Is America on the Cusp of a Second Civil War?

The most controversial movie of 2024 (so far) is the dystopian film “Civil War.” It depicts a politically and socially divided America in the throes of a second civil war.

In the not-too-distant future, the United States is no longer united but split into four warring forces or states. There are the Loyalist States based in Washington D.C., which include states in New England, the Great Lakes, and parts of the Midwest; the Florida Alliance, which includes many of the Southeastern states; the Portland Maoists or New People’s Army, which includes states in the Northwest; and the Western Forces comprised of Texas and California.

When I look at those four opposing factions, the biggest mystery to me is how Texas and California were able to unify into a formidable fighting force. I always learned that oil and water don’t mix—let alone the diametrically divergent politics of Texas and California.

There is no mystery about the Maoists who control Oregon and Washington, but how the Communists were able to gain control of conservative Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas seems implausible to me. Anybody who has spent time in those traditionalist enclaves will know what I am saying.

Oh well. It is just a movie, after all.

“Civil War” begins with the Western Forces (Texas and California) engaged in a hot war with the Loyalist States and about to invade Washington D.C. We are not told how the war began or why. We view the story through the eyes of four journalists on their way from New York to Washington, D.C., to interview the beleaguered Loyalist president.

Some folks who have seen the film (I haven’t) tell me they were disturbed by the movie’s premise—that the discordant partisanship that divides present-day America could morph into full-scale violence. They tell me the story is too alarmingly plausible to be enjoyed as escapist entertainment.

Of course, I suspect when the first Civil War began in 1861, millions of Americans never thought that the political divisions between northern and southern states could explode into a bloody war that took almost 700,000 American lives.

So, even if the war in the film doesn’t directly map to the partisanship that divides Americans today, it doesn’t make its messages about journalism, authoritarianism, and armed resistance improbable.

For a while now, I have watched our country rip itself apart politically and socially, and it’s not the first time.

In 1969, when I was a college student, I witnessed leftist students opposed to the war in Vietnam burn down the student union building on the campus of the University of Kansas.

    Death at Kent State, 1970

I was in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention when street fighting erupted between the police and demonstrators. I remember Kent State University on May 4, 1970, when 28 Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds at students protesting the war in Cambodia, killing four of them and wounding nine others.

During less than four months in the summer and fall of 1969, eight bombings by the socialist-inspired Weather Underground and the Red Army Faction rocked major institutions in New York City. Both groups had the mistaken belief that they could bomb ideologies they opposed out of existence.

According to FBI statistics, the United States experienced more than 2,500 domestic bombings in just 18 months in 1971 and 1972. I remember some of them well. I covered them as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. The groups behind these attacks included the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the New World Liberation Front, the FALN, the “Family,” and the United Freedom Front.

What does any of that have to do with what’s happening in our country today? At first glance, not much. Yes, some antisemitic numbskulls have protested Israel’s war of survival with Hamas and Hezbollah, and so far, nobody is protesting Washington’s support for the war in Ukraine.  In any case, the anti-Israel protests pale in comparison to the often violent demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s in opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Yet here we are on the verge of a new Civil War in which some misguided leftist nuts in the Democrat Party want to obliterate our capitalist republic and replace it with a half-baked system of socialism. Never mind that socialism has failed everywhere in the world it has been tried.

Instead of the egalitarian utopias that socialism promises, it has oppressed workers, wiped out individual incentives and freedom, and guaranteed that the ruling hierarchies thrive like drones in a bee hive populated with obedient worker bees.

As this is happening, those on the right are girding themselves for what they see as a war to protect the constitutionally protected rights that millions of Americans have fought and died for since the 18th Century.

They see politically correct speech constantly eroding the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression.

They see the persistent wearing away of the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms against an omnipotent and possibly tyrannical central government. It’s no secret that socialist-leaning Democrats prefer a dominant, Washington-based central government.

The face, if not the brains, of the Democrat-Socialist Party

They hear the chants for an unrealistic Green New Deal, a guaranteed wage for everybody—even for those unwilling to work, free college educations and the end of student debt, the end of cattle and other animal livestock, mandated single-payer government-run health care, and the murder of newly-born infants—otherwise known as infanticide.

We even have Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promising to provide progressive activists with an “enemies” list of moderate Democrats who dare to work across the aisle with Republicans.

So, are we on the verge of a second Civil War? Will we repeat the violence that almost destroyed our country between 1861 and 1865 when some 650,000 Americans died?

The political and societal signs are there, just as they were 164 years ago. Identity politics is turning us into a nation of competing tribes. Only the pervasive violence is missing. But it may not be far away.

Sometimes, it seems as if we are drawing near to a point in time that is akin to 1860. Today’s Democrats hate former President Trump as much as the Democrats of 1860 hated President Lincoln. They renounced Lincoln for opposing slavery. Meanwhile, contemporary Democrat leaders appear to have jettisoned Lincoln’s conviction that the American government is of the people, for the people, and by the people. Instead, Democrats today seem to believe that the American people should serve and submit to an omnipotent government ruled by one party—Democrats. Just as they were in 1860, Democrats today are on the wrong side of history.

We know that conservatives and leftists disagree on almost all issues. In the few cases where they do agree, entrenched tribalism keeps Democrats and Republicans from supporting one another.

