Sunday, December 25, 2022

US caught up in 'cold civil war'

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 23, 2022)

After World War II the American and Soviet governments entangled themselves in what became known as "the Cold War". They lied about each other (and told some uncomfortable truths), used dirty tricks, and even killed each other's people in ways that didn't quite reach the level to trigger a declaration of war. It wasn't a good situation and only ended-- if it ended-- when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Now I think America is in a cold civil war.

The conflict historically called "the Civil War" wasn't a civil war. Civil war occurs when two factions within a country fight to control the country's government. This wasn't what happened in the 1860s. Instead, a country broke up over irreconcilable differences, with separate governments from that point on. The government of one country decided the other wasn't free to leave and govern itself. Like if Russia declared that Ukraine must be part of Russia again. No one in the Confederate States of America was trying to take over the government of the United States of America. Calling it a civil war is incorrect.

This cold civil war fits the definition better. There are two factions inside America fighting to control one government. The fighting hasn't quite reached the level of open warfare, and I don't think it will.

The anger and distrust on both sides are probably strong enough to trigger war, but the factions are geographically mixed. I'd let big cities secede from the rest of the country so they could finally achieve their democratic socialist Utopia, but there is no Mason-Dixon line which can be drawn on a map.

Elections may be slightly less destructive than open warfare. If you're determined to have a war, I suppose it's the preferable way. The problem is, I don't see a way for this war to be resolved. If either side finally gets a decisive victory, the real violence would probably begin. Is gridlock and endless fighting the only alternative?

Why can't people stop lusting to govern others? You have a right to govern-- to control-- yourself, but there is no such thing as a "right" to govern any other person. Not as an individual, a majority, or by electing politicians to do it on your behalf.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful the war hasn't "gone hot", but is this cold civil war, driving Americans apart over who gets to control whom, the best we can do?
I couldn't do this without your support.

Merry Christmas!

May your holiday be as satisfying as a warm fireplace on a cold day.