The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

This Too Shall Pass . . .

01/07/2021

There was a light summer rain that day in 2002, when I had a late meeting in the Rosslyn area, across the Potomac from the District of Columbia.  Listening to WTOP, the local traffic radio station, I learned the “spaghetti bowl” (the area between Rosslyn and the Pentagon) was jammed and not moving.  Deciding to read instead of waiting in traffic, I pulled off on Mead Street and parked across from the “Iwo Jima Memorial”.

It has a commanding view of the District, aligned almost perfectly with the Washington Monument and the Capitol building.  In the distance, the rain was heavier and the sky was darker.  I thought about the War of 1812, when the Capitol was burned and wondered how dark the sky was that day.  I thought about the Civil War, when major battles raged in too-close Bull Run and Fredericksburg and wondered how much they feared an invasion by Confederate soldiers.  I thought about the combined horrors of World War One and the Spanish Flu of 1918, crushing the spirit of the already-glum District, interrupted by the “Roaring 20’s” before plunging into the endless heartbreak of the Great Depression.  I wondered about the pervasive fear during World War Two that was hanging over the District, as we rebuilt our national economy while millions were dying abroad.

I remember the fires burning, as I circled the District in a C-130 all night, waiting to jump into the civil right riots when Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.  I remembered the Vietnam War protests, when medals for bravery were flung back at the Pentagon.  I remembered watching the Pentagon burn from my office window just the previous year on 9/11.

In 2002, all I knew about Donald Trump was that he was a pompous ass in New York City.  What I know today is that our country will survive Donald Trump.  We have already survived worse . . .

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