Is America headed for a second civil war? | The Tylt
Deadly violence at a white supremacist rally spurred an ominous piece in the New Yorker: "Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?" Race, slavery, and the Confederacy have loomed large during the Trump's campaign and presidency. Confederate flags, Civil War monuments, and even the reasons why we fought in the first Civil War remain hotly debated. Some say America's divisions are being overstated; others argue we're still fighting a civil war that never really ended. What do you think?
Is America headed for a second civil war?
In March, Foreign Policy asked an international civil war expert Keith Mines to estimate the chances that the U.S. may be on the brink of a second Civil War. His answer was chilling:
Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.
President Trump “modeled violence as a way to advance politically and validated bullying during and after the campaign,” Mines wrote....“It is like 1859, everyone is mad about something and everyone has a gun.”
But other historians argue that if we survived the Vietnam era and the fight for civil rights without devolving into actual war, we can get through this period too.
It’s certainly possible to imagine America returning to the violence of the 1960s and ’70s, and beneath the overwrought language, that’s what some — though not all — of these civil war prophets seem to have in mind. But a near-future war with two clear sides and Gettysburg-sized casualty counts is about as likely as a war with the moon.
Others point out that Americans are violently at odds about the direction of the country in ways that actually resemble the 1850s.
Americans are more than politically polarized; we are bitterly divided about our expanding diversity, about the proper function of government, about the right to vote and how to protect it, over women’s reproductive rights, about climate science, over whether we even believe in a social contract between citizens and the polity. In other words, like the 1850s, we are divided over conflicting visions of our future.
Some argue the Civil War actually never ended, because America never resolved the divides or rectified the injustices that caused it in the first place.
“When you look at the map of red and blue states and overlap on top of it the map of the Civil War—and who was allied with who in the Civil War—not much has changed,” Judith Giesberg, the editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era and a historian at Villanova University, told me. “We never agreed on the outcome of the Civil War and the direction the country should go in.
The Civil War never ended, just went into a very long hibernation. We are seeing it awakening with 45. Could get very ugly, again.— Max (@MaxineTHartley) August 5, 2017
For many Confederate families, Civil War never ended. Attacking US government & military got too risky. So they just lynched black people.— samvega (@samvega) August 20, 2017
Yet many point to Boston and the overwhelming turnout of peaceful antiracist protesters as evidence that the majority of Americans are actually united against forces that would divide us with violence.