For matters far removed from warfare, including ones concerning severe political conflict, Grant’s Overland Campaign offers useful lessons. It’s typically a poor idea to describe political affairs in military terms, but grave threats to the political order sadly call for a different approach.
One fights in more than one way: sometimes using maneuver, at other times attrition.
One may maneuver many times, again and again, each at a time of one’s choosing, until at last an adversary is in a gravely disadvantageous position, after which attrition will prove effective.
A campaign should fit an overall strategy, often where one coordinates with those farther away to inflict losses from many directions.
One engagement will lead to other engagements, and even a campaign will lead to other campaigns. One must be patient.
One will experience losses, often severe, along the way. There are no easy victories over great matters. Push on.
An adversary is finished only when he will, or can, go on no longer. Particular successes along the way are insufficient; one drives until an adversary’s final, irrecuperable ruin.
Lauren Young describes The Powerful 1940 Map That Depicts America as a Nation of Immigrants:
In the years leading up to the Second World War, isolationist sentiment coursed pretty strongly throughout the United States. Some Americans feared that immigrants were a threat to the country. Sound familiar? Then you’ll have no trouble understanding the reasons why the map below, titled America–A Nation of One People From Many Countries, was published in 1940 by the Council Against Intolerance in America.
“With the exception of the Indian, all Americans or their forefathers came here from other countries,” the illustrator Emma Bourne inscribed on the map. The Council Against Intolerance commissioned Bourne’s work in an effort to remind Americans that the U.S. had always defined itself as a country of varied national origins and religious backgrounds.
Well, the election, it came out really well. Next time we’ll triple the number or quadruple it. We want to get it over 51, right? At least 51.
Well this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together. Hi Lynn, how are you? Just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of African-Americans throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America. I’ve gotten a real glimpse—during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s gonna be heading up HUD. That’s a big job. That’s a job that’s not only housing, but it’s mind and spirit. Right, Ben? And you understand, nobody’s gonna be better than Ben.
Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.
I’m proud to honor this heritage and will be honoring it more and more. The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters. Darrell—I met Darrell when he was defending me on television. And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right? And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community. He’s all by himself. You’ll have seven people, and Paris. And I’ll take Paris over the seven. But I don’t watch CNN, so I don’t get to see you as much as I used to. I don’t like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice. Wherever Fox is, thank you.
We’re gonna need better schools and we need them soon. We need more jobs, we need better wages, a lot better wages. We’re gonna work very hard on the inner city. Ben is gonna be doing that, big league. That’s one of the big things that you’re gonna be looking at. We need safer communities and we’re going to do that with law enforcement. We’re gonna make it safe. We’re gonna make it much better than it is right now. Right now it’s terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really—you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show.
I’m ready to do my part, and I will say this: We’re gonna work together. This is a great group, this is a group that’s been so special to me. You really helped me a lot. If you remember I wasn’t going to do well with the African-American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting—and I won’t go into details—but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now we’re gonna take that to new levels. I want to thank my television star over here—Omarosa’s actually a very nice person, nobody knows that. I don’t want to destroy her reputation but she’s a very good person, and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign, and I appreciate it. I really do. Very special.
So I want to thank everybody for being here.
Carl Higbie, a Trump surrogate, while speaking to Megyn Kelly on Fox News suggested the internment of the Japanese during the Second World War as a precedent for a registry of Muslim immigrants to America. Kelly rightly rejected the precedent, as the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War and the Korematsu decision upholding that internment have been considered – at least until recently, it seems – among the worst civil liberties violations of that era.
What was unmentioned only weeks ago is now part of our political discussion; what is part of our political discussion now may yet become policy in the new administration.
At one point, Venice, Italy, was famous around the world for producing some of the finest textiles. Velvet—woven from thousands of fine silk threads—was especially desirable. In 1500, the clatter of 6,000 enormous looms echoed through the streets of the ancient canal-lined city. Today there is just one company left producing velvet in the traditional way; the Luigi Bevilacqua Company. The Bevilacqua family can trace its weaving lineage back to the 1400s, and remains entirely family owned and operated.
Blogging at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum – like many of us, of whatever politics – seems uncertain about the consequences of a Trump Administration. (In fairness, much has happened in a short time, and it’s hard to make sense of it all.)
Still, Drum’s thinking has shifted significantly over the last few days, in ways he no doubt sees. His 11.9 day-after post, Things We Can Count on In the Next Two Years belies his 11.10 post, The United States Is Not About to Spiral Into Fascism and Tryanny.
Two days after the election, Drum writes to reassure, contending that Trump will be no different, no worse, than
say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be. Beyond that, though, he’s less conservative on the policy front. The reason Trump is uniquely bad is mostly symbolic: he’s willfully ignorant; he’s vindictive; he’s a demagogue willing to appeal loudly and proudly to racial animus; and he has the attention span of a small child. He’d be an embarrassment to any country, let alone the most powerful country in the world.
Isn’t that bad enough? There’s no need to pretend we’re about to spiral into a fascist nightmare or a financial collapse. We have not embraced tyranny. The United States is a very big battleship, even for Donald Trump.
One day earlier (that is, one day after the election), Drum sees a different prospect for America under Trump:
Since I have the Reconstruction era on my mind right now, it’s hard to avoid the obvious comparison. Reconstruction lasted about eight years, and then was dismantled almost completely. Barack Obama’s presidency lasted eight years and will now be dismantled almost completely. I will withhold my opinion for now on the obvious reason for this similarity.
There lies Drum’s – and our – problem. If a Trump era is anything like the end of Reconstruction was for millions of black Americans at that time, then there is every reason to be extremely concerned. Generations – indeed, during roughly a century of history – went by before millions received the rights the Constitution granted them.
There’s no need to belabor a point that Drum knows, and about which he is sympathetic. The problem for this country is that a politics like the end of Reconstruction was for blacks would be devastating for millions our fellow citizens. When one reaches the need for an analogy between our time and the decades after 1877, one has already arrived at a moment of crisis for huge numbers.
So, is Drum’s initial concern (by way analogy) on 11.9 justified, or is a Trump Administration likely to be little different from how a Cruz or Rubio Administration might have been (as Drum wrote on 11.10)?
Few during these last months thought that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio were much alike; there’s no reason to think they were. A populist politics of Trump’s kind will push as far as it can, making Drum’s initial concerns more probable than his subsequent reassurances.
Bridget Galaty has produced a fine documentary on the ARPANET, an early packet-switching network. Ms. Galaty is a 12th grade Video Cinema Arts (VCA) student at Denver School of the Arts (DSA) – a public, magnet, arts school within Denver Public Schools (DPS). Her work here, and her other videography on her YouTube channel, is excellent.
A reading from NPR of the Declaration of Independence –
It’s 1942, and Britain is in the midst of WW2.
On HMS Petard, amidst battle, three men act with bravery and courage, in the process capturing vital Nazi documents and secret codebooks that helped Bletchley Park to crack the enigma code, and ultimately help win the war.
For decades following the war, their story went unrecognised. This film recounts that story and pays tribute to what they achieved.
Created for the Petard Pinch exhibition at Bletchley Park, December 2015.
Visit Bletchley Park at www.bletchleypark.org.uk
Quite the parting gift –
On Thanksgiving morning, millions of Americans will watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The first parade was in 1924, and the annual procession in Manhattan has captivated Americans ever since:
We were right to fight the war against Japan until our victory; it was nonetheless a profound error to place Americans of Japanese descent into camps during that war.