American Civil War Redux

The new American Civil War is not about slavery, but it contains undertones of racism.  It is not neatly divided along an imaginary line such as the Mason-Dixon line, but the divide is a much finer line, splitting homes, schools, families, and workplaces.  As was the case in the 1860s, there is no middle ground.  There are no soldiers in uniforms carrying guns, yet, but there are the media, both mainstream and social.  I have dubbed this war ‘The Great Divide’, and not since the civil rights era has this nation been so ideologically divided.

Trump’s dilemma, of which he is seemingly unaware, is how to unite the people of this nation.  Trump claims that he did not create the divide, and in that he is right.  America has always had a political divide; one that was probably at its smallest in the years immediately following World War II, when the nation came together in relief and the beginnings of a new prosperity.  But since the origination of the so-called Tea Party movement in 2009, the divide has been growing exponentially.  Ostensibly, the movement is in opposition to excessive taxation and government intervention in the private sector while supporting stronger immigration controls.  But beneath the surface, there are undertones of bigotry.  The beginning of the movement can be traced back to 19 February 2009, less than a month after the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president.

With the divisiveness generated by the dissatisfaction of those associated with the Tea Party movement, the gap between right and left, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, began to widen.  The right swung farther to the right and the left pushed back by going farther to the left.  By the end of President Obama’s first term in 2013, there was no longer any noticeable middle ground, no moderates who might have been able to help bridge the gap.

During President Obama’s second term, the gap continued to widen, with Republicans in Congress determined to throw up barricades to any and all of the President’s policies, even those they agreed with in theory.  The term, A House Divided, came to be the reality of the U.S. government, with Congress accomplishing less and less each year, and the President barely able to direct any meaningful domestic policy.

Enter the 2016 election and one narcissistic, demagogue candidate whose only hope to win the election was to “divide and conquer”.  So no, Donald Trump did not cause the divide, however he widened the gap by a very large margin.  He ranted, lied, cheated and stole, figuring either that he would clean up the mess later, or that it would eventually take care of itself.  But guess what?  Since taking office, he has only added to the gap, without the slightest attempt to bring the two sides together.  Now, nearly one-third of the way through 2017, there is more hatred, more disruptiveness, more bigotry, and more divisiveness than at any time in the last 50 years.

Which brings me back to my original point:  Donald Trump has many problems facing him, however perhaps the biggest one is the society that he helped split into two radically differing sectors.  Yet, instead of attempting to be more moderate, to take into consideration the needs and ideologies of both sides, he is as a bulldozer, plowing his way through any who do not agree with him.  Those in his camp applaud, while those outside the camp only get angrier and feel more and more marginalized.

A president needs to be much more than a politician.  He must also be a statesman and a diplomat, for he answers to ALL the people, not just those of his party, not just those who voted for him, and not just those who nod their heads in agreement every time he opens his mouth.  He represents We The People, every single man, woman and child living in this nation, and if he forgets that, he is doomed to failure.  Donald Trump has not forgotten that … he just never understood it to begin with.

We have seen much destruction and devastation within our country in the past three months, and if Trump persists in his goals to build a wall, to deport refugees, to ban immigrants, to defund environmental protections, to defund public schools, to destroy the ACA, and to strip civil rights from minorities, there will indeed be a civil war in this nation.  Where President Obama worked toward creating transparency in government, Trump has pulled the curtains shut tightly.  Where President Obama sought inclusiveness for all, Trump’s policies are clearly exclusionary.

Thus far, the only thing that has halted major outbreaks of violence throughout the nation is the expectation by those of us on the left that the investigations into the Russian connections of Trump and his gang will ultimately result in charges of treason, and Trump will be impeached.  In the event that those investigations are somehow stifled, or go by the wayside without satisfactory results, there will be an internal war in the United States.  There will be riots such as have not been seen in 50 years, families will be split asunder, and people will die.

I gave this much thought before writing this post, and searched my own soul, asking myself if I was being an alarmist.  The end result, after weeks of thought, is that no, I am not an alarmist.  I am, just as I have always been, a realist.  I talk to people on both sides of the invisible fence, and I know that both are spoiling for a fight. And the Great Divide goes well beyond politics, beyond even ideology … it goes to the core of who we are.

At this point, there are no simple solutions, no panaceas, and it will require more than our elected representatives can do to fix the problem. It will require that each of us, no matter which side of the partisan aisle we support, find it in our hearts to remember our humanitarianism, to be flexible, to be willing to meet the other halfway.  However, Trump and Congress must be the drivers of any possible solution. If they fail to understand the magnitude of the problem, if they ignore the problem and further divide the nation, if they discount We The People, they have only themselves to blame for being short-sighted.  They will pay the price at the polls next year, but we will pay in the streets this year.  Think about it.

28 thoughts on “American Civil War Redux

  1. Alarmist? Not at all Jill. I’ve been worrying about this since 2008 and folk started squeaking about a president’s birth certificate etc. There are parallels with the 1850s and so onwards. There is a danger of a general, sliding disintegration in a federation which resembles The Holy Roman Empire.
    There is also a however the possibility of the moderates on both sides coming together in reaction to the nonsense being poured out from the extreme wings.
    You have a written constitution and that be very inconvenient for an administration

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you don’t think I was being too alarmist … some of my acquantences do, and I try to always make sure there is data that supports my speculation, but I’m human, and sometimes it is easy to jump into the fray, to get caught up in the emotions of the moment. Yes, I began seeing the signs 8-9 years ago, but thought it would settle down once Obama’s presidency settled and he proved himself. Well, he proved himself, but the WASP component of the American public never allowed the dust to settle. And then came Trump. But frankly, I think we would still be experiencing turmoil even if Hillary had been elected, as at that point, the divide was already too great.

