Two Presidents, Two Narratives

Mr. Lincoln arrived in Washington and took up the reins of control. It soon became very evident that, so far as the Republican party is concerned, secession if properly managed is rather a benefit than a misfortune.

HENRY ADAMS


In his famous essay, “The Great Secession Winter of 1860-61,” Henry Adams wrote, “It appears very generally among our people that our theory of Government is a failure.” This failure manifested itself on February 18, 1861 when Jefferson Davis was sworn in as Provisional President of the Confederate States of America on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol. Two weeks later Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated 16th President of the United States at the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. At that moment, America had two presidents instead of one. Two narratives instead of one. Two opposing armies instead of one united army.

It was an error, of course, for Adams to think the division of the country was “rather a benefit than a misfortune.” He did not envision battlefields strewn with corpses. He did not say how countless disputes would be resolved between North and South. Adams was then too inexperienced to see that no benefit could derive from two presidents leading two countries with two armies.

The political polarization of America, prior to 1861, was a gradual process. It took so long, and advanced with such subtlety, that Abraham Lincoln scoffed at the likelihood of Southern secession during the Republican Party’s 1860 convention in Chicago. The South was bluffling, he said. Secession would never happen because the South would lose federal offices and preferments. Of course, Lincoln was wrong. Most Southern politicians didn’t care about federal offices and preferments. They had other priorities. It can be said, therefore, that a long process of polarization led to a breakup of the country and to a bloody civil war.

The polarization of America, prior to 2020, has also been gradual — masked by the country’s prosperity and apparent stability. The country is now divided into two camps, governed by diametrically opposing principles. The differences are now so striking, so profound, that it is inconceivable they will long tolerate one another. The violence of last summer is but a foretaste of what we should expect.

Despite what the media says, Joseph Biden has not legally won the presidency. The election is in dispute because of election “irregularities.” And now, with tens of millions of mail-in ballots, a basic principle of free and fair elections has been violated; namely, the requirement that people show up in person to vote. An election with mail-in ballots, mailed by God-knows-who, was a standing invitation to fraud. And massive fraud is exactly what happened.

Voting is about government accountability. Election fraud, at its core, negates this accountability. Much of our media, and Biden’s partisans, do not want to be accountable. From their lips, talk of investigating election “irregularities” produces scoffing on the one hand, and threats on the other. By various hints we are given to understand that any proper counting of votes may lead to widespread violence. The left, after all, has prepared this threat in advance (for exactly this eventuality).

Since last summer’s looting and vandalism, the left has relied on violence and intimidation. Theirs is the politics of extortion. The left, in essence, is asking the country to forfeit election transparency to avoid violence. If America gives in, the Party of Extortion will extend its dominion over the entire country. Unchecked by police power, outrage will follow outrage. The Party of Extortion, having conquered the police, will begin to exercise police powers of its own. It will then be a question of accepting slavery or fighting a civil war.

How realistic is this scenario? An American friend in South America, who witnessed the collapse of Venezuela and the civil war in Colombia, texted me on election night. Seeing that Arizona had flipped to Biden, he sensed that the fix was in, that the election would be stolen. Having lost faith in the fairness of the process, with decades of Latin American experience behind him, he suggested that civil war would be our only way out. I was shocked. But look at the situation from his vantage point: America could either choose the fate of Venezuela or the fate of Colombia. In the first instance, Venezuelans acquiesced in several fraudulent elections and lost their freedom to a socialist dictatorship. In the second instance, Colombia saved itself by resisting the left in a long civil war.

This dire analysis would strike most Americans as unduly pessimistic. Election fraud, after all, is a Latin American problem and not an American problem. Yet America’s elections do not follow the guidelines of our own Election Assitance Commission (EAC). Of the ten EAC requirments for a free and fair election, the United States falls short on four counts: (1) Votes were cast without proper registration; (2) tens of millions did not vote in person; (3) every ballot cast was not counted; (4) and in the cases of Detriot and Philadelphia, President Trump was not allowed to have an agent inside the polling stations.

Even if most Americans avert their gaze and pretend nothing has happened, the problem is not going away. Polarization follows a logic of its own. In 1860-61 a majority of Americans did not think the election of 1860 would lead to Southern secession followed by civil war. “Let the Southern states secede if they want,” people said. “They will eventually come back into the Union.” This is the kind of wishful thinking that often prevails at the outset of a crisis. But soon enough wishful thinking gives way to reality. In 1861 the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter caused a psychological shift in the North. Suddenly Southerners were viewed as “rebels” and “traitors” who made war on their own country.

In the present crisis, a similar shift in national psychology cannot be ruled out. Everything depends on how things unfold from this point forward. President Trump’s lawyers will prove that massive election fraud has occurred. If the left and the Democratic Party refuses to accept the verdict of the courts, we will have two presidents, two narratives, and two armed camps.

It may be premature to write, at present, of “The Great Secession Winter of 2020-2021,” but we are going to have to confront the erosion of the rule of law in America. This is not something we can hide from. A confrontation will come, either now or later. Meanwhile, in Beijing, the Chinese communists believe they have won two victories against America. First, by disrupting our society with a virus; and second, there is the “Biden coup.”

The political process in America has become, over the years, a process of foreign subversion under the false flag of special interest politics. We have turned a blind eye to this process because we value peace and quiet. Russian dissident Natan Sharansky once said, “In dictatorships you need courage to fight evil; in the free world you need courage to see evil.” If we are not willing to see, if we bury our heads in the sand, America won’t continue as a great power. The truth is, we have been subverted, our institutions have been penetrated and compromised. Absent clearsightedness about this, we are doomed to defeat. The system of the Founding Fathers cannot make up for a lapse in courage on our part.

In 1861 Henry Adams thought America’s “experiment” with republican government would fail because the Founding Fathers were themselves doubtful of its prospects. They knew there would be trouble, especially over the issue of slavery. Henry Adams wrote: “By an unfortunate necessity which has grown with its growth, the country contained in itself, at its foundation, the seeds of its future troubles.” America got through those troubles, with a high cost in blood and treasure. And now we are facing worse troubles.

The new religion of socialism, which has ravaged many countries around the world, now overtakes us at home. It has grown like a cancer, inside the state, inside the culture. If the cancer of socialism continues unchecked, it will destroy the country. With Joe Biden in the White House, the socialists will close in for the kill. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others are already talking about making lists of Trump supporters for the sake of future reprisals.

It takes courage to see evil, as Sharansky said. And courage is what we must pray for. We cannot be afraid of two presidents with two narratives and two armed camps; for if we do not confront evil, it will destroy us. In that event there will be no president and no country.

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