Just when one tries easing their way back to real work on a really bad back, a headline pops up that simply has to be addressed, and the one found in Rawstory this morning certainly qualifies. Historian Stephanie McCurry of Columbia states within the New York Times, that the United States is closer to civil war than at any point since the 1850s when slavery split the country at our seams.
I do not see an Abraham Lincoln in sight, damn sure not the Buchanon we have in the White House right now. We are in a bad place.
“At that point, what you’re looking at is this sense of powerlessness all around about the ability of any institution to mediate not just a political conflict, but a conflict of fundamental values,” she said. “That’s maybe something like what we’re dealing with right now.”
Yes, true, one way to ensure that the powerlessness is felt by individuals of all stripes, since this crosses party lines, is to place near all political power within the hands of corporate America, as the Citizens United and McClutcheon cases certainly did. Our elected officials are elected by dollars, not votes, and in such a scenario, it is normal for people to feel alienated from the process.
Even more striking, he says, is that Trump supporters’ feelings of cultural alienation have actually increased slightly since his election.
“Trump is continually stoking these feelings of resentment, of loss,” he said. “If you’re already primed to feel that way, getting a sort of regular dose of that kind of rhetoric I thinkwould cause you to continue to believe it.”
Trump is campaigning, he never stopped, using the only campaign strategy he has. Most presidents attempt to appeal to the widest swath of voters, and some know that being president means president to everyone, not just the people who elected him or her. Trump has no such illusions, he is going to “win” re-election and win generally by holding tight to that small minority who elected him once already. Moreover, Trump doesn’t want to govern in any other way. He wants to cause division, he wants to destroy the regular course of things. He resents anything he sees as traditional power, and he resents anyone and everyone who doesn’t swear fealty without conditions. Ergo, Trump governs only one way.
But, I come up short of worrying about a real Civil War. No, to have a real war nowadays, even taking nukes out of the equation, one must control satellites. Unless one can somehow control the satellite communications systems, there is near no point in even thinking about a generalized hot war.
But, we could have what I’ve called the Cold Civil War, where the government essentially ceases to function, and where both sides engage in asymmetrical warfare – isolated terrorist attacks. I think we’re almost lucky to have avoided most of that so far. But, I will also state, that the violence that we do see occur, generally does come from the right. After all, there were not “good people on both sides” at Charlottesville.
That is nothing. What happens if the Democrats take back the presidency and have the majority in both houses, but the Supreme Court continually rejects every bill passed? Then the Democrats begin talk of “packing the court,” stoking ever greater resentments that the right has now been told they are right to feel? I think at that point violence will become much more widespread.
I do not see a situation where the states of Oregon and Washington invade Idaho and Montana. But, that is almost beside the point. We can make it such that “war” is being waged, just not on battlefields. Hell, that sounds familiar.
One other last little thing? Generally speaking, one way to unite Americans is to have a common enemy. If Mueller can prove Russian interference, then one might think that Russia could really be seen as a foe. However, here – too, Republicans really cannot be trusted because so long as the end goal is to “own the libs,” conservatives really don’t care if Russia is helping them own the libs. The guys with the T-shirts were serious, they’d rather be Russian than liberal.
Maybe the professor is right.