Is civil war possible in modern-day America? — Analysis

As society is divided by a seemingly insurmountable gap, the grim prediction of an armed conflict grows

It’s difficult to identify one issue that is dividing Americans today, given the historical background of the Civil War between 1861 and 65, which saw the country split over slavery. Do the United States have a chance to make history again?

America is more worried about civil war than any other country. Perhaps that’s because the memory of the first one (1861-65), the deadliest military conflict in American history, was so utterly devastating that it is impossible to shake. Maybe Americans see that there is no way to get out of their current impasse except by going to war with themselves.

Another one of those polls which seem to be destined to make a self-fulfilling prophecy was The Economist/YouGov, where Americans were asked about the changes in America’s political climate. Two in five of the respondents believe a civil war is at least “It seems quite likely” in the next decade; Republicans are more likely than Democrats to expect civil war. 62% see the future as a worsening of things; only 52% anticipate an increase in political tensions.

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It could almost be argued that the United States, having suffered a long, hot summer of Black Lives Matter protests, followed by the storming of the Capitol on January 6, is already experiencing a civil war, but it just hasn’t been officially announced yet. Is it necessary to have another Battle of Gettysburg with standing armies and thousands dead to fit the definition of ‘civil war’? In any case, the FBI raid on Mar-A-Lago, Donald Trump’s Florida estate, certainly underscored the climate of political divisiveness as a prelude to major unrest. Republicans saw it as the latest evidence that the establishment doesn’t care about following the rules. The “weaponized federal agencies”Conservatives claim that they tend to act so quickly and violently against the right but never have the same passion when it comes to the supposed wrongs of left. 

However, culturally speaking the current situation is not less stable. We’re talking about a country that is 65% Christian and 50% Conservative struggling to come to grips with an explosion of fiercely controversial ideas – from Critical Race Theory, which seeks to blame the white race for all of the problems now besetting minorities, to transgenderism, which postulates the idea that gender is not determined by the physical sex of an individual, but rather whatever he or she (or they, or any of the open list of pronouns) believes himself to be. What number of Drag Queen Story hours can the general public handle before they give up?

Many Americans feel that America is unsustainable because there appears to be no escape or way out. There seems no protection for children, even from cultural changes. Stacy Langton from Virginia was a mother to six children and confronted educators at a school board meeting last year about books in the library. Carrying titles like ‘Lawn Boy’ and ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’, the books depicted sex between men and boys, with one describing a fourth-grader performing oral sex on an adult male. The school district did not remove the books from their shelves despite the outrage caused by the revelations. This was because the American political climate had risen yet another level.

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It is easy to show that the American people are divided by a chasm. But does this mean that civil war could be on the horizon. We don’t know. The exact breaking point that causes people to say ‘enough’ and take up arms against their brethren has yet to be established. Perhaps the conditions for civil war are even riper now than they were in Lincoln’s day, but Americans have simply become too comfortable and self-satisfied to fight. Although there will be some impulsive young people who want to help the cause, it seems unlikely that the majority of Americans would give up their comfortable Netflix lives to support a cause. Today, the rugged and pioneering spirit which characterized 1861’s times is no longer present. Today, many Americans are content to wage ‘civil war’ over social media, debating the issues against faceless opponents while the country beyond their window becomes an increasingly violent place.

Although it seems unlikely that the United States will disintegrate into pitched battles anytime soon, it can’t be forgotten that there are more guns in the nation’s closet than internet subscriptions. This gives those frustrated individuals the means to ‘express themselves’ without the need to wait for the bugle call. Instead of seeing a repeat of Fort Sumpter’s drama, Americans will see an assortment of actors ranting in frustration at the society they don’t understand.

As a wit once said, ‘History seldom repeats itself, but it does rhyme.’   

Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.

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