entitlement. We are quite vexed by this dynamic amongst the youngsters, not only because we don’t believe they’ve been alive long enough to have earned the right to be this angry, but they have made no productive contribution to our society for which they now believe they should be considered entitled to any sort of reward. Further, they have had far greater qualities of life, opportunity, and education, along with a great deal more access to comforts and convenience, than any of the generations that preceded them. The general lack of gratitude and humility, in our minds at least, is a stunning contrast to the sorts of things previous generations labored, routinely at great cost and personal sacrifice, to build for the generations that would follow. Of course, we have a pretty good idea of where this comes from, but we think it might be a bit more fair-minded if we take a huge step back, raise ourselves up to the so-called 30 thousand foot level, and take a closer look at the bigger picture.
It was inevitable that the topic of group dynamics would find its way back into these pages, having purposefully skipped over the temptation to delve too deeply into the subject in the previous chapter, but it bears some degree of repeating for the purposes of developing some important context. Generally speaking, especially as it relates to the earlier narrative regarding the so-called “haves” and the “have-nots “, there has been a dramatic shift in recent decades with respect to the various power structures in the socio-economic Collectives and their Nihilist partners in crime.
In the period immediately following the end of World War II, as birth rates began to skyrocket and family sizes began to balloon, people more or less took themselves to their respective corners and focused, inwardly, on putting their lives back together and moving forward toward a better and brighter future. It wouldn’t last of course, because across the span of humankind the pursuit of peaceful coexistence with coequality between neighbors never does, but it was a stretch of about 10 years during which the average contributing members of American society were just focused on minding their own business and leaving everyone else to tend to theirs.
These are the times during which the authors were born and raised, and looking back on them now at our Advanced ages, it’s not hard to recognize them- in retrospect- for what they were; the calm before the American tsunami.
While many people are tempted to start the discussion about the true beginnings of the American era of transformational cultural and socio-political change with a lengthy dissertation on the events of December 1st, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, and God bless her for having done so, it is our contention that the so-called civil rights movement and the fight to end racial inequality had already been underway for 7 years. We point this out because, to what will become our larger point shortly, it was the Federal Government itself that was actively trying to right generations of social wrongs that had been perpetrated against some of our fellow Americans.
The history books tell us that, on July 26, 1948, then-President Harry Truman issued an executive order that ended segregation in the US armed services. 6 years later, due to the Supreme Court’s decision in “Brown V. the Board of Education”, segregation in public schools was effectively ended although it took many years for the effect of that decision to propagate across the entirety of the country. Fifteen months after this court decision, Rosa Parks would stand up and say NO to being treated differently than anyone else.
Only a year later, Martin Luther King, along with a group of pastors from a number of southern states, would “meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation”, and it would be these people, at this time and under these circumstances, that will be most remembered for the ultimate success of the movement. It is important to acknowledge, however, that the fight for National recognition of rights already guaranteed in our founding documents should never have been necessary in the first place, came at no small cost, and did not happen overnight.
Truman’s Executive Order was only the first step in what was a long struggle that spanned two decades and, arguably, only succeeded in the end (at the cost of many innocent lives) because Mankind’s right to be free comes from God, not the government, and must be fought for and defended whenever and wherever this fundamental human truth is challenged.
We think it is important, before moving ahead, that we provide a chronological synopsis of events that unfolded during this period in history (encapsulated from “The History Channel) in order to illustrate the selfless righteousness of fighting for the freedoms of all humanity as opposed to some of the not-so -righteous fights that have been waged in the generations since the Civil Rights Movement.
It took a Supreme Court fight to get equal access to public education. It took a year-long boycott by blacks of a city bus system to get equal access to public transportation. It took the brutal beating death of a 14-year-old black child to get equal access to justice. It took multiple sit-ins by black high school and college students, at multiple diners and restaurants (including the refusal of four black college students to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served) to get equal access to Food Service. It took a 1957 Civil Rights Act from Eisenhower to affirm equal voting rights. It took a six-year-old black child having to be escorted by four armed Federal Marshalls in order to enter a white elementary school and gain access to desegregated public education.
It was the formation of a group of both whites and blacks, called “Freedom Riders”, riding buses all around the South in protest against segregation that ultimately gave rise to equal access to public Travel Systems. As well, thanks to JFK’s dispatch of National Guard troops, Alabama’s governor was forced to allow black college students to register, giving them equal access to a college education. Yet, even with the significant progress that had been made, the fight was far from over.
