So – Let’s Say We DO Have A Second American Civil War — Here’s What Might Happen

Fact: on the day he resigned the presidency because of Watergate, Richard Nixon still drew a 29% approval rating. Though it was Republicans who literally went to the White House and told Nixon it was over, a huge chunk of their party membership didn’t agree.

They wanted Nixon’s lawlessness to continue.

Another fact: more than a third of America (Nixon’s base plus a little more) have no interest in representative democracy and never have. They’ve never celebrated our great experiment in self government, they’ve despised it because they’ve always known that democracy would stamp an end date on white, Christian male rule. White, Christian men all by themselves can’t breed enough to keep up with America’s diversifying population. That’s why so many of them hole up in the woods or go full desert rat so their paranoia and racism can run wild.

As historian Heather Cox Richardson describes in her book How The South Won The Civil War, though the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox — and its army ceased to be — it still went on to win the Peace that followed the war by getting ahold of the narrative. A war fought specifically because of slavery became a war fought over “states’ rights”. Traitors became great generals fighting for a grand but lost cause. The antebellum world — repugnant because of its reliance upon slaves and slavery — became romanticized in our popular culture. In fact popular culture — books, movies — took up the mantle of “The Glorious South” and made the racism upholding it all acceptable.

That’s a pretty good result for the side that got crushed.

Lincoln’s successor — Andrew Johnson — began undermining Reconstruction as soon as it began. Had he not done that, our history might have been very different. We might have mitigated some of the hurt caused by slavery. Instead, we doubled down on institutional racism and, in very many ways, kept the Civil War going albeit deep in our national psyche. The ripple effects haunt us constantly.

As hard as Trump and the GOP want to make voting, it looks like the numbers will simply overwhelm them. Whereas no one was looking for Trump’s cheating in 2016, in this election, he’s made it a feature — so everyone’s looking at it. Never mind that it’s insane to equate a win via cheating with a legitimate win. Trump and the Republicans have managed to offend just about everyone who isn’t a white male Christian (or the women playing beta dog to them). The reason they need to curtail the vote is because the vote will be so massive — and so massively against them. It should be so massive that even flipping votes on voting machines won’t help: the difference will be too vast. Flipping vote tallies that far apart wouldn’t even pass a Republican’s smell test.

This isn’t about the Democrats winning, it’s about winning by a staggering margin. That’s why, despite the positive polling, no one can let up. It is a numbers game. And we may not know for certain on November 3 who won. We may not know officially for a week or more — because all those mail-in ballots must be counted. Trump and the Republicans will begin their Civil War right there and then.

Remember — Trump needs to be POTUS for the rest of his life. The second he stops being president? He’ll be indicted — at the very least by the SDNY where Trump remains the “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Michael Cohen case. Now that we know that Rod Rosenstein prevented both the FBI and Team Mueller from investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia — there’ll be that too. There’ll be civil suits flying from everywhere at Trump. He’ll spend more on lawyers than some countries do on electricity.

Trump can’t and won’t accept defeat. Here in the real world, he will pay for his crimes. One way or another — especially once we’ve wrested control of the presidency, the Senate and the Department of Justice from corrupt Republican control — every last bit of Republican malfeasance and treason will be investigated, tried and punished.

But, let’s pretend for a moment that Trump and his Republican pals take over a big chunk of real estate — threatening a lengthy, violent conflict. In the end, the United States of America cedes the Trumpian States of America Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. As a kind of “house warming” gift, we put up Trump’s wall for him.

As our view of Trump and his corrupt pals disappears behind that wall, we’ll start a clock running — to see, over time, which version of America prospers and thrives and which doesn’t. Will the United States of America do better — with its belief in e pluribus unum? Or will The Trumpian States of America “Be Best” — proving that a cult-of-personality-worshipping population, their heads filled with magical thinking and white rage can operate like an actual country.

Personally, I give the TSA about six months before things begin falling apart. The brain drain they suffered at the experiment’s start has left them with fantasists & sycophants to solve all their problems. Trump having succumbed to one of his various physical ailments, the TSA is now broken up into fiefdoms run by Ivanka, Junior and even Barron. He and Tiffany have had to team up to avoid getting eaten by their siblings. Another fiefdom is run by Mitch McConnell and the remnants of the Republican Party.

Mitch lives in a castle. He doesn’t care what’s happening outside of it. Same goes for every other Republican muckety-muck. They cashed out. The country doesn’t make anything that anyone wants so the cash flow’s mostly negative (hey — they do have a little mineral wealth and Mount Rushmore driving their “tourism industry”!) The great natural wonders aren’t so great or natural anymore — since plundering them was considered de rigeur.

Life in the TSA is cheap and nasty. It’s mostly white people in-breeding more of that “white superiority that isn’t”. Religion has replaced science in the classroom. Parsimony has replaced every ounce of Christian charity. It’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone’s just another flavor of Alpo.

Meanwhile, across the border, life is hard still because it will take a while to undo the profound, systemic damage Trump caused. But, the damage made systemic change both necessary and easier. Ironically, conservative fear of socialism has created the very “socialized” America that scared them and in record time.

