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Ameristan: Did He Bring the War Home?

He Built a Wall

America’s Third Civil War is not a new topic. Typically, people have spoken a “culture wars” which sounds less violent than “civil war.” But underneath the more refined talk of a difference in culture or values was the threat of violence. That violence spilled out into the open on January 6, 2021. Now people are wondering if that was a one-time event or whether it signaled the elevation of a verbal conflict to a physical one: are we at Defcon OMG!?

The Third Civil War: A Look Back

America’s Third Civil War (The Atlantic)

In December, 2019, The Atlantic magazine cover proclaimed the need to act to prevent the culture wars from becoming violent civil war. In December 2020, I decided to do an anniversary examination of the articles in that issue. The goal was to compare what the writers thought back then with what had actually happened since their articles were written.

I did manage to write a couple of blogs that did just that. The blogs were

America’s Third Civil War: An Update

 The Texas Secession: Legally Dividing America

I thought I would be able to proceed in a nice methodical and leisurely manner through the magazine reviewing what people had written. Little did I know that the President of the United States would launch a “Steal the Election” campaign to undermine American democracy. Little did I know how far he would go to prevent the country from being able to celebrate its 250th anniversary because it no longer existed as a constitutional republic. As a result, I had to recalibrate. Perhaps I will resume this retrospective after January 20, 2021, depending on what happens.

 

New York Times Magazine, November 10, 2019, by Paul Sahre

  AMERICA’S THIRD CIVIL WAR

My first foray into America’s Third Civil War occurred during a battle for a Supreme Court appointment

America’s Third Civil War: Kava-Noes versus Kava-Yeses (10/19/18)

After writing about the first civil war in the American Revolution and the second civil war in the Civil War, I turned to the third one.

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….

[W]e 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?

The Third Civil War (New York Times Magazine)

In general terms, the preview has come true. The Senate vote on the judicial appointment did not prove to be the breaking point nor did the judicial appointment two years later just before the presidential election. I was still writing from a cultural wars perspective and not a physical war with deaths from violence. I expected the presidential election to be the point of no return.

In my second blog on America’s Third Civil War (7/23/19), I quoted Nancy Pelosi saying:

This coming election, it is really an election that the fate of this country is riding on. This presidency is an existential threat to our democracy and our country as we know it.

Turns out she was exactly right. During the second impeachment she almost said the same words only now the election was in the past tense. Still the conflict was verbal. Then it changed.

JANUARY 6, 2021

Now the war has turned violent. My two political thriller blogs Seven Days in January: This Time It Is Not a Movie and Seven Days in January: Impeached Again were written immediately before and after the failed insurrection attempt. What happens now?

For the domestic trumperists, there are consequences to their actions.

1. They face the prospect of prison time.
2. They face mounting and expensive legal bills.
3. They may have lost their job.
4. They may rethink what it means to assault the government in the real world as opposed to at a political rally or in online chatter.

On the other hand, for many who participated in the attack or watched it, it was victory that produced a natural high. That intoxication may embolden them to try again.

For the country, there are consequences just as there were after 9/11. The post-9/11 changes have mostly been confined to airports where people now take security inspections for granted. Otherwise, life pretty much has returned to normal. This time may be different.

1. The Capitol is now in the Green Zone – How long will that last? What will it mean to tourists and school trips to see the nation’s capital in a permanent shutdown due to terrorist threat?

2. How many more Green Zones will be needed? Will even Alabama and South Dakota need to protect themselves? A lot of the chatter may turn out to be hype. Think of the army of 50,000 poll watchers that was supposed to be raised on November 3. Maybe the expected assaults will fizzle out.

3. Will there be lone wolves and soft targets? – After 9/11 there was a lot of attention/discussion on soft targets. The veterans with Iraq and Afghanistan experiences are well-trained in such tactics. There is plenty of information on the web about how prepare a bomb and the tactics to be used to deploy it to maximize effect. Will mentally-ill young males switch from attacking schools to attacking other locations that provide more vulnerable targets?

