Is the US headed for another civil war?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by James R, Feb 11, 2022.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    There has been quite a bit of talk recently in the media (including The New York Times and the New Yorker) and among academics inside and outside the United States about the current political situation and the danger of the country sliding towards a second civil war.

    Here, I reproduce some quotes from an article in The Guardian (4 Jan 2022), by Stephen Marche (link: The next US civil war is already here – we just refuse to see it), as food for thought and - hopefully - as a discussion starter. I am interested to hear whether you think that Marche is just being an alarmist and blowing things well out of proportion, or whether you think there is a real and present danger (and if so, what needs to be done to prevent it). Or, perhaps you think that armed conflict is, in fact, the best way for America to progress to the sort of society you want to see?

    For the TL;DR crowd, I have emphasised some parts that I think are particularly discussion-worthy in bold type.

    Marche starts with this:

    Nobody wants what’s coming, so nobody wants to see what’s coming.

    On the eve of the first civil war, the most intelligent, the most informed, the most dedicated people in the United States could not see it coming. Even when Confederate soldiers began their bombardment of Fort Sumter, nobody believed that conflict was inevitable. The north was so unprepared for the war they had no weapons.​

    .... The United States today is, once again, headed for civil war, and, once again, it cannot bear to face it. The political problems are both structural and immediate, the crisis both longstanding and accelerating. The American political system has become so overwhelmed by anger that even the most basic tasks of government are increasingly impossible.​

    The legal system grows less legitimate by the day. Trust in government at all levels is in freefall, or, like Congress, with approval ratings hovering around 20%, cannot fall any lower. Right now, elected sheriffs openly promote resistance to federal authority. Right now, militias train and arm themselves in preparation for the fall of the Republic. Right now, doctrines of a radical, unachievable, messianic freedom spread across the internet, on talk radio, on cable television, in the malls.​

    The consequences of the breakdown of the American system is only now beginning to be felt. January 6 wasn’t a wake-up call; it was a rallying cry. The Capitol police have seen threats against members of Congress increase by 107%. Fred Upton, Republican representative from Michigan, recently shared a message he had received: “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your family dies.” And it’s not just politicians but anyone involved in the running of the electoral system. Death threats have become a standard aspect of the work life of election supervisors and school board members. A third of poll workers, in the aftermath of 2020, said they felt unsafe.​

    Under such conditions, party politics have become mostly a distraction. The parties and the people in the parties no longer matter much, one way or the other. Blaming one side or the other offers a perverse species of hope. “If only more moderate Republicans were in office, if only bipartisanship could be restored to what it was.” Such hopes are not only reckless but irresponsible. The problem is not who is in power, but the structures of power.

    The United States has burned before. The Vietnam war, civil rights protests, the assassination of JFK and MLK, Watergate – all were national catastrophes which remain in living memory. But the United States has never faced an institutional crisis quite like the one it is facing now. Trust in the institutions was much higher during the 1960s. The Civil Rights Act had the broad support of both parties. JFK’s murder was mourned collectively as a national tragedy. The Watergate scandal, in hindsight, was evidence of the system working. The press reported presidential crimes; Americans took the press seriously. The political parties felt they needed to respond to the reported corruption.​

    You could not make one of those statements today with any confidence.
    Marche points to factors increasing the likelihood of civil war:

    Two things are happening at the same time. Most of the American right have abandoned faith in government as such. Their politics is, increasingly, the politics of the gun. The American left is slower on the uptake, but they are starting to figure out that the system which they give the name of democracy is less deserving of the name every year.​

    An incipient illegitimacy crisis is under way, whoever is elected in 2022, or in 2024. According to a University of Virginia analysis of census projections, by 2040, 30% of the population will control 68% of the Senate. Eight states will contain half the population. The Senate malapportionment gives advantages overwhelmingly to white, non– college educated voters. In the near future, a Democratic candidate could win the popular vote by many millions of votes and still lose. Do the math: the federal system no longer represents the will of the American people.
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    On white supremacism and the ability of police forces to do their jobs effectively:

    The right is preparing for a breakdown of law and order, but they are also overtaking the forces of law and order. Hard right organization have now infiltrated so many police forces – the connections number in the hundreds – that they have become unreliable allies in the struggle against domestic terrorism.