Two months after JFK intervened in Alabama, there was a 250,000-strong march on Washington, demanding equal access to jobs and freedom. This event culminated with the now-famous”I Have a Dream” speech which included a quote that, sadly, seems to have fallen out of favor in the National conversation barely 50 years after his death: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”. Sadly, a month after this speech, a bomb was set off at a church in Birmingham Alabama that killed four innocent girls, wounded many others, and caused angry protests.
Ten months later, LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which contains, among other things, federally guaranteed equal employment opportunity (Title VII) that made it illegal to discriminate against job applicants, or employees, based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, and establishes the federal oversight office called EEOC. Seven months later, black religious leader Malcolm X was assassinated, and two years after that, an organized march against voter suppression got underway on March 7th, 1965.
Remembered as “Bloody Sunday”, that march intended to go from Selma to Montgomery and consisted of approximately 600 civil rights marchers including John Lewis, Hosea Williams, (MLK would finish the march later), and other movement leaders. They made it out of Selma well enough but, when they got to the bridge that spans the Alabama River, they were blocked and ultimately brutally attacked and severely beaten by Local police and Sheriff’s deputies before being turned back. They ultimately won their right to march in court, and would eventually reach Montgomery on March 25th. This period in the history of the Civil Rights Movement should, arguably, also be considered a major turning point in the Civil Rights Movement because much of the brutality was aired on National Television, viewed in most of America’s living rooms, and provided much of the impetus for Johnson’s Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Two and a half years later, Martin Luther King would be assassinated in Memphis, after which riots broke out across much of the country. The worst of these took place in Selma and Washington DC where National Guard troops had to be deployed. The youngest of the authors here lived about a mile and a half away from the looting, fires, and extreme violence and devastation that leveled most of 7th Street in Washington, around the area of Ford’s Theater where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and several other areas where – even to this day – things have not returned to any real state of “normalcy”. But even with all of this said, the Civil Rights Movement persisted until LBJ signed the Fair Housing Act which provided equal housing opportunity regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
The authors are of the opinion that despite having won the legal, moral, and constitutional arguments regarding racial equality, the Civil Rights Movement continues (although the dynamic has changed in many ways now) because the right-minded way to go about winning the hearts and minds of people and enforcing the hard-won peace between members of society must be passed along to subsequent generations. And this has to continue sufficiently well enough to ensure that social righteousness is not allowed to be cast aside, somewhere down the road, should the truth of our civil rights becomes some sort of inconvenience to be dispensed with in order to make room for some poorly thought-out alternative designed to ultimately strip us of these things altogether.
We mention it here because signs are popping up all around us that seem to indicate the willingness of some to undo much of the progress made by the Civil Rights Movement with a growing effort currently underway to completely rewrite the meaning of the word “equality”, a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the sovereign “Individual” to pursue life, liberty, and happiness (and individually enjoy the benefits of their efforts), and replace this human condition with an unattainable social state of Collective “equity” which subverts the sovereignty of the “Individual” and inflicts confiscatory practices in order to force equal outcomes, despite unequal contributions, on the whole of the Collective.
This top-down approach to human control, as opposed to the bottom-up, individual Freedom, Liberty, and Self-determination approach that brought this country together two and a half centuries ago, goes by several different names. We invite you to guess what some of these might be, but we will come back to this again in the epilogue. In the meantime, let’s move on to the post-Civil Rights era and what changed, we think forever, in the American activism movement that followed.
Three years before LBJ would sign the Fair Housing Act, effectively acknowledging and codifying into law the full list of the civil rights called for by the movement for all Americans, a new, somehow angrier protest movement, had started coming together to speak out against U.S. Military involvement in Vietnam. Although it was initially comprised, in 1965, of smaller and relatively disparate groups, it became a full-throated protest movement, in earnest, by 1968 after the United States began serious bombing initiatives in North Vietnam. The intensity of the protests followed suit with a much higher degree of Confrontation than had been previously employed.
It is not our intention to rehash the details of the anti-war protest movement, spanning almost a decade, in any great detail, but there are several observations worthy of consideration that will serve the larger point we intend to make as we wind down this section of the book.