4. Who can you trust? – The supporters of the insurrection can be in Congress, the Capitol Police, the National Guard, the local police, the military, and the Secret Service. They could be your neighbors, your co-workers, and even members of your friendly local historical society. How do you know?

At this point it is too early to tell what will happen. The people who participated in the insurrection and who have been arrested are claiming they were following orders, answering the call of their President, and requesting pardons. Such pardons would be an open admission that the President really is an “existential threat to our democracy and our country as we know it” just as Pelosi said and the second impeachment claims.

The next round in the war will be the pardons issued on the final full day of his presidency. The parting gesture of the Loser undoubtedly will unleash another round of at least verbal conflict. It also may be seen as throwing the insurrectionists under the bus if they are excluded.

January 6, 2021 transformed the culture war into a civil war. It’s become a double civil war. It is a war between the Trumpicans and the Woke for control of the country. But it also is a war between the Trumpicans and the Republicans for the control of a political party. No one knows how either war will turnout. What can be said, is that it won’t end on January 20, 2021 and it will prove more dangerous to the future of this country than COVID-19 has been.

America’s Third Civil War: An Update

America's Third Civil War (The Atlantic)

America’s Third Civil War is unfolding in unexpected ways. Previously I had blogged that the 2020 Presidential election would be our Battle of Gettysburg (He Really Could Stand in the Middle of 5th Avenue, Shoot Somebody, and Not Lose Voters 4/1/20) . It would be the moment when the conflict between the two sides of the Culture Wars burst forth with some violence over which side had triumphed in the showdown at high November. In many ways, such a showdown has occurred but without the violence…yet.

In the more than one month since Joe Biden won, although the results were not immediately known, the fighting has transpired primarily in the court room. In these clashes, the hero of 9/11 has made a dripping fool of himself time and time again without having any awareness of his predicament… except that he knows enough that he will need a pardon.

One surprising absence from the war has been the current Attorney General. After months and years of doing the biding of the criminal in-chief, when the final showdown came he was missing in action. In fact, he gave aid to the patriots who were defending the country from the assault on democracy by denying that the election was rigged or that fraud had occurred.

With these thoughts in mind, I am taking a trip down memory lane to one year ago: the December 2019 issue of The Atlantic with the cover title “How to top a Civil War.” Since the war is not yet over and 2021 promises to be even worse as the new President struggles to assert himself as THE President of the United States, it is worth taking a look back on what was written.  In a preview to the next blog, I note the article in this time capsule on Texas and secession could just have easily been written in December 2020 as December 2019. I am waiting to see what happens before writing about it.

A NATION COMING APART BY JEFFREY GOLDBERG

Goldberg tactfully opens his “Editor’s Note” with:

The 45th president of the United States of America is uniquely unfit for the office and poses a multifaceted threat to our country’s democratic institutions.

Truer words were never written, but I suspect they understate the problem. I doubt that Goldberg anticipated a frontal assault on the democratic process including an attempted coup to steal the election with the support of the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and 125 accomplices. To imagine an attempted coup by this particular President requires no stretch of the imagination. To see how widespread the support was and is would have been unimaginable. These 126 traitors are from the present House of Representatives. It is quite likely that in the new House where the Democrats will have only the slimmest of margins, that the number of representatives who support the President in-exile will be even greater. There is no margin of error.

Goldberg went on to write:

The structural failures in our democratic system that allowed a grifter into the White House in the first place⸺this might be our greatest challenge.

I strongly doubt that Goldberg anticipated that the con artist only needed to ask for money to receive over $200 million from his Trumpican base. That is an astonishing achievement in the history of scam annals. He has perfected the ability to raise enormous sums of money in small amounts without having to fleece few bigtime marks.

Finally, Goldberg announced as the editor, the purpose for the special issue.

Out of our conversations, and others like it, emerged the idea for the special issue you are now reading, what we have called “How to Stop a Civil War.” … (W)e worry that the ties that bind us are fraying at alarming speed⸺we are becoming contemptuous of each other in ways that are both dire and possibly irreversible.