Health CARE is now a right of everyone in America. UBI is a fact of life as is either a fully-paid-for college education or whatever training program someone needs to fully prepare their skill sets. Our bottom line will have shifted from money to people.

That’s renewed the world’s view of America as the place where innovation happens. All those great minds are now turning to climate change and how to mitigate it. Slowly, we turn to face all our other problems too. Removing the racists from our population has definitely helped our racism problem — but everyone has the potential to be racist. It’s hard-wired into us (the potential). We still have to teach ourselves to combat it every single day.

The result? A dynamic country filled with hope and promise. An America way closer to living up to its ideals than ever before.

And then one day, there’s a knock at the door. It’s stragglers fleeing the TSA, looking for asylum.

Behind them, we see more stragglers — looking hungry, fearful and hopeless. The good news? Our strong, prosperous version of America can help them. And will.

When we get to the end of THAT Civil War — the one that ends with our banging economy and their whimpering — I hope we have the good sense to get our historians writing. This time, in addition to winning the war, let’s win the damned peace.

At least let’s make our movie version of what happened better than theirs. Not that it will be hard.

It Won’t Be Enough Just To Impeach & Remove Trump From Office; We Must EXPUNGE Every Bit Of Him

America’s original sin — not outlawing slavery in our Constitution — still haunts us to this day. We fought a Civil War over that fact — before Andrew Johnson’s small-minded, racist actions prevented the Reconstruction that might have salved slavery’s wounds just enough to let us move forward productively. Wrongs that go unrighted will not fix themselves.

By the same token (there’s a reason the country’s founders made their foundational document (the Constitution) updateable — they recognized the likelihood of flaws in their work and the need for We The People to remedy their flaws. Not giving women equal rights to men was another tragic mistake. Think of all the brain power, the governing talent, the skills, insights and sheer competency we kept not just on the sidelines but in the stands, watching the men follow a game plan down the shitter.

We need to get this right — impeaching Donald Trump. We’re poised to double down on our slavery mistake. If we don’t expunge every bit of Donald Trump from our Democratic and electoral systems, those bits of Trump will linger. Eventually they’ll coalesce into something vaguely Trump-like that will try again to betray everything we’re based on. Trumpism is evil. Leave even a trace and that trace will metastasize into a facsimile of the evil itself.

The legal logic to expunging Trump is sound. The law says you cannot cheat in order to “win the job” of being President of the United States. Therefore, if you DO cheat, you did not, in fact, win the job. Take Russia out of the equation and Trump never gets past the Republican primaries. Take Russia out of the equation and Trump doesn’t get the bump weaponized proprietary polling data gave him in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump has indicated like a pointer dog standing over a downed duck at his own illegitimacy.

It’s time we took him at his word. It’s the one way he’s ever truthful. In spite of himself.

We need to flat out void Donald Trump’s presidency. We can’t pretend it never happened, but we can reverse every bit of Trumpian legislation. Keep in mind — as much as Trump has betrayed us, so, too, has the entire Republican Party. They let this happen. They KNEW it was happening as far back as the 2016 convention when now GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy worried to a group of the Republican muckety-mucks that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Moscow Mitch McConnell knew what was happening when he stood up on his treason turtle legs at the Gang Of Eight meeting President Obama hastily convened at the White House in September 2016 and insisted that if Obama tried to hip the nation to what Russia was actively doing (attacking the election to make Trump POTUS), he would accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence to win the election for Hillary Clinton”. Of course, that’s NOT what Obama was doing. He was trying to warn us of a very real, very imminent threat to our Democracy and our Republic.

Mitch McConnell opposed that happening. You have to ask “WHY?”

McConnell — like all the Republicans — want Donald Trump to be permanent potus. They want minority rule to be fixed and unremovable. They want to destroy our Democratic foundations and literally dismantle the Republic — the greatest experiment in human self government ever. Why would we want to “work with” these people? Why would we want to “hold onto” any impact or influence they’ve had when all their impact and influence was meant to destroy the very thing we hold dear?

We don’t want to. We can’t. If slavery is any guidepost, we need to blow up Republican corruption before it dooms us to pay for NOT blowing it up some time in the future. Everything Trump touched needs to be gone. Every law. Every judge. Every SCOTUS judge.

Republicans made a concerted effort to steal political power from the American People. They stole the outcome of an election in order to bend the Republic’s future toward them and their desires. From the Constitution’s point of view — ditto the Rule Of Law — the Republican Party is a criminal enterprise. They’re car thieves.

And the way the Rule Of Law works, there’s no middle ground. You cannot claim ownership of a stolen car just because you (the thief) are sitting in it. That’s not how it works.

If we allow the Republicans to keep the loot they stole — the will of the majority — we will be setting ourselves up for failure exactly the way we did with slavery. It’ll be “Slavery, Part Two: History Repeats Itself”.

