Civil War II
The election of 1860, reducere
October 28th 2018
There is an article by Stephen Marche in the current Walrus that, while addressed to Canadians, is of major importance elsewhere: “America’s Next Civil War.” https://thewalrus.ca/americas-next-civil-war/
The article delineates a process by which in the fairly immediate future, America may descend into civil war, or perhaps widespread chaos.
The existential threat this provides to Canadians is clear. Much of Canada’s identity and economy result from the twitches and grunts from the slumbering elephant next door, and indeed, Canada’s very existence stems from northern ambition and desire to expand in the wake of their victory in the first civil war. It’s no coincidence that the movement to unify the British colonies into a “not-United States” materialized in 1864, when it was clear the North was going to win. (Some BNA colonists, while absolutely hating slavery, hoped for a prolonged standoff between the Confederacy and the Union, which would nullify American expansionism.)
Of course, the threat is even greater to Americans, who in the event of a civil war can reasonably expect to die by the tens of millions. The first civil war was extraordinarily bloody and vicious; there’s no reason to suppose that a repeat, involving a far larger population that heavily is armed in and of themselves with weapons of mass destruction.
People like to pretend that conditions in the US were more polarized and antagonistic in 1860. They weren’t, at least not outside the more radical enclaves in the deep South. Republicans, sensing the danger the nation faced, backed down and nominated a moderate, who could live with the existing institution of slavery but opposed allowing it to spread westward (reflecting existing law). That moderate, Abraham Lincoln, subsequently became President.
But the southern leadership had adopted an intractable position, and the war happened anyway.
It’s important to remember that most Americans in 1861 believed the war would be brief, relatively bloodless, and would end as soon as the politicians realized it was bad for business. You often hear similar sentiments on the eve of any major war; in living memory, Americans remember how it would take weeks to subdue Iraq and the war would pay for itself. Or so they were told.
Nobody is going to mistake Trump and the Republicans for moderates, and unlike the era of the civil war, the institutions of voting, the judiciary, and congress itself weren’t delegitimize they way they are now. Voters expected their votes to be allowed, and counted. Judges were supposed to be impartial, at least most of the time. Congress was hagridden by moneyed interests, but at least those interests were human residents who had a stake in the country, rather than a multinational bottom line.
I suspect that next week’s election might be the irrevocable last step, the way the presidential election of 1860 was.
The really scary thing is that it may not matter who gets declared the victor in the 2018 elections; the validity will be in grave doubt. If Republicans don’t get their way, they will spin endless conspiracy theories about George Soros, globalists, the ‘deep state’, immigrants and Hillary. If Republicans hold the house, the massive irregularities already evident in George, Kansas and other states will cause many to doubt the validity of the vote count. Nobody will trust state investigators working for states that created the sense of illegitimacy in the first place, And the Trump administration has done an excellent job of carrying out the Republican policy of subverting the courts, making them apparatus of the Party, so there will be widespread mistrust there, as well. And of course neither side will believe press reports, valid or otherwise, seen as coming from “the other side.”
I don’t expect instant disintegration following the election. If the Democrats prevail, there will be lots of outrage on the right, and probably a sharp uptick in terrorist attacks like the ones we’ve seen this week, lots of pearl-clutching on Faux and the right wing media, and outrage as the Trump administration continues to collapse, with the attendant threats of a Reichstag fire or major war as unifying distractions.
The response will be at least temporarily subdued as the same fascists who have been promoting the Republican agenda stop to consider their bottom lines (despite the popular saying, war is actually very bad for business) and strong doubt about what the stance of the American military might be (The officer corps are strongly Republican, but reportedly deeply antipathetic to Trump).
If the Republicans prevail, the chaos may come more quickly. Trump and his handlers will rush to consolidate what they will doubtlessly see as the successful conclusion of a coup against the United States, and a largely disbelieving populace is likely to take to the streets.
Some police organizations are deeply infiltrated by extreme righties and evenneo-Nazis, and they won’t hesitate to use extreme and bloody methods of suppression against what they will call “communist agitators.”
At which point the fuse will be well and truly lit, the ensuing explosion inevitable.
Can this be avoided? I’m not sure. I honestly don’t think so. When America’s closest friend and ally, Canada, begins openly preparing for chaos and bloodshed south of the border and pondering what to do with the inevitable flood of refugees, it means prospects are grim.
Pay attention to this election like your life depends on it. It probably does.
And if you hear public officials opining that the spreading unrest is just temporary and should be over in a few weeks, a month tops, then run for shelter!