Something To Think About

Yesterday I came across this OpEd in The Hill by William S. Becker, a U.S. Army combat correspondent in the Vietnam War who is currently executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, a nonpartisan think tank that develops recommendations on federal energy and climate policies.  Talk of a new civil war breaking out is the ‘in’ thing these days, and I find it a) disgusting, and b) irresponsible.  Mr. Becker examines the threat and what feeds it.

When civil war becomes all the rage

BY William S. Becker, Opinion Contributor – 10/07/22

There was a time when Americans had values. It seems those values have disappeared, and many things that used to be unacceptable, even unthinkable, became common.

When did it become acceptable to lie? Or to spread fake conspiracies? Or to govern with fear rather than ideas? When did it become okay to deny and reject what the majority of Americans decide? Is it now socially acceptable to send death threats to people with whom we disagree? Is it responsible for a sitting United States congresswoman to make outrageously false statements like “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings,” as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) recently did. However, all the automatic weapons and body armor that are now de rigueur under the GOP tent indicate the shoe is likely on the other foot.

When did we decide a president, current or former, is above the law — actually, above many laws in the case of Donald Trump — and law enforcement agents should be targeted for investigating? Where does free speech stop, and domestic terrorism begin? Don’t vile threats against individual Americans and their families cross the line?

When did it become acceptable for militants to lock, load and try to incite civil war in America? The New York Times, quoting data from media-tracking services, reports that mentions of civil war are no longer confined to radical groups. The threats have become common on social media. They jumped 3,000 percent in the hours after the FBI confiscated documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Largo home.

With no apparent regret about the 2021 insurrection, Trump predicts that if he’s indicted, “you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was more explicit, predicting “riots in the street.” These high-level provocateurs hide behind the First Amendment, but social media traffic shows that militant groups and individuals have received the actual message. Others get the message, too. As the New York Times notes, a survey in August found that 54 percent of “strong Republicans” believe a civil war of some kind is at least somewhat likely in the next decade.

As one of the millions of Americans who have experienced combat, I have few observations:

First, fantasies of violence against the government come too easily for the armchair soldiers who have never experienced war. The scenes from Ukraine are a hint. War not only destroys buildings; it also destroys emotional health, livelihoods, families and souls. Unless men in combat are exceptionally good at compartmentalizing the experience and dehumanizing the enemy, wars remake the soldiers who fight them. Many become addicted to the camaraderie, clarity of mission, adrenaline rush, as well as the gift and guilt of survival. Many learn the limits of their compassion, caring and resilience. Some discover an inner monster that is licensed in war but has no place in civilized society unless it finds or starts another war. I suspect that describes some of my brothers in today’s militant groups.

Second, Trump is a cult leader, not a national leader. He is not a patriot. He is not and never will be a savior. It makes no difference how immense his fortune is, how many lawyers he stiffs, or that he was president for a time. If we believe rich and powerful Americans should be held to the same standards of justice and social responsibility as we in the 99 percent, then we should not object to holding him accountable for his conduct as a businessman and politician.

Third, if militants want to take over the government, they should tell us what they plan to do with it. What is their agenda? Do they have a vision? Do they share one beyond killing democracy? Do most Americans agree with them, or do these groups plan to impose and enforce their version of America with a police state?

Trump, too, never really defined what he meant by “great” in the slogan he stole from Ronald Reagan to “make American great again.” If it meant draining the swamp, he didn’t. If it meant fanning the flames of racism, hate and domestic terrorism,he obviously succeeded. His ongoing legacy — a nation at war with itself — is the opposite of great. A county whose people don’t trust their democracy is not great, either. And a nation so vulnerable to blatant falsehoods and crazy conspiracy theories is ripe for totalitarianism.

After the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, the violent groups that participated reportedly went home and decided on a different type of uprising. They began running for public office, presumably to carry out their objectives by working within the system. That’s more difficult than pulling a trigger or scribbling a death threat but testing their ideas in the public square is the right way to do it. The Washington Post reports that 299 Republican candidates for Congress and important state offices deny that the 2020 election was valid.

The upcoming November elections are a test of whether voters will choose the candidates dedicated to the values that built and sustained our country, or to the minions Trump has chosen. As we approach the midterms, we must ask ourselves: Who should rule America? Will it be the majority of Americans and the president they chose two years ago? Or will it be the trolls who spread hate and the homegrown terrorists who vote with bullets and bombs?