    Michael German, a former FBI agent who worked undercover against domestic terrorists during the 1990s, knows that the white power sympathies within police departments hamper domestic terrorism cases. “The 2015 FBI counter-terrorism guide instructs FBI agents, on white supremacist cases, to not put them on the terrorist watch list as agents normally would do,” he says. “Because the police could then look at the watchlist and determine that they are their friends.” The watchlists are among the most effective techniques of counter-terrorism, but the FBI cannot use them. The white supremacists in the United States are not a marginal force; they are inside its institutions.

    Once political thugs become part of the apparatus of "law enforcement", they also become a tool for establishing a new authoritarian regime.

    .... Activist white supremacists in positions of authority are the real threat to American order and security. “If you look at how authoritarian regimes come into power, they tacitly authorize a group of political thugs to use violence against their political enemies,” German says. “That ends up with a lot of street violence, and the general public gets upset about the street violence and says, ‘Government, you have to do something about this street violence,’ and the government says, ‘Oh my hands are tied, give me a broad enabling power and I will go after these thugs.’ And of course once that broad power is granted, it isn’t used to target the thugs. They either become a part of the official security apparatus or an auxiliary force.”​

    Anti-government patriots have used the reaction against Black Lives Matter effectively to build a base of support with law enforcement. “One of the best tactics was adopting the blue lives matter patch. I’m flabbergasted that police fell for that, that they actually support these groups,” German says. “It would be one thing if [anti-government patriots] had uniformly decided not to target police any more. But they haven’t. They’re still killing police. The police don’t seem to get it, that the people you’re coddling, you’re taking photographs with, are the same people who elsewhere kill.” The current state of American law enforcement reveals an extreme contradiction: the order it imposes is rife with the forces that provoke domestic terrorism.

    Just consider: in 2019, 36% of active duty soldiers claimed to have witnessed “white supremacist and racist ideologies in the military”, according to the Military Times.
    On the ineffectiveness of the left:

    At this supreme moment of crisis, the left has divided into warring factions completely incapable of confronting the seriousness of the moment. There are liberals who retain an unjustifiable faith that their institutions can save them when it is utterly clear that they cannot. Then there are the woke, educational and political elites dedicated to a discourse of willed impotence. Any institution founded by the woke simply eats itself – see TimesUp, the Women’s March, etc – becoming irrelevant to any but a diminishing cadre of insiders who spend most of their time figuring out how to shred whoever’s left. They render themselves powerless faster than their enemies can.​

    What the American left needs now is allegiance, not allyship. It must abandon any imagined fantasies about the sanctity of governmental institutions that long ago gave up any claim to legitimacy. Stack the supreme court, end the filibuster, make Washington DC a state, and let the dogs howl, and now, before it is too late. The moment the right takes control of institutions, they will use them to overthrow democracy in its most basic forms; they are already rushing to dissolve whatever norms stand in the way of their full empowerment.​

    Marche's main message:

    The right has recognized what the left has not: that the system is in collapse. The right has a plan: it involves violence and solidarity. They have not abjured even the Oath Keepers. The left, meanwhile, has chosen infighting as their sport.

    And his opinion on how a civil war can still be avoided?

    It would be entirely possible for the United States to implement a modern electoral system, to restore the legitimacy of the courts, to reform its police forces, to root out domestic terrorism, to alter its tax code to address inequality, to prepare its cities and its agriculture for the effects of climate change, to regulate and to control the mechanisms of violence. All of these futures are possible. There is one hope, however, that must be rejected outright: the hope that everything will work out by itself, that America will bumble along into better times. It won’t. Americans have believed their country is an exception, a necessary nation. If history has shown us anything it’s that the world doesn’t have any necessary nations.

    .... The United States needs to recover its revolutionary spirit, and I don’t mean that as some kind of inspirational quote. I mean that, if it is to survive, the United States will have to recover its revolutionary spirit. The crises the United States now faces in its basic governmental functions are so profound that they require starting over. The founders understood that government is supposed to work for living people, rather than for a bunch of old ghosts. And now their ghostly constitution, worshipped like a religious document, is strangling the spirit that animated their enterprise, the idea that you mold politics to suit people, not the other way around.​

    .... As it managed so spectacularly at the birth of its nationhood, the United States requires the boldness to invent a new politics for a new era. It is entirely possible that it might do so. America is, after all, a country devoted to reinvention.


