Some might see this comment as unpopular, but America is in a civil war. Currently, outside of a few horrific isolated incidents, it’s not being fought with guns but rather via propaganda, news and social media.
But could America actually fight another “hot civil war”? What would that look like?
Much like today, the last American civil war started by uncompromising differences between two ideologies, but was generally segregated by geographic location, North and South. Today it can largely be summed up, electorally at least, as rural vs urban. The principal issue then, slavery. Now, social justice. Both are highly emotional topics and both are equally as volatile. But what got us here?
It wasn’t Donald Trump, he’s just the first Republican to start punching back, he didn’t throw the first punch. I think it boils down to the fact that over the last two decades, an entire populous has been told that they are entitled to certain things and that their opinions are morally superior to others. Enter the Liberal movement of the 21st century, which has been brilliantly positioned, particularly with the younger generations, as the only acceptable point of view, lest you are be shouted down and called Hitler.
There is no doubt that members of both sides have pushed offensive commentary in order to elicit a response from their opponents, I am certainly guilty of this in the past. But under Obama, the tea party and affiliates didn’t light American flags on fire. They didn’t protest by looting cities and local businesses and they certainly didn’t use violent demonstrations calling for the harassment of the families of officials. Nor did the Tea party or republican Congressmen explicitly encourage this behavior.
We also now have “The [democratic] Squad” telling us to “Impeach the Mother F’er” and calling ICE detention centers “Concentration camps”, prominent Hollywood “A listers” threatening to kill the President and blow up the White House. Is this collection of voices normalizing violence? Hollywood has become anti-gun while at the same time sensationalizing (and monetizing) unrest. This has created the perfect backdrop for a liberal faction, ironically named anti-fascist (ANTIFA), to amass and shut down free speech in true authoritarian style by any means necessary, resulting in pretty breathtaking scenes of mob destruction.
With my background as a Navy SEAL, the last thing I want is war, especially among fellow Americans. I frequently call for greater civility, but that does not mean we as republicans should not stand down in the face of the left. I warned people to stop talking about civil war and violence. While many of my social media responses agreed with me, many were astounding; ranging from republicans bragging about their armaments to liberals threatening the President and republicans with Molotov cocktails.
So let’s play out a true reality of another civil war. As we observed under Lincoln, only about 10% of the country would be involved in the actual fight (arguably only about 5% of either side is fired up enough to take up arms), while the other 90% of America would continue about their daily lives, taking care of their families and keeping a roof over their heads. For arguments sake we will break up the two sides into Liberal and Conservative (or Left and Right).
Who would actually take the first official shot is unclear, but in order for a physical war to break out the first thing that’s needed is two organized sides. The left has recently been far more efficient in social justice campaigns, marches and protests but would need a definitive group (quite feasibly the ANTIFA movement) to initiate any significant conflict. Conversely, while it’s fair to say the right has a leader in the White house, Trump will never use force to shut down a political opponent unless they become militant. ANTIFA is walking that line very carefully. Groups like the Proud boys are not willing to wage any scaled conflict outside of random street fights.
Despite that fact the overwhelming majority of law enforcement and military tend to sympathize with conservative values, I don’t think they would play a major role in initiating conflict because they are disciplined and tasked with maintaining order. While I think ultimately the police and military would side with conservatives, initially we could see a three way clash as they try to deescalate the situation.
At the outset of this imagined (though all too possible) conflict, martial law would be declared to control the masses, playing into the left’s narrative that Trump is somehow a dictator. This would further embolden the left’s cause for recruitment and the keyboard warriors would crawl out of their parents’ basements faster than a rat in Baltimore.
Even though the military would intend to keep order among conservatives and liberals alike, conservative forces would be far more hesitant to engage police or military due to their historic support for them, unlike the left who have already done so freely to date just as recently as the attacks on the ICE facilities. You would have bands of conservative militia style groups that would take defensive postures in their neighborhoods, hold the line and support of law enforcement rather than aggress it. Any fighting would be a series of very small battles lasting a few seconds to minutes, much like most of the fire fights I saw in Iraq.
At this point you have set the “sides” for the war. One side has the majority of law enforcement and the military, bringing tanks, planes, guns, training, means to communicate and control of all infrastructure. They are backed by a civilian force owning 300 million guns, trillions of rounds of ammunition and 20 million or more able bodied military veterans. The liberal faction would square off with some guns, but many don’t own them and even fewer are adequately trained. They would escalate by guerilla tactics, rudimentary explosives and insurgent attacks on establishments that represent what they have determined to be wrong or oppressive. Banks, Wall Street, police stations etc. would all be targets and civilians would be collateral damage.
They would blend into the civilian population, like Al Qaeda has done against our military overseas. The definition of the left’s effort at this point would be terrorism, not civil war and they would have already lost. The liberal side would have, in a matter of weeks, gone from waging war on “trump supporters” and fighting for “social justice” to being declared terrorists. Leaders of the liberal movement would seek concessions and moderate in hopes of avoiding prison (or even death) and the rebellion would be crushed. Donald Trump would still be President and liberals would have lost any moral or reasonable high ground they previously enjoyed. The only difference would be that after all this, American’s would have killed other Americans, people would have fought their neighbors and sometimes family.
I write this not in hopes of conflict or division but in the hopes of persuasion. I have seen war first hand and never wish that I see it again. I am warning the left to stand down the rhetoric, stop pursuing violence and be more civil. I am willing to take the first step and extend my hand towards a partnership. I will not compromise my beliefs, but I will make a greater effort to respect yours if you are too. To my fellow liberal Americans, you do not want a war, you will lose. Stand down the rhetoric, I assure you Donald Trump will reciprocate, and America will be more prosperous.