56 thoughts on “Something To Think About

  1. Thank you for sharing!!.. I don’t believe there will be a “civil” war, there may be some violence (like Jan. 6, etc.), most is just a lot of the talk and ranting by elements of today’s society because they can… 🙂
    As for the leadership, they will bow to the will of the people that put them into office, if for no other reason than to protect their job (example, Liz Cheney and others).. so in the end, the problem lies with the people themselves and a divided nation…. 🙂
    What we are seeing today is a element of today’s society that are closed minded and trying to deny change and any thinking that they believe may be a threat to their way of life… and like “drowning men grabbing at straws” will grab onto anything they believe will support them and the politicians, etc. take advantage of that… 🙂
    Hopefully in time, more and more people will come together, wisdom will prevail and a new and better normal will happen… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like you, I don’t believe there will be a Civil War, which would require a high degree of cohesion, cooperation, shared values, and planning on both sides. I do, however, sense that the violence in this nation will be taken to levels we have certainly never seen in our lifetimes, not even during the Vietnam War. When there are such white ‘nationalist’ groups as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, neo-Nazis and others ready and willing to take up arms, and politicians like Lindsey Graham and others who subtly invite and incite such violence, and candidates on the ballot who have taken a page out of Trump’s playbook and say they will only accept the results of their election if they win … it is a recipe for disaster. I hope I’m wrong … I really do hope I’m wrong.

      You have more faith in the office holders, present and future, than I do. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and even Mitt Romney are not the face of the Republican Party today … they are the more moderate voices that are being shoved out by those who swore an oath of fealty to Donald Trump and who plan to escort him back into the Oval Office by hook or by crook. As I say, you have a brighter outlook than I do at the moment, and I really hope you are right!

      Many thanks for the much-needed uplifting Irish Saying, my friend!


      • I hope in time that wisdom will prevail and the office holders will work together but not likely as long as the country remains divided which is why I spend most of my time doing what I can while working with others… 🙂

        As for Liz Cheney, I was using her as an example of what happens to a office holder who goes against the thinking of the voters who put them in office and why they are reluctant to follow their conscious.. 🙂

        Again, the issue is with the people…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m afraid that I’ve largely given up hope that wisdom will prevail, for wisdom seems to be becoming a precious and rare commodity these days. You’re a good man, Dutch, and you’re doing what you can to help others … that’s far more important than what the politicos and wealthy are doing.

          As for Liz Cheney … and others like her … there seems to no longer be a moderate branch of the GOP … it has been eaten alive by Trump and the maga crowd. Sigh.

          Yes, and I no longer trust the people, my friend. No longer trust people to even understand that they are acting against their own best interests.


  2. It’s frightening what’s going on. It’s like people don’t realize democracy is at stake with their whining about inflation and blaming Biden. Lol, is Biden responsible for the global inflation? And had to laugh at Conald’s 4 out of 10 words in his grade school vocabulary, ‘the likes of which’, getting so old. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the 40% or so who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed truly do not realize what is at stake with this election. Yep, there is a concerted move to blame Biden for anything and everything that goes wrong, including fuel prices and inflation that are a global problem, not unique to the U.S. And, people don’t seem to realize that economic woes pale in comparison to the woes we will have in another year or two if we don’t start truly addressing climate change! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m in no way an expert on internal American politics but I can somehow understand the voices calling for a civil war. Everybody knows that the USA is slipping and sliding downhills and the empire being destroyed from the inside. So many people see the necessity of a cathartic episode in the life of America.
    Maybe not a civil war but a second American revolution. Only this time a real one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I can understand it too, but I’m a pacifist and believe that violence is NEVER the answer, so I would prefer we find more peaceful ways of resolving our differences. A bit of give-and-take on both sides is really needed right now!


  4. Breaking News:
    January 6 committee votes to subpoena former president Donald Trump
    On Thursday, the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, voted 9-0 to subpoena former president Donald Trump for testimony and documents during its last hearing before the midterm elections. It remains unclear whether Trump will comply with the subpoena, POLITICO reports. Thursday’s hearing considered the state of mind of the former president before and after the election as well as the ongoing effects of Trump and others continuing to make false claims about the 2020 election, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, quite simply, we need people in leadership positions to actually lead, especially on the Republican side. The truth matters and unfortunately it has less currency in the GOP which has a dearth of veritas and gravitas. The Big Lie needs to be forcibly squelched as it continues to divide us. We also need these leaders to denounce violence as having no place. And, these leaders need to set the stage that the former president is likely to be indicted on multiple counts.

