Another Civil War? Sounds Far-Fetched, Until It Isn’t
What’s going on? I’ve been hearing so much lately about our national political divide that it brings a novelty song from my 1950s childhood back to mind:
“Save Your Confederate Money, Boys, the South Shall Rise Again.”
Even in my Northern hometown the song was a hit on the radio and barbershop quartet circuit, although Little Richard was a bigger hit on my side of town.
But that was then. Among politicians, pollsters and pundits, Civil War talk has become all the rage.
For example, the University of Virginia Center for Politics found last fall that 41% of Joe Biden’s voters in 2020 and 52% of Donald Trump’s voters at least somewhat agreed that it’s time for red or blue states to secede from the Union.
A Business Insider poll in October 2020 said most Americans believed the U.S. was already in the midst of a “cold” civil war.
A University of Maryland and Washington Post poll late last month found 40% of Republicans, 23% of Democrats and 41% of independents thought violence against the government was “sometimes justified” — a position held by only about 1 in 10 in the 1990s, the Post said.
Are they serious? Although I try to view attitudinal polls with healthy skepticism, there’s no question that just about everyone in these pandemic times has plenty of reasons to be cranky.
Even those of us who are vaccinated, I am told, have spun off a form of anti-vax faction called “vaxxed and done,” meaning they’ve taken all the precautions, including shots, that they care to take, regardless of what else the CDC may come up with. (I sympathize with their frustration, but I don’t agree with their strategy.)
But the notion of another Civil War, taken seriously, raises a host of questions, such as which way would the country divide? The old North-South model no longer seems close to adequate for these red-state-vs.-blue-state times.