Has a civil war al­ready be­gun?

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Harold Pease, Ph.D.

Civil wars be­gin first with words. There is now lit­tle deco­rum or ci­vil­ity in the me­dia of both po­lit­i­cal par­ties, who openly call op­po­nents liars and traitors — hos­tile words not pre­vi­ously used in re­spected me­dia out­lets.

Is a sec­ond civil war com­ing? A July 2018 Ras­mussen Re­ports sur­vey poll re­ported most vot­ers fear that po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence is com­ing, with 31 per­cent be­liev­ing that a civil war will en­sue within the next five years.

Iron­i­cally, both ma­jor par­ties share this fear — 37 per­cent of Democrats and 32 per­cent of Repub­li­cans.

This is stun­ning, but even more stun­ning is the poll find­ing that “59 per­cent of all vot­ers are con­cerned that those op­posed to Pres­i­dent Trump’s poli­cies will re­sort to vi­o­lence, with 33 per­cent who are very con­cerned.”

Not said but im­plied in this state­ment is that the Democrats, those most op­posed to Trump poli­cies, will start the vi­o­lence that re­sults in the civil war. Rarely does a Demo­crat se­na­tor vote for any­thing sup­ported by Trump, so hos­tile are Democrats to his poli­cies. The di­vide in Congress is al­most to­tal.

Many years ago at a county fair, I saw a fist fight be­tween adult males. It did not start with punches but words. Each re­ferred to the other in derog­a­tive terms, fol­lowed by name call­ing, fol­lowed by arms to the side and chests ex­panded al­most touch­ing, like roost­ers in a barn­yard, this fol­lowed by de­scrip­tive phrases re­gard­ing the other’s mother, then by flung fists. Each “upped the ante” by suc­cumb­ing to the next level of an­gered ex­pres­sion.

I see the same thing in the me­dia and to­day’s po­lit­i­cal world. In the 1980s, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jen­nings and Dan Rather pre­tended to be ob­jec­tive but never were — care­ful view­ers still knew, but ci­vil­ity was hon­ored. No one openly de­scribed their op­po­nents as liars, traitors or mur­der­ers as they do now. Then fol­lowed the seg­men­ta­tion of news into Re­pub­li­can (mostly Fox and talk ra­dio) and Demo­crat news (MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC), each with a clear bias and no pre­tense of pre­sent­ing both sides or even a mid­dle. View­ers now choose net­works that sup­port their opin­ion and seek no other side.

Un­for­tu­nately, Demo­crat politi­cians have been en­cour­ag­ing vi­o­lence in their words.

For­mer vice pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den wants to beat up Don­ald Trump “be­hind the bleachers.” Se­na­tor Cory Booker wants his fol­low­ers to “please get in the face of their con­gress­men” with their is­sues.

Maxine Wa­ters’ words sug­gest the same with mobs.

“If you see any­body from that cab­i­net in a restau­rant, in a depart­ment store, at a gaso­line sta­tion, you get out and you cre­ate a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not wel­come any­more, any­where,” she yelled. Adding later, that Trump and his team should be ‘ab­so­lutely ha­rassed un­til they de­cide’ to change their minds.”

The Demo­cratic Party cho­rus for the last two years has been to re­sist and ob­struct any­thing that Trump does and to im­peach him. There was no other real mes­sage.

Sev­eral, pre­sum­ably Democrats, movie stars, play­wrights, rap­pers and rock­ers too are pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence with their words and images, and thus a civil war, some seem­ingly invit­ing the as­sas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump.

• Rosie O’Don­nell pro­motes a “Push Trump Off a Cliff” game.

• Madonna told a crowd that she had “thought an aw­ful lot about blow­ing up the White House.”

• Robert De Niro wants to “punch him in the face.”

• Co­me­dian Kathy Grif­fin pro­duced pho­tos of her hold­ing a fake bloody, de­cap­i­tated Trump head.

• The NYC Pub­lic Theater mod­ern­ized its play, “Julius Cae­sar,” with a Trump-like fig­ure play­ing the ti­tle role be­ing stabbed to death by a band of an­gry Sen­a­tors.

• Johnny Depp to an overseas crowd in the UK made an ill-con­sid­ered joke: “When was the last time an ac­tor as­sas­si­nated a pres­i­dent?” (an ob­vi­ous

ref­er­ence to ac­tor John Wilkes Booth’s as­sas­si­na­tion of Abra­ham Lin­coln in the last Civil War).

• Rap­per Big Sean in his new al­bum, “I De­cided,” rapped, “And I might just kill ISIS with the same icepick that I mur­der Don­ald Trump in the same night with.”

• Fi­nally, Pearl Jam of the Seat­tle-based rock­ers re­leased a car­toon poster “that fea­tured a bald ea­gle pick­ing at the rot­ting corpse of Pres­i­dent Trump on the White House lawn”

— “15 Stars Who Imag­ined Vi­o­lence Against Don­ald Trump, From Kathy Grif­fin to Pearl Jam (Pho­tos)” The Wrap, Aug. 15, 2018.

Un­for­tu­nately, the na­tion has now moved beyond in­sult­ing words to ag­gres­sion, in­cited by Demo­crat net­works, politi­cians and stars; and many cit­i­zens have good rea­son to be­lieve that things are es­ca­lat­ing to a point of no re­turn.

In 2017, Se­na­tor Rand Paul, while mow­ing his lawn, was at­tacked and beat up by his neigh­bor over his con­ser­va­tive ide­ol­ogy. James Hodgkinson opened fire on a con­gres­sional GOP base­ball prac­tice, in­jur­ing five, al­most killing House Ma­jor­ity Whip Steve Scalise. Nu­mer­ous mem­bers of Congress have been ac­costed or re­ceived death threats for their sup­port of Trump. These in­clude Tom McClintock, Dana Rohrabacher, Tom Gar­rett, Martha McSally, David Kustoff, Kevin Cramer and Clau­dia Ten­ney.

Bre­it­bart has com­piled a site called “The list is now up to 258” which doc­u­ments on­go­ing “acts of me­dia-ap­proved vi­o­lence and ha­rass­ment against Trump sup­port­ers.” As of Nov. 5, 2018, it was 639 and climb­ing fast. For these vic­tims, the an­tic­i­pated civil war has al­ready be­gun, hav­ing moved from words to vi­o­lence and in­jury.

Harold W. Pease is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and an ex­pert on the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. He has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to study­ing the writ­ings of the Found­ing Fa­thers and ap­ply­ing that knowl­edge to cur­rent events. He taught his­tory and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence from this per­spec­tive for more than 30 years at Taft Col­lege. To read more of his weekly ar­ti­cles, visit www. Lib­er­tyUn­derFire.org.

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