OK -- now for the ultimate weirdness. It works and here's what I did.
1. disabled priority inbox on the droid
2. I archived a non-priority message on my desktop computer, which is set up for priority inbox
Honestly, I believe it was the change from priority inbox to normal inbox. I'll re-enable priority inbox on my droid and post back on the results... how odd...
Still not working correctly, so I cleared cache and data on my droid x. Is there any way to reset the google account and password without doing a factory reset?
This *may* be solved. I did not do a factory reset. My friend read another idea to try. So here's what I believe did the trick.
1. Menu/Settings/Applications/Manage Applications/All/Gmail/Clear Cache and Clear Data
2. Menu/Settings/Accounts/gmail account/ disable all sync
3. reboot the droid x
4. Menu/Settings/Accounts/gmail account/ enable sync on what you use (I sync contacts, gmail, and calendar)
After these steps, i tried refreshing the droid x after archiving some messages on my desktop, and the changes did not refresh on the droid x. I sent an email from the droid x, and when I hit send, the droid x refreshed. After sending the email from the droid x, manual refresh seems to work on the droid x sometimes (maybe google listens to refresh requests based on a countdown timer?). But, so far, every time I send an email from the droid x, my inbox is refreshed.
Thanks for all your help. I hope I'm done with this for good... ;-)