    Once again, as before, the hope for America is Americans. But it is time to face what the Americans of the 1850s found so difficult to face: The system is broken, all along the line. The situation is clear and the choice is basic: reinvention or fall.​
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Also, this, from another article (link: Is the US really heading for a second civil war?):

    With the cult of Trump more dominant in the Republican party than ever, and radical rightwing groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys on the march, some regard the threat to democracy as greater now than it was a year ago. Among those raising the alarm is Barbara Walter, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and author of a new book, How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them.

    Walter previously served on the political instability taskforce, an advisory panel to the CIA, which had a model to predict political violence in countries all over the world – except the US itself. Yet with the rise of Trump’s racist demagoguery, Walter, who has studied civil wars for 30 years, recognized telltale signs on her own doorstep.

    One was the emergence of a government that is neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic – an “anocracy”. The other is a landscape devolving into identity politics where parties no longer organise around ideology or specific policies but along racial, ethnic or religious lines.

    Walter told the Observer: “By the 2020 elections, 90% of the Republican party was now white. On the taskforce, if we were to see that in another multiethnic, multi-religious country which is based on a two-party system, this is what we would call a super faction, and a super faction is particularly dangerous.”
    Walter makes the point that, if a civil war does start, the fighting is unlikely to consist of the kinds of pitched battles between armies that were seen in the 1860s Civil War:

    “It would look more like Northern Ireland and what Britain experienced, where it’s more of an insurgency,” Walter continued. “It would probably be more decentralized than Northern Ireland because we have such a large country and there are so many militias all around the country.”

    “They would turn to unconventional tactics, in particular terrorism, maybe even a little bit of guerrilla warfare, where they would target federal buildings, synagogues, places with large crowds. The strategy would be one of intimidation and to scare the American public into believing that the federal government isn’t capable of taking care of them.”

    .... Walter suggests that opposition figures, moderate Republicans and judges deemed unsympathetic might all become potential assassination targets.

    “I could also imagine situations where militias, in conjunction with law enforcement in those areas, carve out little white ethnostates in areas where that’s possible because of the way power is divided here in the United States. It would certainly not look anything like the civil war that happened in the 1860s.”
    Walter describes how civil wars get going:

    Walter notes that most people tend to assume civil wars are started by the poor or oppressed. Not so. In America’s case, it is a backlash from a white majority destined to become a minority by around 2045, an eclipse symbolized by Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

    The academic explained: “The groups that tend to start civil wars are the groups that were once dominant politically but are in decline. They’ve either lost political power or they’re losing political power and they truly believe that the country is theirs by right and they are justified in using force to regain control because the system no longer works for them.”​
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, imagine that↗.
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Well, that's wrong...

    Though hyperbole is a well used rhetorical device
    It still sux
    candy likes this.
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Parts of the article accurately describe the situation. Parts are overly dramatic. There isn't going to be a Civil War although of course if there were one it would have to be more like the Northern Ireland situation rather than troops lining up as was the case in the actual Civil War.

    The current situation is troubling. It's more about people not adjusting to change very well than for any other reason. The demographics of the U.S. are changing.

    Even though the specifics are different from those in the 60's it's not unlike the 60's. I don't know what the outcome will be. I think that the difficulty in amending the Constitution isn't helping anything. The protection of the minority has been overdone to the point of not being very democratic.

    The Electoral College, the political nature of the Supreme Court, the ability of the Senate to obstruct given its over-representation of the population, none of these things are very helpful.
    candy likes this.
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2022
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    That's in line with what's in the article(s).
    I agree. Americans have little practical option but to try to legally wrangle the wording of a document that was drafted in 1791, to try to apply it to matters arising in the 21st century, since amending it is a political impossibility in the current climate and exceedingly difficult at any other time.

    The Bill of Rights has caused all kinds of problems. The 2nd amendment, in particular, is a disaster in the modern context - not necessarily in the wording itself, but in how it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court over the years. The 1st amendment is problematic, too, and could really do with some clarification of specific points. Ideally, disagreements like this should be put to the people and not decided by a tiny number of individuals on a Supreme Court (stacked, or otherwise). But, again, this will not happen in the current political climate.

    That's a massive understatement. Jerrymandering alone is a massive unaddressed issue. It is fundamentally inequitable, and disproportionately reserves power for a particular ethnic, political and religious group - namely white Republican Christians. It makes no sense in a democracy to allow elected officials, who have an obvious vested interest in staying elected in perpetuity, the power to determine electoral boundaries and thereby hand disproportionate influence over electoral outcomes to their own political base. The Republican Party is hard at work as we speak trying to make sure that electoral officials won't repeat the sort of unbiased adjudication of results that we saw in the 2020 election; they are doing what they can to put their own people in positions where they will get to make the decision, literally, about who will be the next President. And since the Republican Party has been completely captured by Trump and his cronies, he will be the candidate for 2024, barring possible legal action that prevents him from running.

