America has had three civil wars. The first one is over, the second one is still being fought, the third one is accelerating. What should be done?
America’s First Civil War: The American Revolution
The American Revolution was not simply American colonials versus the British military. There were plenty of Loyalists here. John Adams famously divided the American population into thirds including the “Go away and leave me alone” group. More likely the majority just wanted to be left alone on their farm and were only dragged into the conflict because of neighbors or occupying armies. Nonetheless, it was a war which split families and communities.
The resolution was comparatively simple. The losing side tended to leave. In New York, where I live, the upstate Loyalists tended to migrate further upstate until they were in Canada. In Westchester where I live in New York, Loyalist lands were confiscated, most conspicuously those of Philipsburg Manor along the Hudson. Evacuation Day, November 25, 1783, marked the departure of British troops and Loyalists from New York City. That departure was celebrated annually in the city especially by the Irish immigrants in the 19th century who loved saying goodbye to the British. The holiday ceased to be celebrated in World War I when the British became our allies. Recently the Lower Manhattan Historical Association (LMHA, I am on the Board), revived the celebration and successfully petitioned the New York City Council to rename a street by Bowling Green as “Evacuation Plaza.”
I am not as familiar with what happen to Loyalists in the South. There do not seem to be many statues by subsequent generations of Southerners honoring these fighting ancestors.
Given the popularity of princesses Diana, Kate, and Meghan, I think it is safe to say that the war with England-Great Britain-the United Kingdom has ended peacefully with no lingering hard feelings.
America’s Second Civil War: The War of Northern Aggression
The situation is not so pacific with America’s second civil war. That war continues to this very day. The violence is almost negligible but not non-existent. The bloodiest of all American wars has been redefined. A generation after the cessation of battleground confrontations, the war became the Lost Cause. In that guise it has developed an identity of its own as alternate facts can become gospel over time. The cause was aided by the release of America’s greatest movie based on percentage of the population reached and inflation-adjusted revenues. Gone with the Wind created the definitive image of America’s second civil war for generations to come just as The Ten Commandments did for the Exodus. While Charlton Heston portrayed a real figure in history and Clark Gable did not, Rhett Butler has become as real as Ben Hur.
There is no end in sight for ending America’s second civil war. The time has come to accept the truth expressed by Abraham Lincoln prior to the outbreak of violence: a house divided cannot stand. The Sesquicentennial has come and gone and still the hostility lingers. The resolution to this enduring division cannot replicate the resolution to the first civil war: the losing side cannot sail off into the sunset separate from the lands of the winning side.
However, there is another way to separate the two comparatively geographically distinct political entities – CONFEDEXIT. The time has come to call an end to the experiment of uniting 13 colonies into one country. The time has come to recognize that except for rare moments like the American Revolution and the Second World War, the Union and the Confederacy have not been united. Despite the Exodus, Israel eventually divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. The time has come for the United States of America to follow that example and that of Czechoslovakia, Pakistan, the USSR, and Yugoslavia and divide into its constituent parts.
I proposed that We the People declare July 4, 2026, the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence to be the target date for CONFEDEXIT. Let that day mark the official end to the American experiment and the formal recognition that we are a house divided and cannot stand.
The starting point for the Confederacy should be the Republican congressional districts in the original states of the Confederacy excluding any based on Cuban-American citizens. These districts form the natural basis for reviving the Confederacy. We must recognize that there were pockets of Federalists in the South in the second civil war. There were people who made the reverse decision Robert E. Lee made and who were loyal to the United States. In Virginia, they even broke away to form a new state. Starting with the Republican congressional districts within the Confederacy enables Unionist American citizens in the South outside those districts to remain part of the United States once the Confederate districts separate from it.
The Confederacy has the advantage of starting off with an already written constitution. Slavery has not been abolished. Women and 18 year-olds cannot vote. There is no income tax. There is no two-term limit on the president. Confederates now will have the opportunity to add the amendments they want and delete or revise the amendments they do not want. They should be able to hit the ground running with a fully-functional government by July 4, 2026.
The negotiations will not be easy. There is a lot to discuss. But despite all the obstacles, it should be possible for a clean break. The Union is just as willing to say good riddance to the southerners as the South is to Rise Again. And with a president who mocks and demeans Southerners as less worthy than northern elitists, the incentive to separate should be even stronger. With the world’s greatest negotiator at the helm, I am confident that CONFEDEXIT is doable by July 4, 2026, and the end of the second civil war finally will be at hand.
America’s Third Civil War: Kava-Noes versus Kava-Yeses
The third civil is different from the previous two.
It may be said to have begun in the 1960s. At that time, baby boomer males could be drafted into a war they did not want to fight and baby boomer females could have babies they did not want to have.
It may be said to have begun on August 17, 1992, when Pat Buchanan delivered his “Culture War” speech to the Republican National Convention.
It may be said to have begun in 2008 with Sarah Palin’s rally cry “to take back the country.”
Regardless of the preliminaries, history may well record that with the contentious and close vote on October 6, 2018, of 50-48 between Kava-Yeses and Kava-Noes the battle was fully engaged. There is no turning back now. When Charles Blow writes an op-ed in the New York Times that “Liberals, This Is War,” he fails to recognize that for conservatives it has been war for decades and appointing a fifth Republican legislator to the Supreme Court is a long overdue victory.
As with America’s first civil war, America’s third civil war will be intensely divisive at the local level. People who have known each other for years as best friends for life suddenly will morph into combatants. The family Thanksgiving meal will become a battleground. While it will be illegal for Kava-Noes and Kava-Yeses to marry, there is always the possibility that some of the guests will be from opposite sides of the divide. Any social engagement will run the risk of degenerating into a brawl. Hosts and hostesses will be obligated to do due diligence to ensure a peaceful event. College admission officers will need to scrutinize applicants carefully to maintain the purity of the campus. God forbid people from different sides should be assigned as roommates! In short, people will constantly have to be on guard to make sure they know when it is safe to speak.
CONFEDEXIT will help end the third civil war but it is no solution. The proponents of the Kava-Noes and Kava-Yeses exist in every electoral district. A mass exodus as with the Loyalists in the first civil war is not possible. A geographic split within the United States is not possible even after CONFEDEXIT removes many Confederate Kava-Noes from the United States. In short there is no solution. Over time, people will vote with their feet to move to an area where they feel safe. That relocation will take time. In the meantime, the situation will remain tense everywhere.
Fortunately we have a president who feasts on divisiveness. There will be no “come let us reason together” in this administration. Far from it. Instead he will stoke the flames of hatred and rejoice in the dividing of America. Never have We the People had a president who is so antagonistic to the very idea of We the People. Never have We the People had a president who is so willing, eager, and ready to campaign on behalf of hatred. Never have We the People had a president who is so antagonistic to the very goal of e pluribus unum, a motto that has been abandoned by both national political parties and mocked by our president. But there should not be any surprise that our president promotes the division of the country. What else would you expect from Putin’s poodle?