Wave Two–From 2020 To 1918: October 26


Now And Today, October 26, 2020

You want to know something that is nearly impossible?

Separating politics and the pandemic on this day.

The truth is that we’ll get a cure, a vaccine, a 3-D digitized image of the virus and every treatment known to humankind, a winning lottery ticket with free steak knives thrown in before we’ll ever figure out how to pull apart the election politics of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic.

Scientists work in laboratories and stare at the virus and its tiniest details. You and I stand in a voting line and wonder what the hell is going on, what is anyone in front of me or behind me thinking. What’s it say on their hat or t-shirt or tattoo?

Our way out of the pandemic is, in reality, not that far off. Our way out of the political toilet, cesspool, and quagmire is a long, long way off.

I’d love to tell you otherwise. I can’t. Not and still look at myself in the mirror or my children in the face.

The partisans and the fired-ups will disagree with me. They’ve got it figured out. OK. I salute their certainty and shake their hands. But candidly, arms back at my side, they don’t. Peel off enough layers, ask enough probing questions, and sooner or later, in one minute or ten, you’ll get there. They know it, too.

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Then, October 26, 1918

He did it. POTUS did it. As the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson did something that hadn’t been done at least since the Civil War or maybe ever. As of yesterday, he officially and publicly intervened in a congressional, off-year, mid-term election and told, asked, begged, and bartered for American voters to pick the candidate that will be most loyal to him and his Number One Priority of winning the World War.

What’s normally a fairly calm, modest day for voters to choose their member of the House of Representatives, perhaps a Senator, and a bundle of state and local political races, has now become a national craze and national cause. And POTUS did it. Wilson has bet his everything and he wants American voters to set aside their everything and go vote for the candidate in favor of Wilson and the World War.

This shocking decision by Wilson—which he released in a public statement to the press, a typical enough technique in its own right for a Presidency that just seems to swallow up all the space and air around it—is only 24 hours old. People who vote and the people who organize the day so that people can vote now must determine how the pandemic will affect election day.

There is no doubt, none, that the next 10 days until the election will be chaotic and unpredictable. There is a global war overseas involving Americans in the largest conflict in history. A mammoth battle is under way with no clear sense of outcome. There is a political war here in America with the President pushing people hard to join his political side in the global struggle. An election campaign is now coming to a finish, and with the President’s jolting shove, unlike any seen before. There is a war, visible and invisible together, both here and overseas, where everyone—the body of every man, woman, and child—is a potential battlefield, a potential victim, a potential victor, with the dead piling up, with the survivors standing up. It is influenza, and as has been true ever since Wave One in the spring and the onset of Wave Two in the fall, the pandemic will pick up a ballot just like it has picked up an Army uniform, picked up a new job at a weapons factory, picked up a new house or home to enter in a nation at war, picked up a President and a political culture to twist in the wind.

One of President Wilson’s military officers, Colonel Jefferson Kean, reports that the stunning influenza-related death rates among American soldiers seems to have declined ever so slightly. That’s great news as the Meuse-Argonne military offensive grinds toward a hoped-for victory in France.

In Baltimore, 372 black men stand in rows. Like Colonel Kean, they are soldiers in the President’s vast American military. Unlike Kean, Wilson the Commander-in-Chief doesn’t regard them as equals; his race-based outlook dictates that skin color means all and their black skin marks them as inferior in Wilson’s bespectacled eyes. And yet, they’re performing a duty they know must be done. They are marching to bury scores of dead black men, women, and children who have died from influenza. They’ll bury them in the Mount Auburn Cemetery next to the Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore. It’s said too few of the local undertakers are healthy and able to do it. But then again, it may be the undertakers are no different from Wilson. Maybe their eyes see the colors.

In Washington DC where the President lives the death toll has grown sharply from 22 to 34 dead in the span of a day. Nearly 300 are in hospitals. Among the dead is 73-year old Ella Flagg Young. She is the nation’s first female school superintendent in a major city (Chicago) and had come to the nation’s capital to help persuade people to buy Liberty Loans. She caught influenza while talking to crowds. They’re lifting her body onto a train for the trip back to Chicago, the site of her pioneering educational leadership. A woman of one war, a body of another war.