If these words reflect Goldberg’s assessment of the situation in December 2019, then one can only imagine what he must think in December 2020. For now the coup to steal the election temporarily has been stopped by the Supreme Court. One should expect the final stand where the last ditch effort to overturn the election will be undertaken will be when the new House convenes to ratify the vote of the Electoral College. He still thinks he can overturn the election and has roughly 126 people who will help him. The fat lady still hasn’t sung yet.

“WHEN TRUMP GOES” BY DAVID FRUM

The opening article in the war issue appropriately enough was called “Dispatches.” It was listed as the “Opening Argument.” The question raised was “Somehow, sometime, he will leave office. Will our politics get better or worse?”

Frum opened his argument with the well-known examples of the current occupant’s preference to remain in office beyond the two-term limit. By now you would have to be dumb beyond belief not to realize that is his desire. I am not suggesting he has a plan to do it, only that he would like to. Plan B I would guess is to run in 2024 and then to be succeeded by a child, probably Ivanka as the first female president. It would follow her stint as Senator from Florida beginning in 2022 where she is now relocating. For all we know, she will be the preferred Trump in 2024. Whether all that happens or not remains to be seen. What is clear is that the Trumps will be with us for years to come with a strong base in the House that will do whatever he wants.

In his Argument, Frum presents two scenarios: a narrow Democratic victory or a big Democratic victory. We know now that the latter did not occur. It did not occur in the House. It did not occur in the Senate even if they win the two runoff elections. It did not occur at the state level. Even though Joe Biden won with the same landslide Electoral College vote as in 2016 only with the parties reversed and by over 7 million votes, the Democrats’ hopes were not fulfilled.

Frum’s analysis in 2019 misses two key considerations, one of which he could not have known about.

First, the coronavirus changed all political calculations. Without the coronavirus it is quite possible there would have been another election where the Democrats won the popular vote but lost the election. Without the coronavirus there really could have been a second term.  Even with the virus, what would have happened if the vaccine had been discovered sooner? What would have happened if the coronavirus had happened a year earlier? We will never know the answer to these different scenarios, but there is one chilling fact that will haunt historians for years to come:

Did 200,000 Americans have to die in 2020 for him to be defeated that same year?

Try and imagine what it would be like to participate in that debate.  Are those deaths the price America had to pay to make him a one-term president?

Second, Joe Biden probably is the only Democratic candidate who could have won. In a previous blog, I asked the question if Elizabeth Warren could have won. We will never know but the odds are she easily might have lost despite the coronavirus. Even more so for the other potential Democratic candidates.

Frum couldn’t possibly have known any of this when he wrote his Dispatch from the battlefield last December. In hindsight we can see how the stars had to be aligned to produce the Democratic presidential victory in 2020 and there is no guarantee that they will be so aligned in 2024.

So what will happen now?

As in America’s Second Civil War, we will have two Presidents: one in Washington and one in the South. The parallel is not the same. This time the President in the south commands no armies and the only revenue he raises will be for himself. During the Second Civil War, the Confederates removed themselves from the political process. They did not remain in Congress or vote in the 1864 elections. This time Trump’s traitors will remain in Congress without suffering any punitive actions for their attempted coup to steal the election. Their loyalty will be to the rightful President in Florida and not to the Constitution or the illegitimate President in Washington.

The ongoing war then is more likely to resemble World War I than the Second Civil War but without the violence. By that I mean, everything in Congress will be trench warfare with neither side budging. Trumpicans will not accept Joe Biden as the President of their country.  They will call upon their governors to do the same … unless the state needs federal aid due to a disaster.  Care to guess to whom the Governor of South Dakota will pledge her loyalty?

America’s Third Civil War is far from over. It will continue as long as the two houses live together in one political entity. Texas has a solution for that.

 

July 14, 2019 = April 12, 1861 II: The Third Civil War Is Engaged

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Donald Trump (Getty Images)

On April 12, 1861, South Carolina opened fire on the US garrison of Fort Sumter. The Civil War had begun. It would rage for years and hundreds of thousands of people would die. It wreaked havoc on the land especially in the South where most of the battles were fought. Most importantly, it would be remembered. In the North, many new peoples arrived subsequent to the war who had had no direct blood connection to it. By contrast, in the South, it remained predominantly Confederate and the blood connection endured.

