A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Flags at half-staff, for our country too

Written January 11th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The flags hanging at half-mast on Albany flagpoles Monday were meant to honor two members of the U.S. Capitol Police who lost their lives last week. They also express the sadness many of us feel for the blow America has suffered in the eyes of the world as well as our own.

A violent mob attacking Congress over an election — and apparently willing to murder government officials in the vain hope of changing the outcome — that was about as bad as it can get in our system of supposedly lawful self-government.

So on a ride Monday, when I saw those flags at half-staff limply hanging down for lack of a breeze, they seemed like fitting symbols of how deeply disheartened I and most other Americans are about what we saw on TV last week.

Two officers are dead. One died of injuries sustained in fighting the mob. The news says the other, who also was on duty when the attack took place, took his own life later. I don’t know if anyone knows the reason. But if it was despair over what he had witnessed, I can believe it.

The flags, lowered in line with a White House proclamation issued Sunday, will remain at half-mast for probably three days. Then they’ll again be raised to full height. Getting the country back in shape is harder and will take more time.

How can it be done? By no longer voting for the bozos on the right and the left that have dominated public discourse in recent years. Instead, by voting for people who believe in the Constitution and know what it says. (hh)

The flags at Albany Station on Monday, a gloomy day all the way around.


At the Albany Post Office, they evidently hadn’t got the word in time.








39 responses to “Flags at half-staff, for our country too”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Your “bozo” is another person’s “statesman”.

    And who is the more bozo-ish? The bozo or the bozo who votes for him/her?

    • Kathy Rogers says:

      Hasso’s point exactly. They are all bozos….where are our statesmen?

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        No, by his own words Hasso clearly has a list of bozo’s and a separate list of statesmen in mind.

        But he didn’t name names. So we are left to fill in the blanks with our own biased choices.

        Look no further than the last sentence in the screed submitted by Bob Woods. The bozo’s are clearly the Republicans. Bob said so. It must be true.

        Hasso’s article is a bunch of meaningless bits of data. We’ve learned nothing new.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
          — Alexis de Tocqueville

  2. M. Richner says:

    This sheds light on some of the reasons behind the current situation in America and the world: https://www.aier.org/article/many-pathways-to-policy-failure/

  3. Withheld says:

    Emotional and simplistic are two words that come to mind from reading your article.
    No voting for bozo’s? On either side? OK thanks, got it! Appreciate the pointers. I think you should run for president.

  4. HowlingCicada says:

    “””Getting the country back in shape … How can it be done? By no longer voting for the bozos on the right and the left that have dominated public discourse in recent years.”””

    I agree. Quick preview of how to accomplish that. More to follow, maybe.

    1 – Get rid of party primaries and general elections. Replace them with two (or possibly more) rounds of rank-choice all-party or no-party elections.

    2 – Do something about the electoral vote mess. Probably not as simple as a national popular vote for president.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Deduct 2 electoral votes (Senators) from every state. That will approximate the national popular vote.

    • centrist says:

      Within my memory, most candidates were appointed by Party machines. Voters were encouraged to vote a straight ticket. The primary system put the task of choosing a party’s candidate in the citizens’ hands. More recently, some folks feel excluded because they don’t declare a party. That is their choice.
      The electoral college is a puzzle, but eliminating it won’t solve much. The mechanism was built for a time when communication and travel were difficult. Continued use does no harm.
      The Founders were like-minded enough that they didn’t consider the party concept in laying our foundations. The college works OK with two parties, but not well with three.

  5. Bob Woods says:

    Thank you, again, Hasso.

    The FBI has put out an alert for armed protests in all the capitols of the 50 states for next week. We can hope, and for the religious pray, that the radicals are not successful in overthrowing representative government.

    Trump garnered 74,222,593 votes, 7 million votes less than Biden.

    Trump’s approval rating to, and through, the elections hovered around 43%. The polls as of tonight, the 11th, are now around 36%. So he has lost about 7% of the electorate.

    There were 155,504,095 votes cast in the election. 7% of that number is 10,885,287 voters. That means that Trump still has about 73,337,306 voters supporting him. That is a hell of a lot of people.

    Now the vast majority of those Trump supporters are certainly not prepared to overthrow the duly and freely elected government. But if 2% or Trump supporters are prepared to overthrow our democracy, that amounts to over 1,466,000 people.

    That’s a lot of people who can do a lot of permanent damage to the Republic.

    For the last 40+ years Conservatives have demonized anyone who is a “liberal”, treating them as a Communist. Notwithstanding the fact that Communism has been long dead and buried, it is a patently unfair characterization of the Democratic Party.