Liberals typically don’t attempt to win arguments using facts and reason, so their tactic is to intimidate their opponents into reticence. Judges issue gag orders, and the Justice Department accuses angry parents at school board meetings of extremism and inciting insurrection. Even though Democrats focus their hatred on Donald Trump, the fact is their loathing is actually for all conservative Americans—those that Joe Biden calls MAGA extremists and insurrectionists.

Conservatives believe the founders created the U.S. Constitution to restrain government power and overreach. They believe the Constitution can be altered only by a broad consensus through the amendment process. For the most part, conservatives believe that God creates natural rights and that the government cannot invent or alter them.

Leftists and socialists believe in a so-called “living Constitution.” They say the document is outdated and should be easily amended to fit the tenor of the times. For example, most leftists feel the 1st and 2nd Amendments (freedom of speech and the right to own guns) should be scrapped. They believe the way to change the Constitution is via judicial rulings, bypassing Congress and the voters.  In other words, who needs a constitution? We can make it up as we go along.

Given these political and social realities, how might a violent civil war explode in America? What would be the issues that could ignite such a horrific conflict between Americans?

Let’s begin with the nation’s education system. Leftists have taken over schools and colleges and are indoctrinating our young people with Critical Race Theory and the discredited 1619 Project. Children are being taught to despise our country because of the sins of its past—slavery, racism, and the exploitation of workers. Instead of teaching children that our country has overcome its deleterious past, they are being indoctrinated with Marxist propaganda that tells them nothing has changed since the first Civil War.

Leftist goons shout down speakers at colleges, illegally occupy college buildings and government offices, and terrorize political opponents, such as Supreme Court Justices, in their homes. Pro-Hamas and antisemitic thugs block airports, bridges, and highways. Few, if any, are ever arrested and prosecuted.

Leftwingers control some 90 percent of the news and entertainment media. Vocal conservatives, on the other hand, are often excluded from newsrooms or booted from radio and TV shows (Tucker Carlson and Megan Kelly come to mind).

Violent crime and theft are unrestrained across the United States, especially in Democrat-controlled cities. Meanwhile, our dishonest news media refuse to acknowledge the problem because it makes Democrat leadership in blue states and cities look weak and ineffective—which they are.

The Biden White House has weaponized the Department of Justice and the courts with spurious “lawfare” cases designed to paralyze and silence political opponents like Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Allen Weisselberg, Peter Navarro, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn.

In addition, more than 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot. The most serious charge has been seditious conspiracy –a felony involving attempts “to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.” Some 570 of the 1,000 have pled guilty, and 78 have been convicted. Donald Trump has called those 1,000 Americans “martyrs,” and if elected, he says he may consider pardoning them.

Leftists say their anti-conservative behavior is their way of combating tyranny and protecting democracy. In fact, they battle and intimidate anyone with whom they disagree. The idea that leftists are protecting democracy is the vilest of canards because the Democrat party today embraces socialism, not the constitutional republic that the founders created.

Judging from recent polls, the left’s socialist agenda is losing ground with ordinary Americans. But socialists and leftists are doubling down, assaulting verbally, and sometimes physically, anyone who opposes them. Corrupt Marxist organizations such as ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter use looting, street fighting, and arson against those they oppose.

Do they expect half the nation—the 75 million who voted for Donald Trump in 2020—to sit by passively while they terrorize political opponents and burn down cities? If anything, street violence is likely to be the spark that ignites a second civil war.

And that leads me to another question. Why are leftist and socialist Democrats constantly so angry? Why do leftist talking heads on CNN and MSNBC slander and push fake labels like racist, sexist, and transphobe? Why do they engage in emotive eruptions when challenged?

The answer is simple. When leftists don’t have facts to support their arguments, they resort to intimidation. Their leftist narratives are designed to keep people in a constant state of anguish and fear. They want us to be divided by race, class, religion, political affiliation, gender, and sexual orientation.

Tyrants throughout history have used similar tactics when trying to overcome foes. It’s called “divide and conquer,” and today’s Marxist Democrats are using it to great effect.

All leftist elites care about is power and control, and they will do anything to hold on to it. Their policies have always been tailored to keep people impoverished, fearful, weak, and needing government assistance. The bigger the government, the more power leftists and socialists possess, and the more they can restrict our freedoms.

Does the George Orwell book “1984” come to mind?

The left and their socialist brethren understand that when we Americans are divided, we are weak. When we are weak, we cannot fight back—especially when we have lost our constitutional right to speak freely and to bear arms, which is what the left wants. Eliminate our First and Second Amendment rights, and Americans will be effectively gagged and disarmed.

So, the question is this. If socialist/Marxist democrats achieve absolute one-party control of the United States as they want and intend to do, will half of the nation—those 75 million MAGA Republicans and “insurrectionist extremists” that Joe Biden loves to demonize, rise up and fight back?

Right now, I would say such an uprising is highly improbable. My opinion may change depending on what happens in November.

Meanwhile, I must challenge one central premise in the film “Civil War.”

There is no way on God’s green earth that conservative, politically independent, gun-toting, and free-speaking Texans would ever team up with left-wing, government-dependent, gun-hating, speech-constrained Californians in a nonlethal paintball battle, let alone a bloody civil war.

After all, when it comes to believability, even the strangest of fiction has its limits.


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About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

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