I am probably not the only person who was less than shocked by a recent YouGov poll that found 43% of Americans expect our nation to be ripped asunder by a civil war within 10 years. Although the sample size was small, only about 1500 individuals, it would be foolish to dismiss its conclusions out of hand. We are today a land that is seething with suspicions: suspicions of our nation, suspicions about our futures, and suspicions of one another.
Worse yet, the dry tinder of the rage regarding all that makes us doubt our nation, futures, and one another is abundant, but we continue to heedlessly play with matches by flaying each other with cruel language and harsh judgements that do rather befit that which we might experience in an actual civil war.
This sad condition is, to be honest, not an entirely unknown phenomenon among the seething mass of history’s embittered and frustrated humanity. Trust has always been hard to find, and it is extraordinarily difficult to regain when it has been foolishly and carelessly ripped away.
We are, however, not condemned by our rising paranoia and irrational hatreds. We can manage to rise above our worst instincts, but the will to do so sometimes seems in short supply today because focusing upon our grievances and attacking others seem to be the only tunes we are capable of playing as we navigate through a very troubling time in our nation’s history.
Americans each day endure stupendous fiscal mismanagement by all levels of government, schools that routinely fail to educate to the most minimal standards of achievement, high energy costs, thousands of illegal immigrants waltzing across our ridiculously porous borders, parental rights being stripped away in order to promote the sexualization of children, demagogues encouraging racial tensions, a parade of foreign policy catastrophes, unaffordable groceries, stratospheric housing costs, ruinously expensive medical care, high utility bills—and soon the advent of an army of brand new IRS auditors squeezing us all for every last penny.
Times are tough and getting tougher, so divisions in our nation are to be expected. However, the least trace of wisdom is clearly lacking in our country today, and this past week offered a perfect example of our egregiously imperfect leadership—during prime time, no less.
President Biden’s speech to the nation was generally what one would expect from a partisan politician in our divided nation, although the apocalyptic blood-red background and U.S. Marines framing him were a decidedly bizarre and disturbing touch of incipient fascism. Biden’s simplistic good versus evil rhetoric—want to take a wild guess whose political party in his speech represented the good?—was obviously designed to fire up Democratic voters ahead of the midterm elections, and certain statements by Mr. Biden could legitimately be deemed either misleading or hypocritical. Sadly, this was to be expected, for honesty and politics have never been a happy marriage.
However, what was a concern to many who viewed President Biden’s speech was the caustic and angry tone—and the attempt to cast Republican and Conservative voters as dangerous extremists. Apparently democracy itself is now considered a threat to democracy because the wrong sorts of voters might show up at the polls, and Biden made it plain that Democrats revile roughly half of this nation’s citizens.
Deceptive and inflammatory attempts to associate political violence with those whom Biden derisively labeled “MAGA Republicans” ignored Democratic cheerleading for the torching and looting of American cities in the summer of 2020, the thuggery of Antifa activists, the dereliction of duty by Woke Democratic prosecutors when dealing with criminals, and the threats against Supreme Court Justices in the wake of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Moreover, given that it has recently come to light that the Biden administration has been working hand in glove with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor viewpoints they deem to be misinformation—and Biden officials have actively discouraged the FBI from investigating the explosive details of corruption contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, which even mainstream media such as The New York Times and Washington Post now admit are genuine—the question of which side of the political coin is the more extremist is today open to question.
Presenting his party as the defenders of our democracy rings a bit hollow when Biden and his minions are busy silencing their political opponents, circumventing the rule of law, and ignoring our most important Constitutional rights.
When Joe Biden speaks of his political opponents, whether they are Republicans, Independents—or even his fellow Democrats in some cases—both the fear and the loathing are palpable, which is not what American voters expected from someone who presented himself as a uniter and consensus builder during his campaign.
This observation provokes the reflexive response of “What about Trump?” from many Americans, which is not at all unreasonable, but it is an adolescent response to an issue that requires adult introspection and action. Many who cast their votes in 2020—and who will cast their votes in 2022—are desperate for a return to civility and common sense in American society, and we might be running out of opportunities to restore these.
If Biden’s speech is any indication of the political and social health of our nation as we prepare to face a troubled future, it is difficult to confidently assert that we are ready to face the challenges ahead.
There is, of course, a coda to President Biden’s prime time attack on Americans who believe his government-heavy agenda is crushing our nation. Perhaps fearful that he had just committed his own Clintonesque “Deplorables” moment with his over-the-top words and stagecraft, Biden told a reporter the next day that he didn’t “consider any Trump supporter to be a threat” before heading off for yet another extended vacation.
Equivocation, no matter how desperately one hopes it will succeed, is an impossibility when you’ve just bashed a broad swathe of the American electorate. This entire spectacle was rather sad and served no purpose but to further reveal a lost President who cannot decide whether to be a warrior or a wimp when confronting the reality of his dismal approval ratings and the likelihood of disaster for the Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
Donald Trump, naturally, had no such doubts about the direction his comments would take, and he went full Viking on Joe Biden and his administration at a rally in Pennsylvania a few days later, branding the President “an enemy of the state” who had given a “vicious” speech. Given that subtlety and Donald Trump are strangers, there is no chance whatsoever that he will be making conciliatory remarks about Joe Biden or his supporters in the days ahead.
No doubt still angry about an FBI raid on his home that many other than Trump thought was a blatant pre-election publicity stunt by Biden’s Department of Justice, Donald Trump is certain to ratchet up his rhetorical attacks in the months ahead.
In addition, any efforts to indict Mr. Trump in connection with the January 6th protests at the U.S. Capitol during the certification of Joe Biden’s election as President are certain to result in a shredding in our country’s political, cultural, and social fabric that will signal the end of the last hope for a respectful and realistic dialogue about the many issues now facing America. Our slow motion national divorce could spiral into the broken dishes, slamming doors, and spaghetti on the walls phase very, very quickly if the FBI tries for a pre-election arrest—and Secret Service agents are put into a stand-off regarding the custody of the former President they are sworn to protect. I cannot imagine the tens of millions of Mr. Trump’s supporters sitting quietly by for such an event.
Although it is now abundantly clear that Joe Biden and his administration are incapable of uniting our nation in common purpose and resolve, it is also true that at the present time we have yet to find candidates we can turn to who can provide the steady and healing hand that America now desperately needs. The political gamesmanship of our current leadership is too entrenched, too toxic, and too partisan, so it is likely that our prospects for any positive change are exceedingly poor—at best. Realistically, our national dialogue is likely to become still worse before it has any chance of improving, and the possibility that elements of our executive, judiciary, legislative, military, or law enforcement institutions could go rogue cannot be discounted.
Few sane Americans want a civil war. The majority of us want the insults dialed down, the cooperation restored, and the fact that we are all Americans remembered always. We cannot continue to play childish games without putting our democracy in the gravest peril.
Moreover, we cannot forget that it takes but a single spark to start a terribly destructive and uncontrollable fire, and when so many are convinced that they are absolutely right and those who disagree with them are irredeemably evil, fear and loathing are very likely to win the day over hope and patriotism.
Have we crossed the Rubicon? One can, at this time, only hope and pray that we have not.