    The future of the country lies not in the hands of the Democratic majorities in the House, Senate and Whitehouse, but in the hands of the Republicans who lost.

    Are you Republicans willing to destroy our Democracy to take power?

    • Peggy says:

      Sorry but those Republicans are the ones wanting peace and supporting our constitutional rights! Nothing but biased people in the media all the way around. The liberal left are the ones burning own our cities and rioting/looting! The conservatives do not do that!

    • Birdieken says:

      How’s that democracy working in the rust belt? Would you rather have a job or a government check? How does one become a billionaire paying their fair share? Once the Constitution is gutted are we still a Democracy?

    • Deborah Lynne says:

      Are you aware that unprecedented censorship is taking place by “big tech”? President Trump has been blocked from Twitter. He and people who are interested in what he has to say moved to Parler. Parler was turned off by the company hosting the site. Apple, Google and others have blocked President Trump from using any of their platforms. You not be a fan of Trump but the fact that an unelected group of companies can effectively cut off a sitting president from all public forums should be a cause for concern to all of us.

      • Just Sayin' says:

        Terms and conditions for using websites like Twitter and Facebook state they have full rights to suspend and ban all accounts. This is not censorship in any way. Trump also has a conference room for any announcements he needs to make, 24/7. Parler was removed for the mass amount of violence it was promoting by its users.

        Also, freedom of speech does not mean freedom of repercussions. Because Trump has been promoting violence and terrorism within our Country, I do believe he should be barred from the websites.

  6. John Klock says:

    Be careful about automatically labeling people on the left, just because you want to be journalistically balanced. You call out idiots and terrorists by who they are and don’t rationalize that both sides do it. Otherwise you dumb down the argument and have no recourse but to be general in your reporting. Be brave and call out who is doing the damage, even if it is your friends.

  7. Deborah Lynne says:

    Did anyone watch the capitol “invasion” on UTube while it was happening? If you had you would have seen a different picture than the one you get from the media. What I saw was people who were standing surrounding the capitol building singing the National Anthem. They were chanting “stop the steal” and I believe were there to encourage Congress to investigate the voter fraud that clearly occurred in states with Dominion voting machines.

    The legal protesters pulled down many bad actors who were scaling the walls to get inside and damage the place. Early on I saw men in what looked like police uniforms opening the barriers so the huge crowd of people could have access to the building. I also saw what looked like Capitol personnel leading people up the stairs into the Representative’s offices.

    I saw the video of Ashli Babbitt being shot. It seemed unnecessary since she was not armed or doing anything threatening. She was an Air Force veteran and was there to protest the vote fraud.

    This was not a riot. I have also watched the “peaceful” protests in Portland and there is no comparison between the two events.

    I am left with many questions. Why is a legal protest being characterized as a shocking attack on the capitol when the damage was done by a few bad actors? If they were fearful why did the police open the barriers and stand around chatting with the people in the protest? Doesn’t the Capitol building have locks on the doors? Why were people allowed to stroll inside instead of being locked out? What exactly happened to cause the deaths of police and Ashli Babbitt and have the people responsible been arrested?

    After watching the Capitol protest in real time on UTube, I realized that this story is not as simple as we have been lead to believe. We should be ashamed of ourselves only if we do not allow a full investigation of this protest. We should not be ashamed of the protest itself. While we are horrified by the violence, and there should never be violence, citizens asking questions of their government is an essential part of our freedom.

    We should also demand answers about the voting irregularities which lead to the protest originally. I read a poll that said 90% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats think the election was illegitimate. They will not be convinced otherwise unless a full and fair investigation of the voting irregularities is conducted.

  8. Deborah Lynne says:

    Let me add to what I commented earlier: The police offer who died was named Brian Sicknick. The protester who died was named Ashli Babbitt. Regrettably three other people died from medical emergencies during the protest. This was not an insurrection. People were there to voice their concern about the fraudulent vote count in several states.

    • Just Sayin' says:

      What happened on Wednesday was a terrorist attack on the Capitol building by a cult. You say they were there to voice their concerns, but the nooses, pipe bombs, restraints, and guns that were brought say differently. People were there to force votes out when it has been proven that there was no vote fraud countless times. Trump egged his cult to go attack the Capitol and to force a change. Simple as that.

      • Deborah Lynne says:

        It is had to prove a negative, but the voter fraud concerns have not been definitively answered, let alone “proved” it did not happen. This brings up another concern for me. Since none of us can identify a truly neutral news source, we are living in two alternate realities. How do we bridge the gap between the two sets of facts and the two worlds it creates?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Civil discourse can go a long way – as well as willingness to “hear” (listen) what the other viewpoints are. Being able to legitimately compromise helps too…

  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’m sure the Communists are pleased with the election results.

