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Why An Expert In Political Violence Is Worried About Civil War In The U.S.

Video from FiveThirtyEight

"In the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, academics and journalists have taken the possibility of future political violence in America increasingly serious. In her new book “How Civil Wars Start And How To Stop Them,” Barbara F. Walter writes, “We are now closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.” It’s a bold suggestion, and we interrogate it in this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast." from video introduction.

"Not long ago, the idea of another American Civil War seemed outlandish.

These days, the notion has not only gone mainstream, it seems to suddenly be everywhere.

Business Insider published a poll in October 2020 saying a majority of Americans believed the U.S. was already in the midst of a "cold" civil war. Then last fall, the University of Virginia Center for Politics released a poll finding that a majority of people who had voted to reelect former President Donald Trump in 2020 now wanted their state to secede from the Union.

The UVA data also showed a stunning 41% of those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 also said it might now be "time to split the country."

Researchers have found such downbeat assessments of America's democracy are especially salient among the young. Last month, the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School published a poll that found half of voting age Americans under 30 thought our democracy was "in trouble" or "failing." A third also said they expected there to be "a civil war" within their lifetimes. And a quarter thought at least one state would secede..." from the article:

The Fantasy of Civil War Today

In our culture of fantasy and distant social media banter many people seem to believe that a real civil war would be somewhere else fought by somewhere else. They have no concept of the reality that our society and culture would break down and fall apart. You probably cant go to work, or to the grocery store that has been looted until empty. You cant feed your family.

And that's only the beginning.

For those who have this video game/fantasy opinion on an actual civil war had better be careful what they wish for! - Andy

"It's a scary thought, isn't it? Think about the ramifications of that statement for a moment. Think about your everyday life right now.

Throughout your day, you meet people in your neighborhood, your local McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts, school, work, in the park and you never really get to know who everyone is or what they stand for or how they feel about any given issue in our nation's current events. What would happen if you could know what everyone thought at any given moment about the events that have been unfolding in our nation recently? Would you find new friends? New enemies?

There is one way to know all of this and that is – civil war.

Imagine your neighborhood right now. You do know that Jim and Mary down the street are dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters. You know that Marcie is a Bernie supporter. Then, there's Danny who's an Obama supporter. And Bree who adores Hillary. Jack and Hildie are Cruz people. There's even Selena who actually supports Kasich (believe it or not). Philip loves Jeb, and Lilly pumps her fist for Warren. Michael goes to the mat for Mitt, and Yusef is a Stein supporter.

But during a civil war…things are vastly different. All of these diverse people with various motivations find common friends and common enemies. And that's when the two sides are decided and lines of demarcation are drawn. Jim and Mary get together with Jack and Hildie and decide to leave town with their kids because Marcie, Danny, Bree, Selena, Philip, Lilly, Michael and Yusef are talking openly about firebombing the houses of Nazi Fascists! Now, they haven't specifically named Jim, Mary, Jack and Hildie, but how long before they are also labeled as the enemy? The kids of Danny, Selena, Philip and Yusef are friends with the children of Jim and Mary, but not anymore. That kind of fraternization can't be allowed. This is war..." from the article: This is What Civil War Would Look Like in Modern America

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