The war itself was a long time coming. Perhaps the hostility had its roots four score and seven years earlier when a disparate group of diverse colonies first attempted to create a united political entity. Over the years and decades to follow, that unity was sorely tested. There would be compromises and political confrontations galore. The Union held but there were limits as to how long two houses could remain linked before they separated. After April 12, 1861, the question no longer was an academic one. The battle was engaged and it continues to be fought to this very day.

Move over Bastille Day, July 14 now marks the beginning of another war.  The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, has been joined by July 14, 2019, the day an American President launched a tweet heard throughout the country if not the world. That day will be remembered as a day of infamy where the long-brewing culture wars finally spilled forth into an open (solely political so far) combat.

Back on October 9, 2018, I incorrectly predicted the onset of America’s third civil war (America’s Third Civil War: Kava-Noes versus Kava-Yeses). At that time I wrote the following about the war:

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.

[W] 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?

I was nine months premature. Part of the reason for the change in circumstances is that we now are in a presidential election cycle where polls show the incumbent losing. If he was coasting  to another electoral landslide because of the world’s greatest economy and the greatest economy in the history of the United States, there would have been no need to play the both race card and the alien/ foreigner card. If he was an adult and had any self-control, there would have no need to play these cards either. He simply could have watched the Democrats tear themselves apart and feasted on the divided remains. But he is not an adult and he has no self-control. So as the 7th grade smart-aleck-dumb-aleck he simply blurted exactly what he knew was not supposed to be said in polite company. He said these words of hate precisely because he knew what the reaction would be both among the Democrats and the Trumpicans. He is back in the good graces of the alt-right, exactly where he wants to be.

The war will not be fought the same way as the Civil War was. There will be no armed conflicts between huge armies firing huge amounts of explosives at each other with many casualties and deaths…as least I do not think it will. At least for now, it is clear how the initial engagements of the war will be fought beside on Twitter, social media, and cable TV.

The Trumpicans will deploy two forces at its command and hold a third force in abeyance. One is ICE which was supposed launch wide scale roundups of illegal aliens the same day as the tweet that launched the war. Although that did not happen, one can expect this commander in-chief to more actively commit his forces to action in the future. Bonespur Boy missed the Vietnam War and now he is going to demonstrate that he has the faculties to command his forces against the alien foe that threatens the land.

Second, he will and already has deployed forces along the southern border. As to the situation there, he commented:

Many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they came from, and in far safer conditions.

This comment is eerily similar to the claim made by Confederates to this very day about the slaves from Africa. We are doing those people a favor even in slavery or prison camps or prison by providing a better way of life than they knew in their homeland.

It is worthwhile comparing the experiences of Abraham Lincoln, the first president of the Republican Party, with Donald Trump, the last nominee of the Republican Party before it became the Trumpican Party. When young Mr. Lincoln traveled down the Mississippi to New Orleans, he was sickened by what he saw at the slave auction there. By contrast, the young THE DONALD learned from his KKK father about “those” people and was fully ready to call for the execution of the Central Park Five. A Lincoln might be distraught watching a family torn asunder; now it is just another day at the office for current president.

Third, let us not forget the private militias. At the Panhandle political professional wrestling arena, THE DONALD asked the audience of deplorables how to stop the illegal aliens from crossing into the country. “Shoot’m” exclaimed a good ol boy to the laughter of the Trumpicans. How difficult would it be to raise a private militia in the Panhandle if asked for? How difficult is it to imagine after the 2020 elections, the loser calling for the militias to rally in the nation’s capital to protect him from the politically-correct-elitist-socialist-Deep-State removing him from office?

So what will the Democrats do in the current Civil War?

One action will be to counter the ICE raids. People were out if not in force, then at least to some extent, on Sunday, July 14, in opposition to ICE. Over time, one can expect the number of people involved to multiply. Over time, once can expect such confrontations to escalate in intensity. Over time, one can expect such confrontations to result in deaths. Next year marks the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Although the federal commission for the 250th anniversary is focusing on a Philadelphia extravaganza in 2026, events in the present may provide a more visceral connection to the events that led up to the July 4, 1776 (The American Revolution 250th: A Time to Heal or a Time to Divide?).