It is abundantly clear, even to the most casual of historical observers, that the Civil Rights movement, motivated by generations of tyranny and oppression, came together to stand up for equal access to the rights of all people – regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or national origin – non-violently and with righteous moral superiority and peaceful intent. But such was not the case, so much, in the matter of the Vietnam war protest movement.
Born on college campuses, inspired in large part by tenured Elite liberal professors, the anti-war movement was grounded much more in a singular policy debate over the use of the American Military in a foreign conflict than it was concerned about the dignity and human rights of the American people. To be sure, the decent argument was being made which suggested that a great imbalance was taking place in the selection process of the young men being sent off to war, but the resistance was motivated far more by the fear of being one of the men selected than it was about being compelled to answer any sort of greater altruistic calling.
To be fair, many notable people – including MLK before his death – joined in, or supported, the protests. In King’s case, the argument was made that black men were being disproportionately selected to join the fight, and other notable figures such as Muhammad Ali willingly went to jail rather than serve overseas by declaring himself a conscientious objector. With all this being said, however, much of what happened during this period in America – the worst of which was the death of four students in a protest at Kent State at the hands of National Guard troops – it is our contention that 1973 marked the end of what we consider to be “The Greater Good” protest era. We suggest as much because, in contrast with these protest movements, consider the motivations of the agitators operating amongst us today.
In the years since the anti-war protests of the 60s and 70s, the acts of “petitioning the government for “a redress of grievances” have transmogrified into routinely disparate cottage industries and specialty boutiques that are much more inwardly and narrowly focused on specialized concerns with respect to quite frequently relatively small groups of people. In no particular order, examples include such things as climate change, gun control, anti-corruption, immigrant rights, feminism, and LGBTQ rights of course, and so on. We find no fault in any of these activist movements of course, nor in many of the others. Instead, we celebrate the idea that we have such a constitution where the right to speak out against perceived wrongs and injustices in our society is codified into our law.
The ideology of fair-minded and virtuous activism, inspired in large part by the desire to keep striving toward a more perfect American Union, began its slow descent into a new era of pernicious insidiousness somewhere, to our mind at least, around 2011 and the start of the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Although their complaints centered around social and economic inequality, their methods and tactics were designed to not only disrupt but also to physically destroy the mechanisms they believed were responsible for these inequalities. Though in large part relatively short-lived, their effect on everything that has come after them cannot be overstated.
Not long after Occupy Wall Street, a new movement began to emerge, inspired in large part (unwittingly we want to believe) by the words of then-president Obama in response to the death of Trayvon Martin and the ultimate acquittal of George Zimmerman who was charged with his murder. Despite Zimmerman being a German-Peruvian American, the Black Lives Matter movement convicted him, in their own minds, of not only being guilty of murdering an unarmed black child but also of being a white racist. In response to the court decision, organized protests took place in over 100 cities across the country and, although they were “mostly peaceful”, there were incidents of vandalism and violence all the same.
A year later the so-called BLM, or “#BLM” movement as it is referred to on social media, began what would become a rapidly growing operation. Where the death of Trayvon Martin had been a rallying cry demanding a nationwide call to end racism and Anti-Black violence, the new rallying cry was morphing into one of demanding an end to racist and Anti-black murders that were taking place at the hands of white police officers. Starting with the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and followed quickly by large protests in response to each of these events, the BLM movement quickly rose to international fame and notoriety. Eight more high-profile deaths occurred after the death of Michael Brown, including Breanna Taylor in March of 2020, but it took, arguably, the death of George Floyd that May for the world to be exposed to the true underpinnings and ulterior motives of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On the surface, the motivation for this movement’s reaction to these incidents was anger, sadness, and frustration, and was all easy enough to anticipate. It’s unacceptable, of course, in a civilized society that functions under a system of laws, but it’s certainly no longer a surprise in the modern era. The problem, however, is that they chose to ignore the rules of law and due process, as guaranteed in our constitution, and chose instead to exact their own revenge and mete out their own punishments by taking it out on innocent bystanders, innocent civilians, innocent store owners, and shopkeepers and – worst of all – attacking firemen, paramedics, and law enforcement officers.
