Funny what you can overhear while sitting in a diner, a medical waiting room or a theater before the movie starts these days. Interesting. But, sometimes scary.
Filling the gas tank recently, listening to two guys gassing up their cars who obviously knew each other. A conversation I never thought we’d hear in these United States of America.
“I’d bet, before the 2020 election, we’re going to have a shooting civil war again in this country,” said one.
The other agreed, saying he was already stocking up on ammunition and had recently bought a second AR-15.
“Not going to get me without a fight,” he warned.
Driving home, at first I was sort of shocked. A second “civil war?” Nah. Just goofy talk. Got home. Sat down at the computer and read this: “I have the support of the police, the military, Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people but they don’t play it tough until they get to a certain point, then it would be very bad, very bad.”
The President of the United States? Nah, just Donald Trump. And, therein lies a problem.
While it wouldn’t be right to lay all blame for division and violence at his feet alone, what were conditions, say five years ago? Were they then what they are today? Did you feel the same about your world then as you do today? Every disaster that befalls a nation needs someone to hold the match. Trump is a torch!
But, look elsewhere. How about Idaho and Utah where voters overwhelmingly ordered legislators in both states to create expanded Medicaid for all. Resoundingly! So, what happened? They produced bills to radically change what the referendums specified; to add work requirements; to twist what voters approved into some other unrecognizable creature. To outright kill it. And, to flip the bird at voters, Idaho legislative miscreants tried to make future referendums all but impossible to achieve success.
Look at other states where court orders to do this-and-that about redistricting, voting laws, added school funding, public safety, civil rights have been all but ignored by state governments. Just flat ignored!
What about today’s tone coming from Limbaugh, Ingraham, Hannity and the rest of the hate talkers? Is it more angry today? Do they often get right up to the line of inciting action against someone, some form of government or some “foreign” religion or country?
What about some of our politicians? Steve King, for one, publicly predicting actual, physical confrontation between “red” states and “blue” states. And he’s got a national audience of racists, bigots and white supremacists who listen.
Rep’s Gaetz, Jordan, Meadows, Nunes, Gohmert and the garbage and hate speech flowing from some of the “Freedom Caucus” in the U.S. House. These people didn’t get there - and they aren’t staying there - without votes of millions of Americans who’ve supported them? And Lindsey Graham? Single-handedly stopping House-passed legislation on new election laws and energy conservation. All by himself; while touting the “extraordinary accomplishments” of one D. Trump.
And this. Several years ago, the BLM tried to shutdown an illegal mining operations near Grants Pass, Oregon. Made a number of visits to serve papers. Until that day when a dozen guys in fatigues toting AR-15s met ‘em and held ‘em at bay for a week. Finally, the BLMers gave up. Even closed the Grants Pass office.
How about the Bundys in Nevada who successfully stopped the feds with rifles? It all ended when the feds quit.
The sheriff in Douglas County, Oregon, has repeatedly stated he won’t enforce any new federal gun laws and will arrest any federal agents who try to enforce them. He’s not alone. Hundreds of other duly elected badge wearers have taken the same position. “I’ll decide what to enforce and I’ll arrest others trying to do their lawful duties.”
And, immigration. We’re not solving the problem. We’re making what used to be worth hardly a mention into what could become a powder keg, especially in border states. Mass killing in churches, schools and other public venues. Any progress there? Feeling more and more helpless as the numbers of innocent bodies stack up?
There are many, many more signs of citizen frustration, Citizen disappointment. Citizen anger. Starting with local governments up to the feds, people are feeling their votes don’t count and the system has either failed or, in some cases, begun actively working against their interests and needs.
This is not to say this nation is at the “civil war” stage. It IS to say, if current political and social conditions don’t change - if laws we live under aren’t properly and evenhandedly prosecuted - if violence and other injustices against unarmed minorities aren’t ended - if banks and big business aren’t called to task - if all this and more feeding citizen feelings of helplessness and neglect aren’t addressed and corrected, there will eventually be a bad ending.
Maybe not a civil war. But, a bad ending nonetheless.