  10. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “You will find here adulations and accusations under tyranny, evils not unknown to this age: nothing genuine, nothing sincere, and no sure faith among friends … many bitter and sad things for the reader, but let each of us think on the words of Thrasea, even as he was dying: ‘Behold, young man, (and may the gods avert the omen) you have been born into a time when it is useful to fortify the mind with firm examples’.”
    — Justus Lipsius (1547–1606)

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      There’s a lot of dead people that have said a lot of crap. Just because they’re dead doesn’t make them right.

  11. Nate says:

    Thank you Mr. Hering for your piece. I wholeheartedly agree with you.
    As to a couple of the comments below, I find them off base and untrue and disagree with them. Most people who voted for Biden are absolutely not communists! Also, Trump has no respect for the Constitution.

    • Al Nyman says:

      This from a guy who supports sanctuary cities, illegal immigrants, voting without ID, and many other lofty points from the Democrats. Which constitution violation did Trump do that offends you?

  12. Adam says:

    Unfortunately, many of the comments here were predictable and that’s exactly the problem. Each one of us seems to know why this happened and who is at fault.

    My guess is that no one is completely right. What I do know is that our adversaries are grinning and happy. They don’t need to do anything to break America apart; we are doing it ourselves. Take a minute to read some foreign newspapers and you will be surprised at what you see. The Russians and Chinese, Iranian and many other governments are loving this. It goes without saying that we are doing their dirty work for them.

    It is time to listen to the other side. You don’t have to agree, just try to listen. What is clearly apparent is that some of us just want to inflict some kind of retribution on the other, even if it is only verbal. Folks, that does not work to make us a better country and move us forward.

    I do a lot of traveling and have driven many highways. Over time I have come across too many accidents where people were badly injured. I didn’t stop to ask them what their political or philosophical leaning was before I helped, I just plowed in and did what I could because it was the right thing to do. Our country was once a place where that personal presence predominated. We need to get there again because we have more in common than we don’t, and that needs to be the focus.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      As a lifetime member of the VFW & DAV, I will defend anyone’s right to have radically different viewpoints than mine — and to assemble and peacefully protest. Obviously storming & breaching the capitol is NOT even remotely acceptable in any fashion!

      However, simply being there and in proximity to the events that unfolded, while distasteful as that is to many folks, it does not cross the line IMO. How far away from the storming debacle does one have to be before their constitutional rights are upheld? (It sure seemed to me by watching the newscasts that the vast majority of the folks in attendance were just “there.”)

      Right or wrong, even SCOTUS upheld allowing neo-Nazis to march in Skokie because of their constitutional rights: https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-history-taking-stand-free-speech-skokie

      That said, IF it can be shown that if anyone actively participated in the “storming & breaching” of the capitol, then they absolutely should be arrested and prosecuted!

      Hey, our democracy is and always has been “messy.” But I know of no other process that is better. This too shall pass…

      • excaliber says:

        “However, simply being there and in proximity to the events that unfolded, while distasteful as that is to many folks, it does not cross the line IMO.”

        Perfectly stated Ray.

        For instance, if I yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater, it’s not my fault some gets squished to death just as long as I didn’t step on them.

  13. centrist says:

    Thanks for the well-presented essay.
    Our republic was indeed in danger on January 6. My worry was that those who broke into the Capitol were bent on taking prisoners or kidnapping our legislative branch. Timely effort by a few dedicated individuals secured the chambers and moved the members to safe locations.
    The half-staff flags honor not just the dead, but also those acted and survived.

  14. Withheld says:

    The 6th ended up being dominated by false flag agent provocoteurs of Antifa and BLM. Many on the left are choosing to be willfully blind to this fact. We are being played.

  15. Bob Woods says:

    The amount of lies being spewed is truly staggering. Well Hasso, here’s 2021. It may be worse than 2020.


  16. Birdieken says:

    Riots where okay for months on the left while effecting the people but when the riots started to hit home with the ruling class, moral outrage followed. Riots are never okay and shouldn’t ever be a double standard used for political gain.

  17. excaliber says:

    I don’t think President Trump should be impeached. He is the best president we have ever had. What other president has been able to change the course of a hurricane with the stroke of a pen?

  18. Tim Siddiqui says:

    What’s happening is very sad and upsetting. But I also believe this is temporary, America will continue to grow and evolve as she has for the first 240 years. No body domestic or foreign ought to bet against America.


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