Throwing fuel on the fire, the corporatist media and their Nihilist partners in crime in the social media oligarchy manipulated coverage of and deceptively communicated to the American people at large a contrived narrative put together in such a way as to mischaracterize, misrepresent and downplay the seriousness and severity of the attacks that were taking place. And it was in this moment that the American people lost the gains we had made 55 years earlier when the media had brought every painful and unfiltered and unmanipulated detail of Bloody Sunday into our living rooms, that they began, instead, to insist we stop believing what we could see with our own eyes.
Generically, we don’t in any way doubt the sincerity of demanding justice, equally applied, for all people. And by all measures, equal application of the law applies to every one of us – black, brown, yellow, red, or white. This is the dream about which Martin Luther King spoke and for which he gave his own life trying to achieve. This is not the position of the Black Lives Matter movement, and readers need to recognize and remember that the pursuit of equal justice as it is guaranteed by the United States Constitution will never succeed wherever it is being conducted under the cloak of Socialist and Marxist principles. For Black Lives Matter to accomplish its stated goals, it must first dismantle and then ultimately overthrow, the fundamental beliefs (and associated constitutionally guaranteed protection systems) upon which this country was built. Unfortunately, for all of us, as the quite publicly self-avowed Marxists that they are, this is precisely what they have promised us they intend to do.
As the movement has grown and expanded, setting its sights beyond law enforcement reform and begun to delve into the world of racial justice and equity, it has found itself in the opportunistic position of forming an unholy alliance with an even more violent, destructive, and anarchic Nation-killing outfit known all too well as Antifa, or the anti-fascist movement as it was called when it first hit the world stage back in the 1930s.
Theirs is an interesting history and is said to have been rooted in the fight against the European fascists of the 1930s which, if you’re keeping track, wasn’t terribly long after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1923. It has been suggested that, after European fascism was more or less crushed by the end of World War II, the movement faded away until it was effectively reborn in the 1980s by a group known as “Anti-Racist Action”. This group focused on confronting neo-nazis and skinheads, attempting to disrupt concert and music venues, primarily in the Midwest, associated with them. It has been further suggested that this group went dormant more or less by the early 2000s. As we understand it, our so-called new and improved Antifa movement resurrected itself once more with the rise of Donald Trump and the so-called “alt-right.”
Now, it’s a pesky little thing to bring up that whole issue of “group dynamics” again, as it relates to the shredding of our national fabric that has been underway in the period between the death of Trayvon Martin and the death of George Floyd, especially in the context of the Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic era, along with the cities across the country that have been under attack, on fire, looted, and destroyed… Federal buildings and federal, state, and local police officers being gunned down in the streets, the destruction of statues and federal property, and the general state of chaos and mayhem (Anarchy at the hands of these militias… but we have been witnessing the consummation of perhaps the most unholy of unholy alliances in the entire history of the American Nation. We are as sure as we can be that we cannot even come close to overstating this point; America is under siege and stands at the cliff’s edge of overthrow.
Conjoining themselves around the false prophecies of acting, “mostly peacefully”, to save America from tyranny and oppression, the Antifa and “Black Lives Matter” militias are, in fact, employing the very Fascist and Marxist methods their coup attempt insists they are protecting us against. It is a masterful propaganda tactic, but it is surely nothing we haven’t seen before. What’s new, however, having only emerged in recent years with the advancements in technology and the increased manipulation and selective censorship of the internet, is the emergence of symbiotic relationships between the nihilistic corporatists and the social media oligarchs that have joined forces with the radical far-left extremists to enable the death, destruction, looting, chaos, and violence that has been taking place in the streets all around the country.
Not at all unlike the motivating voices behind the misplaced angry radical activism of the sixties, it has been the tenured Elite liberal professors on increasingly radical alt-left college campuses that have been the inspiration behind the misplaced and misinformed anger and hate that is putting these kids up to fighting it out on the streets. We will come back to this issue in the epilogue, from a slightly different angle, but think it is worth making the observation here that it is only in the child’s mind of whimsical and romantic fantasy that can be found any rationale to suggest an entire alternate reality could ever be formed from the ashes of the chaos and anarchy that he, himself, created that would not, eventually, consume him with his own impunity. And we suggest as much because it will not be the isolated and protected tenured Elite liberal professors having to give their lives and their futures to a cause that, whichever way this “mostly peaceful coup” turns out, will forever impugn their status of membership in the resulting American society.