The New American Civil War
The United States is hurtling down the road to becoming a banana republic where political opponents are attacked and hounded, judicial processes deployed in the pursuit of power, and political differences are settled by bombings and violence.
For nearly three years now, first as candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has stoked White nationalist hatred on a regular, almost daily basis. Elected by a minority vote thanks to America’s quirky electoral college system, beset by criminal investigations for decades-long business frauds, hounded by disastrous public approval ratings, ineptitude and galling administrative failures, Trump has retreated for political survival into a den of losers and racists that accidentally powered him into the presidency.
Much though it stings him, Trump has settled upon the political realization that he is condemned to be a minority president, so he is hell bent in fortifying the trenches with racists of all hues, principally uneducated White males, who deflect their economic and cultural decline on to colored people. To a lesser degree, he holds some appeal to a category of White females, who find at least some relief in viewing themselves as a notch above the colored hordes their fathers and husbands so despise.
Watching helplessly in horror as their privileged White world slipped away from under their grasp over the past two decades, these White nationalists have found their ultimate voice in Trump’s rage. The rest of the world may recoil at his crassness, hatred and advocacy of violence against political opponents, the poor and the most vulnerable in our midst, but his frequently coded racist bile fires up his base. Their hatred and humiliation is so all-consuming that it matters little that it runs counter to even their Christian ethics and morality.
Trump’s political events have all the trapping of Ku Klux Klan night rallies, short of cross burnings and public lynchings. In time, they might be clamoring for that too. Trump himself seems all but pining for them, encouraging his supporters to beat up protestors; leading chants of “lock her up” against political opponents, such as Hillary Clinton; even giving a shout-out to Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte for assaulting a journalist, “Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.”
His rabid, racist supporters have gone on a binge harassing and attacking immigrants and minorities in public forums for speaking a foreign language, wearing ethnic garbs, or even for being out of place, such as an African American man entering his own upscale home. How dare he!
Now the tinderbox Trump has been constructing has finally exploded with the murder of 11 Jews in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, believed to the deadliest attack against Jews in U.S. history. The attack follows the arrest of a rabid Trump supporter in Florida for mailing almost a dozen pipe bombs to politicians and journalists frequently targeted and mocked by Trump, including several prominent Democrats and former Pres. Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Trump is working assiduously to distract Americans by scaring them with unfounded and exaggerated fears of a Central American migrant caravan infiltrated by Middle East terrorists. In the process, he is providing much-needed cover for domestic right-wing fascists and Nazi terrorists. The Anti-Defamation League recently reported that White supremacists were responsible for 71 percent of extremist killings in the United States during the past decade, more than twice that by radical Islamists, the frequent bogeymen at Trump’s White resentment rallies.
The United States is hurtling down the road to becoming a banana republic where political opponents are attacked and hounded, criminal and judicial processes are compromised in the service and pursuit of power, and political differences are settled by bombings and violence. The problem is exacerbated by the country’s insane gun culture, which has propagated 1.2 guns for every man, woman and child in the country. Americans own 40 percent of the world’s 1 billion guns — more than the next 25 top-ranked guns ownership countries combined.
As Trump rallies his supporters with dog whistles that could trigger a new civil war, it is sobering to recall the pain and cost of the last one, eerily around very similar geographical fault lines, which inflicted more than half a million deaths and another 1 million casualties.
Is this price be worth it for the Faustian bargain so many decent Republicans seem to have struck with Trump in exchange for conservative judges and tax cuts?