This is a difficult post to write. Mainly because we are not supposed to talk about such things. But what is more important, we are not to believe such things. And the last thing any of us want is to believe that our nation is at war with itself.
The idea that we could find ourselves in some kind of civil war isn’t a new concern of mine. Going back to some of the first blogging I did in 2010, I have written and talked about the possibility. My prayer was then and still remains that we could avoid it.
So when I saw the title of Dennis Prager’s column at Townhall.com entitled “America’s Second Civil War,” I clicked on it with some trepidation in my heart. Dennis is not one given to hyperbole. In fact he is a very reasoned and thoughtful commentator. When I read it, my heart sank. Then add what is happening in California to his thoughts and I have to conclude…
I think he is correct in more ways than I want to admit.
As evidence, yesterday’s Rasmussen Presidential approval poll shows that 40% of the people strongly approve of President Trump’s performance. 40% strongly disapprove. The key word is “strongly.”
You have two groups that make up 80% of the country that have very different ideological visions for the fundamental makeup of this nation. These differences go far beyond tax rates and foreign policy. They go to the very heart of how society should be ordered and governed.
A Cold Civil War?
The word “civil” means “relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters.” One of the definitions of “war” is “a state of competition, conflict, or hostility between different people or groups; a sustained effort to deal with or end a particular unpleasant or undesirable situation or condition.”
As I watch the news and scroll my social feeds, it sure fits those definitions. Two heavyweights with large differences in how they think the world should work, seeking to somehow navigate unseating the other without a full fledged hot war. Sound familiar?
We fought a “Cold War,” with the Soviet Union for decades with a similar setup. That’s why I see our present civil war as one of the cold variety. There is a lot of posturing and rhetoric with chess moves on the diplomatic and policy front. Skirmishes on the streets as the left’s protests become more violent mirror the global skirmishes between the United States and Soviet Union.
The question nobody dares to ask or answer.
Will it remain cold?
We have just elected a new President. Regardless of what you think of him or his leadership style, he has demonstrated that he has a strong vision and is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with his adversaries. Meanwhile, the former President is indicating that he may very well lead the opposition against his successor, either overtly or covertly.
Every past president in the common era has largely stayed away from commenting on their successor’s policies, even when replaced by someone they vehemently disagreed with. That is because they knew the disruption it could cause in the nation. What will happen if one actually goes a step further and actively engages in leading the opposition?
Here then is the setup:
- 40% of the nation strongly behind President Trump.
- 40% of the nation strongly behind former President Obama.
- Each advocates a value system and agenda that is incompatible with the other.
History is replete with conflict within nations between their own people. We lived it 160 years ago. Last time it was primarily two issues. Slavery and states rights. This time it cuts across nearly every social, governmental, economic, and worldview philosophy that forms the fundamental guiding laws and documents of a nation.
How will this resolve itself?
We had better begin opening diplomatic channels with those we disagree with within our own communities and even families. We had better start giving gentle (and then not so gentle) rebukes to those who are engaged in discussions that do nothing but taunt and inflame the other side, including our President.
In short, keeping this a cold civil war will be up to the grass roots people in this nation who are on both sides of the disagreements. It is evident that politicians are not aware of the consequences of their actions or do not care. Both are sobering prospects. Meanwhile, is California becoming today’s South Carolina? This isn’t something to just brush off. It’s serious.
I am redoubling my resolve to be more conscience of measuring my words. Measuring my posts. Measuring the articles I share.
- Do not engage in snarky posts.
- Do not engage in ad hominid attacks.
- Do not engage in ridicule.
Engage in the debate? Yes.
- Do so with a tone that seeks to elevate the discussion rather than put down an “opponent.”
- Make a point based on principle.
- Seek any common ground that may exist.
- Attempt to build some relationship on that.
Do what you can, because we may not get a second chance to get this time in history right. The Great American Reset still has many dangerous paths it can take.