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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Pouring on the Gasoline: Making threats, metaphorical or not, against one’s political opponents only makes our smoldering political atmosphere hotter.

 The Left is setting the stage for a civil war, a war that may already have begun.

It’s a commonplace that America is more divided than at any time since the 1850s, which ended with the country hurtling toward civil war. The oddity of our Civil War, which resembled conventional warfare in that the two sides fielded uniformed rather than guerilla armies and fought within a distinct territorial divide, is that it distracts us from the fact that civil war is the most typical political phenomenon in human history. Count it as another example of American exceptionalism, perhaps. Except that today the air is thick with talk that we might actually have another one.


 Maybe the next civil war has already started, as they more often do, with a slow boil rather than a firing on Fort Sumter. Right now, we’re experiencing rioting and violence mostly coming from Antifa, though some fringy alt-right groups like the Proud Boys are trying to stir the pot in Portland and elsewhere. We saw a preview in the small riots and demonstrations that accompanied President Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, and the current wave of rioting in the country may be another preview of coming attractions.

The prospect of electoral chaos was elevated by the war-gaming exercise of the Transition Integrity Project, in which a disputed election might feature riots, states threatening secession, a stubborn Trump abusing his powers to remain in office, and the military wondering who they should report to at noon next January 20. Needless to say it made for sensational copy in the media, much of which was both overblown and underblown: overblown because of the frothy Seven Days in May specter it suggested, and underblown in that it barely scratched the surface of more realistic permutations of what could go wrong with this election.

Who would you like to see shot?

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