Are we at the crossroads between “In Union there is Strength” and “Divide and Conquer?”


Collaboration, collaborators, unidentifiable “soldiers” gassing peaceful protesters. And finally some military leaders speaking out

A friend sent me an article from the HUFFPOST last night, “William Barr’s Vast, Nameless Army Is Being Brought To Bear On D.C. Protesters.” Her comment was, “Scary.” She asked if I had seen the article.

I replied, “I hadn’t seen this particular article but was aware, through other reporter’s descriptions, that many of the “law enforcement troopers(!)” did not have any visible affiliation or identification on their uniforms. 

But the article and the situation got me reading…and thinking.

Barr, of course, is one of the greatest enigmas in this whole sordid Trumpian mess. I don’t understand what motivates him and his behavior. But he’s clearly doing whatever he can to protect and defend this horror of a president and administration.

But there are others.

Anne Applebaum – “The Collaborators”

Apropos of Barr’s behavior (and Lindsey Graham’s and Tom Cotton’s and…), Anne Applebaum wrote a very long essay in the latest issue of The Atlantic about the history of collaboration and collaborators. The online title is “History Will Judge the Complicit” while the in-print title is “The Collaborators.”



In an interview on “Morning Joe” today, Joe Scarborough asked Anne Applebaum, “Are you hopeful that the democratic institutions will hold for the next six months?” Her reply, “In a lot of illiberal countries or countries that cease to be democracies, what comes next is the attempt to steal an election. Will Trump and will the Republican party collaborate in an attempt to steal this election? Will they try to change the rules? Will they mess around with distant voting?”

In her closing thoughts, Applebaum, in keeping with her theme of “collaboration,” said “do they (the GOP) value democracy in America enough to allow a real election to go through and to allow themselves to lose?”

Chilling that the questions even have to be asked. But, I guess, that’s the “state of the union.”

Admiral Mike Mullen (L); General James Mattis (R)

It is also ironic that when federal law enforcement is being prosecuted by unidentifiable personnel, military and apparently other, two former high-ranking military men, Mike Mullen (former Chairman of the JCS) and Jim Mattis (Four-star Marine general and former SecDef) have spoken out against this president and this presidency —again, in The Atlantic. (Interestingly, the impetus for Mattis to finally speak was when Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor showed him Mullen’s article). I’ve attached both Mullen’s and Mattis’ articles.

Link to Mullen:

Link to Mattis:

Mattis’ piece has the following quote which is both telling and horrifying:
“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’

Is it just me or is America at an unspeakable crossroads between “In Union there is Strength” and “Divide and Conquer?” And are we edging closer to the latter?

My friend was right. It is, in a word, scary.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

2 thoughts on “Are we at the crossroads between “In Union there is Strength” and “Divide and Conquer?”

  1. DC is in a very vulnerable position because Congress had never been willing to give it any of the protections afforded to states. The administration can bring in any type of federal officer they wish and the mayor of DC has nothing to say about it. No, they are not given a break on their taxes since they have less rights….
    We are already way past “divide and conquer”…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: