A recent article authored by Daniel Lang, published on the website SHTFplan.com (Shit Hits The Fan Plan), presented an interesting topic for consideration, "The Simple Reason Why a Second American Civil War May Be Inevitable."
Now, it shouldn't be too far of a leap to surmise that most of the information published on SHTFplan.com is going to be fairly Chronophobic. The website itself is dedicated to the "doomsday prepper" enthusiast. However, it is difficult to be completely indifferent to some of the salient points brought up by the article. Now I want to make it abundantly clear; I am by no means an apocalyptic conspiracy theorist. Moreover, even as I write this, I have a sanguine outlook for the future.
The foundational argument Lang offers up for the current climate being a harbinger for a violently fractured country, is with the political polarization that we see in the country right now. In my opinion, Lang's view of an obstinately divided political society well exceeds the threshold for being probable and instead flirts with being verifiably factual.
Further evidence is presented by not only highlighting the numerous political protests that have gone around the country but also highlighting the uptick of violence, such as the Melee at Berkeley last week. Now, it is a far cry to say that a group of unruly Pro-Trump and Antifa protesters engaged in an all-out battle royal, complete with weapons of opportunity, precludes national combat. However, a point of contention that has been raised by conservatives since November 9th is that the country didn't see mass protest when a Democrat President was in office. Now, we can argue the validity of that till the cows come home. However, the truth is the country didn't see this volume of mass protest in the last eight years. Frankly, liberal supporters don't give a f$%# what conservatives did or didn't do the last eight years. For many people, President Trump crossed too many lines with things he said, and there will be no parlay now, much less forgiveness.
The article goes on to point out another inescapable fact that also cannot be denied. Political, ideological and philosophical differences have been segregated along geographical lines for some time now. Americans have increasingly geographically aligned themselves with politically like-minded individuals. In 1976, 26.8% of Americans lived in landslide counties; that is a county where the president won or lost by 20% of the vote. By 2004, an alarming 48.3% of Americans lived in landslide counties. In essence, if you find yourself aligned with a minority political party of an area, in truth, your vote doesn’t matter. This is also exasperated by the fact that often a presidential election is won or loss based on about 20% of the country's political direction for an election year. Essentially, geographically lumping together by political beliefs is doing nothing but facilitating further divide. It ensures that large compact, swaths of the populous will be unhappy every election cycle one way or another.
Lastly, in contemporary times people have never had such readily available access to information. Even though individuals have a virtually unlimited access to streams of diverse information; most people choose to stay confined within digital bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs. As the author points out, it's hard to see how this trend can be reversed, as our innovation has become merely passages for people to travel to reinforce their current feelings and opinions more easily. Ultimately, the modern world we live in provides the means to avoid different thoughts and offers no incentive for tolerance.
As alarming as the realization of how polarized the country is may be, it is almost irrefutable to dismiss this as just being an ominous glimmer on the horizon. No. Unfortunately, this is indeed fairly representative of the entire sky that most of us live under now.
Now, truth be told, this realization is the enduring motivation behind why I have a Facebook page and continue to reach out to people. Understandably, I lose many “first-time” fans, who stumble upon my page and initially assume I am another cog in the wheel of the uplifting the police image brigade. In essence, I fit into one of those digital bubbles for some. However, some become quickly incensed and even confused as to why would a police Lieutenant be talking about so many different national, global, and even humanistic issues.
The truth of my persistent desire to express or share so many divergent world views is related to an appreciation of the cultural climate, and societal crossroads which exists presently. Whether right or wrong, I take on the conviction that law enforcement officer means being a peace officer. To ever expect legitimate peace, one must first work through the truth of a situation. Then you must examine the truth of what caused the condition for the situation to occur in the first place. Then and only then, can one ever anticipate ever to reach the truth of peace.
Additionally, in examining many conflicting views and beliefs, I have discovered that virtually conflict regarding a subject, never involves discord about the subject itself. Rather, the disagreements all arise from how to approach or solve the matter. So long as we have some common ground, I can never assume that all hope is lost between people discovering a willingness to compromise. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle we all face in gaining a place where we desire to compromise is in having enough individuals who possess the desire to cooperate with others.