    If they cannot at least tell the truth, they need to resign. And, sycophants who perpetuate these lies need to be spotlighted and called on the carpet. This independent and former Republican is quite disillusioned by the lying that is tolerated in the GOP. And, it begins with the former president who lying is well-documented from many sources. Dems are not perfect, but they at least are trying to address issues rather than just complain. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • I certainly agree with that, but when I look at the Republican candidates, I don’t see a single one who has the capability or the right mindset to actually lead. The GOP has re-invented itself, now pays fealty to Donald Trump and nobody else, and they don’t even have an ideological platform! What McCarthy says they will do if they gain a majority in the House next year is ludicrous … none of it is positive, it is filled with negatives, things they will UNdo, rather than DO. I think the only way the Big Lie will ever be squelched is if Trump himself stands on a platform in front of reporters and admits that he lost, that he knew he lost, and that he was wrong to try to overturn our votes in 2020. And we both know how likely that is! Our best hope right now is that the Justice Department follows through on the recommendations of the January 6th committee and prosecutes Trump for his crimes, both the theft of documents and the attempted coup. At that point, he is no longer eligible to run in 2024, for it would violate the 14th Amendment.

      No party will ever be perfect, but at this point, the Democrats are about 1000% better than the Republicans, for at least they are trying to solve problems, not create them as the Republicans are doing. I don’t know about you, my friend, but I’m so exhausted by it all. It is taking a toll.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, as I mention in a comment in your next post, the ex-president has four legitimate indictments that could be filed against – corporate financial fraud, seditious activities, stealing classified documents and meddling in an election in Georgia. And, unlike what he says, they are not witch hunts. Unless, he is also a witch to go along with his corrupt, deceitful and illicit behavior. Then, there is that $1.2 billion balloon payment to pay off Jared Kushner’s loan that is finally being looked into. This may be the most blatant misuse of power which needs to ask what do the Saudi’s want in return for paying off his loan? Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Indeed, and there are probably more than those four looming in the dark. Surely he cannot escape responsibility this time? As for Jared … yep, he follows in his father’s footsteps … you’ll remember the senior Kushner spent some time in prison for a number of illegal issues. He was pardoned by Trump … birds of a feather? What a strange world we live in today.


  6. Good article but I hate it at the same time. I freely admit that I am afraid for my life, but even more afraid for my grandchildren. And think of the world Asher and Victoria (his cousin) will live in after we are gone. Who will tell them the truth as it is and not as the politicals will be telling it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m not frightened for myself, but am angry that 240+ years of hard work is being destroyed by a handful of perverts and the ignorance of their followers. But, I am scared for the future my granddaughter will inherit. I’m seriously considering a move either to the UK or Canada, possibly even Australia or New Zealand, for I have friends in all four countries. It’s just so overwhelming when i think of all the hoops and hurdles. It would probably be much easier for Chris and Natasha without me. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. We’ve come to the point of election by intimidation, which begs the question: Why even bother to hold an election (unless, as Trump soulmate Putin thinks, sham elections serve your purpose)?

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so very right, mm. But, I would not advocate either dissolution of the election process or sham elections, rather I’d like to fix the process. Yeah, I know, pie-in-the-sky. Right now, though, looking out past the upcoming election, my fondest hope is that Trump’s complicity is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and that he is ineligible to even be on the ballot in 2024. Yes, there are other evil ones who will replace him, but I’ll deal with that threat when it comes. Right now, I do think Trump, his cronies, and the ignorance of Republican voters is the biggest threat to this nation’s continuance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree — especially with your last sentence. I can almost forgive ‘uneducated’ ignorance — it’s the willful ignorance of many Trump supporters that is so pernicious. The upcoming election is particularly crucial because, with so many election deniers running for congress, Governor, and Secretary of State in red and swing states, the GOP (if they win in sufficient numbers) will have the power to ‘make the rules’ to suppress the democratic/Democratic vote and do whatever else they want to do to ensure their domination.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed … those who honestly know no better can be forgiven, but the ‘willfully ignorant’ are fully complicit in the divisiveness and threats of violence we’re seeing today. My jaw dropped a few days ago when I read that Jim Marchant, running for Secretary of State in Nevada, said … “When I’m secretary of state of Nevada, we are going to fix it, and when my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024.” He’s blatantly saying he will defy the will of the people in order to put Trump back in office! And fools will vote for him … fools will vote for Walker and Oz and Vance, knowing they are not qualified. I shudder to think what the country will look like by the end of the decade.


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