    Again correct, though, again a massive understatement.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Keep in mind that politics and political parties are what they are. Gerrymandering is currently used more by Republicans but it has been used by both parties in the past.

    None of this suggest a Civil War though, where was the topic of this thread. Politics has always been kind of a nasty business. Which is why a lot of people have always been OK with a divided government. It means that government doesn't get much done and usually the best outcome.

    If you aren't expecting much from the government then whatever happens in Washington doesn't really affect your life very much. White Australians are probably pretty heavily represented as well aren't they?

    I guess one could wonder if Canada is heading to a Civil War given the unrest caused by the truckers. I'd give the way answer there as well, no to Civil War.
  13. candy Valued Senior Member

    I agree that it feels a lot like it did in the 1960's. Then you had the convergence of the civil rights movement with the anti-war movement coupled with the women's rights groups leading to protests and riots. It did not become a civil war.
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Of course it is. The US has been heading for civil war since the day it was founded or confederated, or cobbled together. It's been a civil disaster from the first day the Wampanoag allowed the Mayflower to land.
    It's also been a huge economic and military success, but there is no cure for schizophrenia. Therapies and medications keep it in check.... until the therapies and medications are withdrawn. Like now.
  15. candy Valued Senior Member

    Did you think Jamestown was functional since you believe the problems began with the Mayflower?
  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It functioned just fine.... for a century. Plymouth never did.
    Of course, the problems started with the whole idea of colonizing inhabited continents, the rivalry of European empires, the white supremacist mind-set, Christianity, civilization.... killing another chimp with the jawbone of an ass.
    Very poor design all around!
  17. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    here is a different way of looking at it

    current gun crime shows it IS a war already with around 9,000 dead per year

    how many usa soldiers die in combat over seas every year ?

    usa culture is militariaphiles
    they love the military & love war
    guns are a power tool of that love for war
    so guns are used to make war with gun crime
    civil war is normalized

    err-go ... there already is a civil war happening
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2022
    Jeeves likes this.
  18. sculptor Valued Senior Member

  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Well ...

    • ... it's about what we expect, or ...

    • ... we can only wonder what people expect ...

    • ... when we make excuses for, and give comfort to, that kind of stuff.​

    Think of it this way: Over time, plenty of people put up this or that excuse, justification, and even moral wag. And there were plenty of others who really did wonder how to take that sort of stuff seriously. But people insisted, and even you have uttered your share of moral wag about not suppressing political views, or how liberal paternalism and condescension are why people behave that way; there isn't anything new about it, and you certainly aren't unique.

    Looking back to that episode, we might consider that the general circumstance in law enforcement had been going on for quite some time; in order for the news reports at the core of that thread to even come about, the general circumstance had been going on for some time, and it had enjoyed particular expectations of toleration. That law enforcement is an unreliable ally against domestic terrorism is not in and of itself new; the extent to which it is possessed by rightist ambition catches attention in these days in no small part because toleration and accommodation of supremacism has failed to discourage supremacists from coming right out and saying it, so, yeah, people might notice. We might recall a point↗ about infantilizing white supremacism and giving extremists room to blow of steam. The seemingly dire circumstance in American law enforcement? Yeah, well, imagine that.

    Looking back, in our particular context, James, you were also several years into your strange indignance on behalf of white supreamcism. And while it's true you were kind of running low on excuses—I mean, ignorance as bliss is what it is—really, it's been several years, and as I explained recently, we might consider that for Black people it's like a price of admission, or ritual sacrifice unto free speech, to decide how often to decide whether or not to engage the latest regurgitation of the same old superstitions. It's part of our dispute about rational discourse; while certain political views are not absolutely silenced, their advocacy becomes much more difficult if they are obliged to make some manner of rational sense. Consider what benefits most from your disdain for obligations to rational discourse or good faith.

    Consider the idea that one is not actually supremacist, but just defending a status quo they see no reason to change, and if getting what they want means inflicting harm, that says absolutely nothing about them. And there we have an example of infantilizing supremacism. It's really not uncommon; I might first have explicitly recognized a version of it during the Gay Fray, but if we take the time to ask around, American women and people of color will make clear that no, I did not in that moment discover something new.

