One nation and one spirit, divided: two contributions in a single

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My mind is split from the events of the day. Please read both columns that I wrote.

Here’s today’s first column:

America: a fable

Once upon a time there was a president with the temperament of a 6-year-old who served as the executive branch of a powerful country. This president believed that the police should be tougher in arresting criminals. He threatened North Korea with “fire and anger”. He said he was glad to have the boys with the guns in his warehouse.

I bet he liked vigilante movies.

This president has angered the country for four years. He gave a speech about the other party stealing an election and how the other party would destroy the country. He said people should fight for what they believe in. Some of his followers stormed the Capitol.

For the inauguration of the next president, 20,000 members of the National Guard protected the Capitol. That is more military personnel than America had deployed (together) in Afghanistan and Iraq at the time. Guns were issued to the guardsmen.

But the National Guard made a mistake. It did not monitor its members’ social media accounts. The National Guard distorts lower-middle-class white men, where the president found much of its support. During the inauguration day protests, 10,000 armed guardsmen decided to support the protesters instead of obeying the chain of command.

This is how America ended.

Here is today’s second column:

time for a break

I don’t want the government to silence you. I want everyone to voluntarily choose to silence themselves.

I want the crackpots on the left to stop talking about “defusing the police” for just two years. You can talk about “police reform”. If a speaker or staff member says or does something insensitive or offensive, do not boycott or fire the person. Explain to the person what they did wrong and hope for a better next time. Don’t worry about who wants to urinate in which bathroom. Every bathroom is fine. For two years only.

For just two years, I want the crackpots of the law to stop calling members of the other party “socialists”. You can talk about “progressives”. Don’t say the people in the other party are going to destroy your country. Don’t say that the people in the other party believe there is a riot. The other party can be said to believe in political protests and some small groups within those protests are sometimes excited. For two years only.

During those two years, I want the legislation to be led by bipartisan or bipartisan committees that think about reform. Legislators should agree to accept the recommendations of the committees.

Can we engage in a redistribution that makes most congressional districts competitive so that radicals of the left or right lose elections and moderates win?

Should we mandate or give a tax credit for voting? Politicians are running negative ads today to lower the turnout of supporters of the opposing party on election day. If people were asked or encouraged to vote, politicians would potentially stop advertising this way.

States should experiment with “top two primary systems” in which all candidates are listed in the same primary election and the top two candidates, regardless of their party, advance to the general election.

And so on, including ideas from people who are much smarter than me.

Let us carry out these reforms so that our country leans towards the center and becomes more governable.

And then after two years we can scream again.

I promise.

Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner in a leading international law firm and is now Deputy General Counsel in a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon Guide to Legal Practice and Litigation liability strategy for drugs and devicesand (Affiliate links). You can reach him by email at

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