The second way the Democrats will respond will be legally. This means lawsuits, Congressional resolutions denouncing the racist President, subpoenas, and, yes, impeachment. The first vote has been tallied. There will be more to come.

True being a racist bigot deliberately seeking to permanently divide the country is not obstruction or collusion. No matter how sleazy and corrupt his cabinet, no matter how incompetent the President, no matter racist he is, these conditions were not part of the Mueller report. Whether or not the deliberate effort to permanently divide the country is a high crime and impeachable offense is another matter.

In any event, the battle is now engaged. The Rubicon has been crossed. The genii has been let out of the bottle. The die has been cast. There is no turning back now.

It will intensify culminating in Election Day 2020. There will be casualties. There may be another government shutdown. There will be an ongoing mostly non-physical warfare fought in Congress, in the Courts, and sometimes in the streets.  There are two major differences between this civil war and the preceding two. The first had George Washington and the second had Abraham Lincoln. This time around there is no national leader seeking to hold the country together. Combatants, to your corners. Death to We the People!

 

HEALTH CARE PROBLEM SOLVED

Just in case you forgot, July 16 was the due date for the new healthcare plan.  Here is what I wrote on June 19 (Iran Does Not Watch Fox: The Real World and the 2020 Elections):

There are a few simple tests to monitor his grasp of the real world, his willingness to operate it, and his success if he tries. We don’t need to wait to see how he deploys his campaign resources to know if he is operating based on real polls or his fake polls. We’ll know in a month because of health care.

“You’ll see that in a month when we introduce it. We’re going to have a plan. That’s subject to winning the House, Senate, and presidency, which hopefully we’ll win all three. We’ll have phenomenal health care.”

So claims the very stable genius who is the smartest person in the room and the only one who can solve America’s problems. … Now we have the target as surely as they did for William Miller on October 22, 1844 with the Great Disappointment. We know the date. July 16.

 Did it happen? Are you disappointed?

How Historians Can End The Civil War

The Sesquicentennial for the Civil War honors a war which still rages on in America. An example of the ongoing nature of the war was seen in the dispute over a memorial to northern troops at Olustee, Florida, the site of the largest and bloodiest battlefield in the state.

The issue of a memorial to the northern troops who died there has been compared to the reopening of a 150-year-old wound. According to a report on the front page of the New York Times, John W. Adams, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Florida division, said “Old grudges die hard. And feelings run deep.” Another person with ancestors who fought on both sides said, “There are some, apparently, who consider this to be a lengthy truce and believe the war is still going on.” Continue reading “How Historians Can End The Civil War”

Civil War in New York Historyhostel/Teacherhostel

Experience the Civil War in New York with the new exhibit at the New York State Museum and representatives from related historic sites on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at a free Historyhostel / Teacherhostel event sponsored by the Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education. Continue reading “Civil War in New York Historyhostel/Teacherhostel”

New York and the Civil War

The Union may have won the war but the South has won Civil War tourism and its legacy. It’s an extraordinary fact of life that wherever the National Park Service has a site, a battle was fought there! And they are all in the South with the major exception of Gettysburg.

Time and time again presentations on life back then in antebellum (before the war) times begin with Gone with the Wind, still the box-office champion adjusted for inflation. What story does the North including New York have to tell that can compare with the pageantry of the South, the chivalry of the idealized plantation, and the glamour of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh? Freedom and preserving the Union that made the world safe for democracy in the three world wars in the 20th century should count for something, even for Confederates. Continue reading “New York and the Civil War”

‘Lost Cause’: NY and Confederate History

The fact that New York State has no official celebration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial or the War of 1812 Bicentennial is no secret. The question that isn’t being asked is: Why not?

To say that New York doesn’t have the money misses the point. Every state has financial problems but somehow other states are able to do something officially on the state level on behalf of these historic anniversaries. Why not New York? Hasn’t New York always generously supported historical anniversaries in the past? 🙂 Continue reading “‘Lost Cause’: NY and Confederate History”