    There does come a point, though, when the nota argument—("not a racist", "not a misogynist", "not a supremacist")—argument doesn't really work, in large part because it is just so stupid. But this sort of behavior and argumentation are, in our community, leading beneficiaries of your pretensions against rational discourse and good faith. And by the time anyone is down to saying it strikes them as "a little bizarre" that someone might be a supremacist "without realising it", and "telling you that he or she does not sympathise with such views or organisations", it's not simply unbelievable in the moment, but it's already been something of a descent.

    And, yes, James, it's been years. Still, in pointing to the thread about prejudice and bigotry in law enforcement, we might simply observe that we have discussed the issue before here at Sciforums, thus: Police are unreliable allies against domestic terrorism? Yeah, well, imagine that.

    And in our community discussion, and the particular post I pointed to, James, we also get an example of how white supremacism finds benefit in your disdain for rational discourse or good faith. As a particular question related to a larger inquiry about white supremacism: Bad faith and supremacist tropes in order to disrupt a discussion of white supremacism in law enforcement? Yeah, well, imagine that.

    We might, then, observe:

    Yeah, well, imagine that.


    Here is an example that doesn't have anything to do with you.

    A couple years ago, I challenged↗ one of our neighbors, explicitly disbelieving what he said, because our neighbor was circulating particular right-wing make-believe, an idea akin to no-go zones, and in a nearly predictable twist, getting it almost exactly wrong. The Portland story itself was rife with that stuff: The Cider Riot attack wasn't antifa, but rightists. Antifa wasn't attacking people with hammers; that hammer in the photo was taken from a rightist who tried to attack people with it. Antifa did not attack a twelve year-old girl; the "girl" was twenty-four, and she and her father were known to run that provocateur routine; there were no concrete milkshakes; the Portland Police Bureau was not infiltrated by antifa, but it did get caught aiding and abetting rightists.

    And there it is. As a general circumstance, sure, by the time we get to May Day, 2019, I'm uncertain what basis we have as a society for pretending we aren't aware of long associations between rightism and law enforcement; in our Sciforums experience, we were not unaware of the general circumstance, and the easy crackpottery sheltering white supremacism, such as our neighbor disseminated, is, well, easy.

    Consider that the make-believe I answered at the time is also the sort of stuff I can get from my kid's other grandparents, absurd Christian fanatics who get their information from a church-owned television network, church bookstores, and the sort of naturopaths who tell the congregation eating lots of citrus fruit will stave off ebola the sort of evangelists handing out Ben Carson memoirs. That church literature could be found among detritus left behind by Wednesday Putsch rioters is not surprising, nor that my kid's grandfather tells the same racist make-believe about that a former Governor of Maine used to spew in his press conferences.

    It is one thing if our neighbor can be taken in by that kind of folk-mumble, but it's also a fairly common that coffee-talk gossip and pub bluster translate to easy gospel truth recitals like that. And it seems easy enough to suggest someone falling for that sort of thing might also overlook the irony of accusing "Hitler-brown-shirts" in a manner that happens to cover for actual white supremacism; we ought not dwell on the irony, as that particular E&O is not uncommon in American folk gospel truth.

    But per the thread topic, we consider that rightist organizations "have now infiltrated so many police forces" such that law enforcement agencies "have become unreliable allies in the struggle against domestic terrorism", yes, really: Yeah, imagine that. The historical reality is that we are not countenancing some new circumstance only recently germinated in law enforcement culture; it's not a new phenomenon. It only comes to bear like this because people make so many excuses for it along the way.

    More particularly to our community experience, no, the idea of rightist sympathies among American law enforcement is not new¹, nor the noise that comes with it. We don't know what our one neighbor intended with the brown-shirt bit, but it was a thing at the time, in social media murmur and gospel truth. And while it might not require the sort of effort others put into disrupting discussion they disdain and have no good answer for, it's still the same range: Provoke with a lie to distort the truth in order to protect and promote the cause. But that's thee thing: Brown shirts, no-go zones, and make-believe that is nearly the precise opposite of reality are not unusual elements in that range of discourse.²

    (In the time since I started writing this post, Portland even managed to make the point again.)


    Maybe I should left it at, imagine that. Oh, right. Still, comparatively, it seems unclear what you intended by pointing to the part where you pretend to be harangued into issuing an infraction you don't want to give. But toward the thread topic, James, yes, even your melodramatic performance is part of, yeah, well, imagine that. It is part of what it takes to mitigate the implications of certain behavior.