Without the willingness, we will be trapped and divided by trenches we have bloodied our bare hands digging. Assuming that the author’s prospection of an inevitable civil war is correct, let me now make an appeal to those amongst us who currently lack that necessary willingness for diverse collaboration.
For one thing, sovereign governments that are republics are always precariously balanced. Just ask the Roman Empire. However, if America was separated by Red and Blue states based on this past year’s election what would the two different nations look like regarding sustainability? Well, according to The Brookings Institute both the new “Red Nation” and “Blue Nation” would have a GDP of $9 trillion. That would effectively make both new countries the second and third largest global economies behind China. However, the “Blue Nation” would account for 64% of the total national economic output in 2015. Both Red and Blue states collected the same in federal taxes in 2015 – about $1.4 trillion dollars. However, Red states outpaced revenue by $300 billion annually according to usgovernmentrevenue.com. Essentially, like it or not, without dramatic shifts in the quality of life, the “Red Nation” requires the economic output of the “Blue Nation” for sustainability. Basically, this means there is no friendly parting of the ways regarding the formation of new sovereign nations. The economic necessity alone makes a unified United States worth fighting to keep. That means, civil war indeed is defined by the most dismal of implications.
Now, for all of American's chest thumping and beating of the drums of war, the truth is we don’t particularly have a taste for war. Sure, we are quick to be willing to encourage raining death from above on the enemies of American democracy, or anyone else who dares to think they can stand against the nation who’s defense budget represents over a third of the entire world’s combined.
However, as history has shown us, the American public’s fervor for war cries is significantly limited by our technological ability to disassociate ourselves from the realities of war. We enjoy video game warfare, where instruments of death can be safely delivered from miles away or by remotely piloted aircraft. Frankly, we like complete obliteration of our targets, and we don’t particularly enjoy seeing the blood of our enemies or collateral damages scrolling across our television screens. Now, even the most callous amongst us, are often shaken to an uncomfortable place the moment we begin to see the images of the American flag-draped coffins being unloaded from military cargo planes. As young men and women service member’s faces start to collect on memorial walls, our eagerness for combat begins to dip dramatically.
Consider, that the reality of a civil war II on American soil. It would indeed include nothing but row after row of flag-draped coffins. Parents of teenagers across the land would now find the ticking clock of their children’s formative school graduation as a persistent tick/tock of terror and anxiety. The Southern border wall that was once so highly sought after becomes now an unlikely ally of America’s southern neighbor. A barrier that helps keep out a fleeing populous who desires only a peaceful or prosperous chance at life. Because should the reverse influx of migrants flood in, they could represent a threat to Mexico’s cultural identity- “They don’t even speak Spanish!”
This image may all seem like an unlikely and melodramatically morbid leap from calling liberals “snowflakes” or conservatives “bigots.” However, I challenge all of you to consider something. What outcome do you actually desire? Honestly? What resolution does anyone who lacks the willingness to come to terms on common ground indeed expect? Or have we all become so accustomed to our ability for seclusion from that which challenges us, that we assume that we will all endure in a benign status quo? From an even-tempered perspective, this is more logically true than it is not.
Even if the status quo is reasonably persistent from our present view, does this mean the topic of eventual outcome does not bear discussion? Consider again, that in 28 years, the number of individuals who reside in politically align regions grew 21.5%. For a bulk of that time, it was without the innovation of information technology. Additionally, only 11 of those 28 years did American society exist without the FCC Fairness Doctrine for media organizations. Even if those differences in society were not significant influences and we maintain the same pace, by 2032 69.8% of people will live in politically one-dimensional regions. Does this much of a lack of locally deviating thought still resemble an environment that can contain the status quo?
At the end of the day, I still hold firm to my confidently optimistic view of America’s future. I believe on the darkest of nights, people will realize they see stars. Additionally, I refuse to give up belief in the goodness of all individuals. Now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit, a great deal of my enthusiasm persists on the willingness to live in diverse and cohesive United States of America. My only hope, is that I begin to see more individuals exhibit some willingness to at least listen to each other. That would at least let me be a little less optimistically anxious.