On This Perverse Independence Day, A Reminder — American Exceptionalism Is REAL: It’s Our DIVERSITY…

Today may be July 4, but it doesn’t feel like a normal Independence Day. More like… Trumpendance Day. Not a national celebration, a national tragedy.

If our problem were only Donald Trump — his corruption, his crime family and their spider web of self-serving criminal enterprises — his treason — this “problem” would have been solved already. Not hyperbole: the entire Republican Party is evidently complicit in every last bit what Donald Trump is doing, has done — intends to do to what was the United States of America. Not to get too far into the weeds (there are so damned many) — The demographics clearly against them (remember those “demographics” — we’ll return to them shortly) — the Republican “brain trust” saw that the days of White, Christian hegemony over America were sunsetting — and fast. Popular vote numbers (and the more Americans who vote, the more Democratic we tilt) put the presidency (the Executive Branch) permanently out of reach. The Legislative branch also looked dicey. The one shot the Republican brain trust saw as a means to hold onto power: capture the judiciary. Fill the benches from SCOTUS on down with permanent appointees, every last one a cultural/legal troglodyte, wedded like a Bride of Christ to the idea that America needs to live in its Antebellum past.

Those people have hijacked the country. Before that, they hijacked the language (twisting “A well regulated militia” into “have all the guns ya want!”) and even history (going into the Civil War, not a single seceding Confederate state said a word about “state’s rights”. Every single secession document sites slavery as its reason for leaving the Union. The South proved the maxim — never mind who wins the war, what matters is who wins the peace that follows. The South managed to revise history to make us think we weren’t still arguing about slavery.

Those people — Conservative, white Christians — also have tried to hijack the idea of “American Exceptionalism”. They want everyone to believe what makes us different — special, damn it! — is white, Christian men and their money. That is prime, grade A bullshit.

American Exceptionalism is its diversity.

With the caveat that step one involved wiping out most of America’s native population (guns, steel and especially germs) — and with the added caveat that European populations were living in abject squalor while great civilizations thrived across North America — America was a kind of blank slate culturally and historically. Whereas the Gauls, the Celts, the Bretons, Aquitanians, Ligurians, and Germanic people arriving at the beginning of the Frankish Empire (481–843) would, in time, evolve into “French People” just as the Hun tribes in Germany became Germans, the Swiss became Swiss, the Spanish became Spanish and the Italians became a collection of disorganized city-states masquerading as a country, there were no tribes present on North America to eventually evolve into those “people”.

As I said, aside from the ones the arriving Europeans wiped out, THEY were the foundation for what became “Americans”. But not just Europeans. They weren’t the only ones here. There were still native Americans. And lots of Africans. There were, in fact, people from all over the world — here at the founding of the country and immediately thereafter. The white men who drew up the documents over-represented themselves and their interests — as wealthy white men always do. But the ideals transcended their narrow-mindedness.

Look at America’s history, who contributed to it, who BUILT the country, not just with their labor but with their passion, their idealism, their love of the idea of building something of your own creation — that you participate in governing. What a remarkable notion to spring from the minds of people who’d always been ruled over by kings and inheritors of power. No more inheritance — power would spring from the Will of The People.

And the people, as we know — as any Republican can tell you, their pearls clutched tightly — are, have been and are getting even more DIVERSE.

Happy Birthday, America. Happy Exceptionalism!

America: ‘Died Of A Theory’?

I’m a History Geek.  Among the History topics that Geek me out most is The Civil War — you know, that ‘thing’ we fought for ‘States Rights’ according to Revisionist (Southern) History but really fought cos SLAVERY.

Ken Burns’ ‘Civil War’ series is Nirvana.  The first time I heard David McCoullough’s exquisite baritone caressing the letter home by Union soldier Sullivan Ballou the day before he died at the first Battle of Bull Run, I wept openly.  Mr Ballou was an ordinary man from New England — well educated lawyer and politician with a bright future.  His eloquence in the face of his own Mortality is… it’s enough to make you weep.

Here’s the text and a clip…

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more …

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt …

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness …

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again …

 

Anyway — One of the Interview subjects whose views on the subject forms a kind of ‘backbone’ for the whole series is Shelby Foote.  Mr Foote references in one of the episodes an explanation by a Civil War contemporary of ‘what  happened’ to America — what caused this ‘disagreement’ that resulted in a split between nationalist factions?  I can’t recall the name of the person Mr Foote referenced (and I ain’t digging for it right this second…) but the way this person put it was perfect; he said that America — as a country in pursuit of an ideal instead of a bloodline — had ‘…Died of a theory.’

‘Died of a theory’.  Is that not us in an actual ‘nutshell’?

Great concept, America — self-government seems to work for the most part.  Too bad about the morons and dunderheads who can’t handle self-government cos they’re too GREEDY & CORRUPT & STUPID.

When the freedom to choose what we say, how we vote, how we govern ourselves gets undermined — by people who hate it — it’s incumbent on US to step up and Do The Right Thing.  To preserve what people all around the world have seen as a literal Beacon of Hope.

This Is Not A Drill, America.

Don’t wait for the shit to get deeper.  After this, it’s ‘Man The Lifeboats!’