Friday, September 11, 2020


This blog is celebrating its seventh anniversary today, 11 September 2020. I started it on Sept. 11, 2013, expecting it to last briefly. I had no idea it would still be going seven years later. I never imagined that so many people would care to read the modest postings I would offer.  I set up this blog for two reasons, to keep people informed of the progress of my research and writing a history of the schism, and to help keep people informed of what was happening to the two sides in the aftermath of the split of October 15, 2012. The book was published in August of 2017, so that part is over. I am now contemplating a new volume or a revised version of the original book once all of the litigation is over, that is, if I live long enough, which at the pace of the litigation is entirely dubious. 

When the secessionists started the legal war on January 4, 2013, I expected the litigation would last a few years and all would be over and settled long before 2020. I had no idea which side would prevail. Here we are seven and a half years later and the legal war is still dragging on. This is frustrating because the Church has won in both federal and state courts, yet nothing is settled. Right now we are in appeals, again. The Church side is appealing Judge Dickson's outrageous attempt to nullify the South Carolina Supreme Court decision of August 2, 2017. The breakaway side is appealing federal Judge Gergel's masterful order of September 2019 which recognized the Church diocese as the heir of the historic diocese and placed an injunction of the secessionists to prevent them from pretending to be the old diocese. I expect the Church appeal to go to the SC Supreme Court and the Anglican appeal to be rejected by the federal appeals court. This should happen within the next few months. However, no one can predict a time frame for all of this. The breakaway side has shown it will deny, delay, and appeal until the cows come home. This whole mess could drag on for years to come. God only knows when it will all be over.

As the litigation seemed to be going on forever, I changed the purpose of this blog from providing information and comment on the schism to other topics I considered of importance. I changed the name from "The Episcopal Church Schism in South Carolina" to "Ron Caldwell's Blog" to reflect the change. Lately, in addition to the schism, I have been paying attention to the crises going on in our lives, particularly the pandemic and the coming election. 

Speaking of the election, I must confess that I made a misjudgment about President Trump and I need to clear it up now. All along I have characterized Trump as incompetent, meaning unable to understand and handle the many issues and problems around the presidency. I tended to view him as a morally and ethically vacant entertainer, all show and no substance. As for the virus, I assumed he cared nothing and knew nothing about it until it was too late. So, I attributed all of Trump's shortcomings to simply being incompetent. 

We now know this view of Trump was and is incorrect. Two days ago, the journalist Bob Woodward released 18 taped conversations between himself and Trump made this year [nine recorded hours of a president speaking candidly in real time, in the middle of a national crisis, is an historian's gold mine]. Trump revealed he knew in January of the seriousness of the coronavirus and that he remained very well aware of all the truth about the coming pandemic from then on. He called it "deadly stuff." Indeed. Knowing what he knew, he went on to make two fateful choices: to keep the truth about the pandemic from the American people, and to make no concerted national effort to stop or lessen the pandemic in the U.S. In fact, in many ways he tried to stop what efforts there were of mitigation.

Trump's own words on tape show he was not morally and ethically vacant. In my view, his actions were decidedly immoral and unethical. So, it is not correct to say President Trump was incompetent. In fact, the tapes prove he knew very well what he was doing and set about to do it methodically. At least as a partial result of his choices, the U.S. has had by far the most cases and deaths in the world. We are now looking at nearly 200,000 dead Americans, far more than any country on the globe. We do not know Trump's motives for this historic dereliction of duty, but they really do not matter at this point. The effects of his actions are the important things at hand, and they are devastating. 

To put this in perspective, suppose right after impact, Captain Smith had kept secret the fact that Titanic had hit an iceberg and was fatally wounded, perhaps because he did not want the people to "panic." In time, it would have become obvious to everyone onboard the ship was going under and taking some 2,200 people with it but by then the tilt of the ship would have made launching lifeboats very difficult if possible at all. Probably everyone on board would have died in the icy waters. That did not happen as some 700 passengers did get into lifeboats and were rescued. There would have been more except Smith could not get people to realize the danger for a long time. Smith's heart-wrenching decision to spread the alarm early on kept the disaster from becoming a catastrophe (Smith was last seen at his post on the bridge). When it really counted, Captain Smith made decisions of great moral and ethical courage.     

The only other incident in modern American history to rival Trump's mishandling of the pandemic was President George W. Bush's creation of a war against Iraq on the twin charges that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was developing a nuclear weapons program. Both were false. We still do not know if Bush knew these were lies, or actually believed they were true because he was surrounded by neo-con advisers who assured him they were true. This is not the case with Trump. He knew the truth about the coming pandemic from day one and yet chose to deny its existence and to do virtually nothing to stop it. In my thinking, what Trump did was worse that what Bush had done. Trump knew the suffering, death, and national turmoil that was likely to happen, yet he tried to hide the truth as he refused to make a national plan to mitigate the disease. He left it up to the states and local governments. His motives for doing this are still unclear. He claimed to Woodward he did not want to "panic" the nation. This notion has no credibility considering that we have had nothing but chaos, confusion, and turmoil from his administration for the past three and a half years. With Trump it is a drama a day. Since panic is what he thrives on, his excuse of wanting to prevent panic was and is ludicrous.

Knowing all we know about Trump, his handling of the pandemic should not be surprising, but I still find it shocking and deeply disappointing. We have come to expect our presidents to act in the nation's best interests, or at least try. Trump failed at this spectacularly and he will be forever known in history as the president of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The greatest and richest country in the history of the world is now laid low by an incredibly tiny organism. It is a national humiliation.

Trump's new tapes will certainly hurt his chances of getting reelected and I suppose Democrats as myself should be glad, but I am not. I grieve for my country. I grieve for the 193,000 Americans who died. I grieve for the families who lost their loved ones. I grieve for the millions who lost their jobs and for those made hungry and homeless. 

Back to the anniversary of this blog, I am sure I have benefited the most from this long venture. If you have found this space useful, I am doubly glad.

What will happen in the next seven years? God only knows. We are now in trying times. Whatever comes our way, we will all face it together, I hope with all the strength and courage we can muster. I expect to keep up this blog as long as I can and readers find it of interest and use. If it helps even a little bit to get us through the crises upon us, it will have been worth it. Thank you reader, for giving me your time and attention all these years. I look forward to more years. Peace.