    And if every little piece has its effect, don't get me wrong: I am astonished to see this come to bear in my lifetime, and gravely disappointed in my fellow Americans. Still, though, our Sciforums experience bears witness to this question of the unreliability of American law enforcement.


    ¹ See 2009↗-2010↗ for prior discussion of insurrectionist Stewart Rhodes in particular, because, well, imagine that. (Okay, that one is a particularly American context.)

    ² Remember the "feminazi", because in that rightist argument, refusing authoritarianism is the real authoritarianism, equality is the real supremacism, and people are denounced as Nazis for calling rape by its name. By comparison, in our Sciforums experience, it apparently offends rightists if people use rightist words to describe rightists and rightism: Remember the "teabaggers".
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Fair point.

    Your country's Constitution has a bit about not suppressing political views. Most of you Americans seem to make quite a big fuss about that. I'm not saying it's an easy choice to make, by the way.
    You're making stuff up, now. Not surprising, since you clearly didn't understand what went down with Seattle in the thread to which you linked, above. Instead, there's this strange (some would venture wilful) mischaracterisation of that incident, and others, on your part.
    You seem to be drifting off topic and onto your usual bugbear about what a terrible person you think I am. Try to focus, Tiassa. We might have a useful discussion of the likelihood of another US civil war. That's the thread topic, remember.
    Are you saying that the possibility of a civil war is greater because a lot of people are apathetic, which means tacitly accepting white supremacism instead of actively fighting for equal rights and so on? I can see the point. Do you think Trump could be voted back in because of this?
    Why are you suddenly focussed on "our community", by which I assume you mean sciforums? I asked about the United States, remember? Your other community.
    It seems like you're agreeing with the author of the original article (see opening post, above), then? At least, in that regard. Fine. I'm inclined to agree as well, although I admit I don't have a particularly broad overview of policing across the United States. Here, we tend to hear about the worst examples.
    The disdain you refer to is a figment of your imagination. Please try to focus on the discussion topic, rather than on your vendetta against me. Okay?
    I'm interested in whether you can see any way out of the state in which your country finds itself. Or are you effectively throwing up your hands? What will be will be?
    No. What happened there was that you linked to a post of mine which you hoped would show me in a bad light, as a white supremacist sympathiser, which is the brush you're trying to tar me with this time around. But you conveniently left out the full picture, which was that I issued an official warning to the racist in question on that occasion. In other words, you tried to distort the truth to have a go at me, and you failed.

    And now you're doubling down with a repeat of essentially the same lie you told the first time.

    Shame on you (again).
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    James, regarding your questions about seeing any way out of our current state (US) I think most who aren't in that small fringe group that got Trump elected don't really have an explanation of how this will end or what to do about it.

    The 4 years of Trump was kind of a dose of unreality. Trump never should have been elected. Congress should have never fallen in line with him so easily. He should never be re-elected again (and I don't think he will) but who knows?

    I still can't believe he was ever elected in the first place. The Republican Party still seems to be the Trump Party, unbelievably. The election is Biden's to lose but with his large spending plans and the current inflation he could mess it up badly enough for the Republicans to take over again and I can't say that Trump wouldn't be the nominee again.

    It's kind of an Alice in Wonderland thing. You keep waiting for politicians to just snap out of it and be somewhat responsible but there seems to be that same right wing craziness in every country at the moment, whether they are the majority or not.

    I think it's about coalitions, natural or not. There is always a sizable (majority?) that just wants the government to do the basics and that's it so a crazy person who is going to leave taxes alone, show some concern for the financial system is going to get more votes than they would get otherwise especially if running against a "tax the rich" party in the election.

    It's been a long time since you could just figure elect a responsible person and it doesn't really matter which party is in charge this time as it can switch back in forth from year to year. Now just not voting and focusing on what you can control in your personal life is the direction that many are heading IMO.
  22. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Would you say the web has given more people a voice (for good or bad) in spreading crap and lies, more so than the tv, radio and newspapers outlets of 'old'?
    I'm saying there's more raw vitriol out there influencing susceptible voters.
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The media, overall, is more pervasive but I don't know that this is bad. People have to have a brain after all.

    If all you follow is NPR (national public radio) you get a pretty unbiased view. Most "news" that is available 24/7 is editorial in nature since there isn't new real news to talk about for 24/7.

    I'd say that people just have to not be so susceptible to obviously slanted "news".

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