Many of the cities and towns in the Delaware River valley suffered from the impact of Liberty Loan events like the one attended by Ella Young. Influenza roared through the streets and alleys and into the countryside after parades and speeches. Today, more than 200 local communities in New Jersey have, on their own, declared an end to the state board of health’s lockdown of public gatherings. The same is true in Philadelphia. People can’t take it anymore, they can’t live without living, without being people. They make the change to come outside, closer to each other, knowing that a powerful darkness is still around them.

All the way west, to the coast of California, the thread of the President runs. The newest recruits into the US Army and US Navy are training in multiple encampments, ready to go into action if the Meuse-Argonne offensive fails to win its objectives, ready to go into global service if instead a victory is secured and a new world of peace begins. In the meantime these young men entertain themselves with football—they have organized teams with practices, games, and schedules. Today, the same day as Wilson’s full intervention into the election, Kean’s report, the black soldiers’ burial duty, Young’s death, and a quiet rebellion among people in the Delaware River valley, the football players in California military camps learn that their games are delayed until further notice.

Influenza is still on the field, still deadly, still informing Americans that the October they want is still a long way off.

* * * * *

Looking Ahead From Today, October 26, 2020

Consider three things.

First, the American mid-term election of 1918 was set on the calendar. It was always going to occur as an event within American political life. Second, what wasn’t known was the appearance of influenza and its ferocious Wave Two. Third, what also wasn’t known was President Woodrow Wilson’s last-minute decision to insist that American voters turn out in support of his war policies and vote for congressional candidates who endorsed his wartime policies.

It’s the mixture of those three points that make for the reality of this day 102 years ago. This is the reality I’d like you to reflect upon for the time ahead in your life.

Your upcoming election day or election period, if you prefer, was always going to occur, just like 1918’s. The pandemic intervened in surprising fashion, and as it happens in multiple Waves as well. But you also have a war of sorts, a political war called World War Trump that consumes (or sucks up, if you prefer) time and energy and focus. All of this resembles or rhymes with 1918. Interesting.

Here’s where it gets fascinating.

World War Trump has a culminating campaign, just like World War One.

World War Trump has a culminating event, the outcome, just like World War One, the cease-fire and surrender.

World War Trump will have a post-event period of public expression (joy or sorrow, depending on your view and your preference for the winner), just like World War One.

Here’s where it gets unnerving yet dreadfully important for you to know and comprehend.

World War Trump will take on new features with new non-election markers, just like World War One and its draft peace treaty, treaty negotiations, and efforts to enact or not enact the final treaty within the American governmental system.

World War Trump will produce a counter-force sooner or later, from varying directions, just like World War One and its “return-to-normalcy” obsession, by-product, and intended/unintended consequences both here and overseas.

World War Trump will be a key step toward the next major epoch of American life, just like World War One linked in rhythmic pacing to a subsequent event of similar scale and substance.

This is the present yet to be past, the reality yet to be lived, the story yet to be told. Good things can and will come in its midst. Important and urgent things can be discovered which, if determined to be probabilities, can be altered. A vital moment of discernment will be to decide which of the things are probable, which are possible, and where the prefix “im” need to be attached.

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For Those Wanting To Bridge 2020 And 1918, A Reminder…

Warfluenza and Warcorona.

Warfluenza is what Americans experienced in 1918 when influenza interacted with their dominant issue and concern of the day, World War One. The illness comes to them through their handling of and coping with World War One. That’s why I want you to think of it as Warfluenza. The pandemic and the issue affect each other.

Warcorona is what Amercians are experienced in 2020 when coronavirus interacts with our dominant issue and concern of the day, World War Trump. Regardless of whether you love or hate Trump, Trumpism, and the Trump Presidency, it blends with the illness and thus we handle and cope with both together, inseparable. It’s Warfluenza updated to our world—Warcorona.

I want to reintroduce you to the world of Warfluenza’s Wave Two because we’re in Warcorona’s Wave Two right now with preschool-to-grad school education. If you have someone somewhere in that track, you’re in Wave Two. And so we’re following Warfluenza and Warcorona on exactly the same days across 102 years. Mark Twain is supposed to have said that history doesn’t repeat but it sure does rhyme. Count me as a “yes” to that statement.

As always, I invite you to reach out to me. Leave a comment here, email at dan@historicalsolutions.com , or text at 317-407-3687.