      I do hope you’re right and that the more reasonable, moderate elements on both sides find a way to work together in the best interest of the nation as a whole. If they don’t … I really don’t know what to expect, but it certainly leaves a lot of food for the imagination, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jill.
        No, you are being quite balanced in this.
        The USA is but 250 (approx.) years old and this a briefness in history. Across the world great states, unions of states and empires have come and gone over longer periods but as a result not so much of conquest but by internal fracturing.
        Although (as previously argued) the US has many fine theoretical safeguards built in, its peoples are subject to the same forces, motivations, passions and weakness as everyone else.
        This could be simply one crisis which will be navigated or it could be the path to a change in your history.
        The choice lies with THE PEOPLE, at this stage many would do well to read some general histories covering the broad sweep on the rise and fall of nations and empires; there are lessons to be learnt.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have wondered the same: will we navigate this crisis, or will it cause changes in the structure of the nation? Time will tell. You are right … many would do well to read histories, but in truth … many would do well to read. Period. It is one of the things I have noticed in the past year or so … those whose opinions are simply that … opinions, with no basis in fact … are not readers. In fact, one friend recently told me that she reads the sale papers on Sunday, and that is all she reads. Could be that this is a big part of the problem, yes? Now THAT speculation leads me to draw another conclusion, as yet untested. Could it be that technology is leading the human race backward rather than forward? Have we spoon-fed information, making it so easy to find anything you want to know with the click of a mouse, that people are content to watch television, play video games, and occasionally visit Wikipedia, Fox News, or Facebook to find out what is going on in the world? Could this be the explanation for … so many things? I cannot imagine a life without books … just shoot me now! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Funny you should say that. SF writers of the 1950s & 60s particularly in the US had two preoccupations- nuclear war…..understandable, but also the loss of education in particular literacy. Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ being the principal go-to book on the subject.
            This is why the WP community is a shining light! 😃

            Liked by 1 person

            • I never got into Sci-Fi, so haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, but now you have piqued my interest, as you so often do. And yes, after spending even just a few minutes on Facebook, I come to WP for ‘conversation’ with people who read, think, and have intelligent opinions. People who believe in facts, not those fluffy ‘alternative’ facts. And … civil discourse! Cannot find that much anywhere else these days. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • Bradbury could glide between SF, Horror, and social commentary with great ease.
                Fahrenheit 451 although classified by some as SF, the SF elements is minimal; the central character is a fireman- fireman are a quasi-police force do not put out fires, they burn books, which are illegal, the only form of entertainment or communication is through govt controlled TV and although I’m guessing Bradbury was influenced by Orwell’s 1984 he makes the story his own…..I will say no more.
                Oh dontcha just love those posts on social media where someone gives you a YouTube link as ‘evidence’ of their point. I recall in a 9/11 ‘debate’ forum being given one has hard evidence of a conspiracy; it took me (not a journalist) 45 mins to demolish it and that included time watching (10 mins) , taking notes, checking back-stories and writing the reply…..In the immortal words of Fred Flintstone ‘Ohh boy!’
                And those self-aggrandising names like ‘Truthseeker’…..Oh my Sainted Aunt!!

                Liked by 1 person

                  • Ah FACTS…. the province only of Science I fear; also at least in that arena there is an atmosphere of constructive debate and an upfront willingness to admit (with some pride and enthusiasm ) that the FACTS are but a pathway to other FACTS.
                    As for anything else. Have fun.State that by ‘faktz you can conclusively predict how a person will vote by the type of pizza they order (or make) and the way they eat it.
                    When it comes to govt stats I am often drawn back to the chocolate ration announcement in 1984; one day Winston Smith hears it has to be decreased from (I think )45gms- 35 gms; the next day the announcement is that due to Big Brother’s foresight and planning the chocolate ration is being increased to 35gms, and poor Winston Smith is left struggling with the two conflicting statements.😉

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I believe things such as the chocolate ration conundrum is what ‘they’ refer to as alternative facts. Some thought that Trump invented the term (or, more aptly, Kellyanne), but it has been around for a long time. I am still amazed at the likes of Alex Jones, who claim 9/11 was a hoax, and the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. It is as if I am standing outside getting drenched by rain, and I tell you it isn’t raining. Sheesh! And what’s even more amazing is that people believe those things. I could probably convince at least a few that it wasn’t, in fact, raining! I used to like people, was once a sociable person … not so much anymore. Sigh.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • We’ve always had alternative facts and fake news. It’s nothing new, it’s as old as the day Big Urk told his people how he’d slain Big Nurk and ten of his men with a just a big stick, when he’d simply caught Big Nurk snoozing all by himself.
                      As for the CT crew, in particular the Sandy Hook mob, I would rather talk to the Alt Right, or unplug a blocked toilet with my bare hands

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I rest my case on you being Roger, the Walking, Talking Encyclopedia. I had never heard of either Urk or Nurk, and had to scurry on over to Google to see of what you were speaking! 😀 😀 😀

                      As to the choice between alt-right and toilet un-clogging … either one is equally disgusting … leaves me with a sense of …

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    DDT with his alt-right sidekicks Steve Bannon, Steve Miller, Sebastian Gorka, Julia Hahn and others in the WH are deliberately widening this gap, and they need to be called out by the republican party. BUT THOSE LAW MAKERS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE TURNING A BLIND EYE TO THIS ELEMENT WITHIN ITS MIDST.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and one must ask ‘why?’ Are they still expecting return favours for bowing to Trump’s wishes, or do they really think this is what their constituency wants? I simply cannot understand it at all! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This leader wanna-be should have long ago called this behavior on the carpet and not played a role in egging it on. Even he cannot put this hatred he helped unleash back in Pandora’s Box.

    Liked by 1 person

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