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Saturday, February 18, 2017

The New Civil War


    Some people say that the political polarization in the country is worse now than it’s been since the American Civil War. It has even been predicted that the country is on the verge of another civil war. That seems a bit of a stretch although it is true that during the Vietnam War many protesters believed that the antiwar movement was the second American Revolution.

     But what if the current unrest in the country does lead to a second American Civil War? How would that play out in the modern era? Granted, there wouldn’t be battles like those that were fought in Gettysburg or Vicksburg, but it’s very conceivable that each side would come up with their own flag design. Signs and symbols, after all, are important. The President’s people might construct an orange flag, which would stand in stark contrast to the flag of the Resistance: a pair of big furry pussy ears fixed to a raised fist.

   The first shot of the new civil war will not be fired at Fort Sumter but will ring out during one of the many demonstrations being held throughout the nation. Lulled into a false sense of security by the relative liberality and “ease” of the Obama years, the Resistance will have little sense of limits when it comes to protesting President Trump and the GOP, which they will happily refer to as Grab Our Pussies. The false sense of security that former President Obama’s policies would last forever will mislead those in the Resistance to believe that a slap on the wrist or squirts of pepper spray will be the highest price to pay for blocking highways and traffic at rush hour. They will have forgotten about history, namely the May 4, 1970 killing of Kent State antiwar student protesters by the National Guard. The Resistance will be taken by surprise when after months of engaging in property destruction, government building invasions and street mayhem, President Trump declares Marshal Law.

      The Resistance’s worst fears will materialize but only because they worked to push the protest limits into the stratosphere. One might compare this ‘every action has a reaction’ mindset to the closing of Cione Field to the general public because of the irresponsible habits of a few dog walkers who don’t clean up after their animals poop. The Resistance will have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Like Mary Shelley who created the novel Frankenstein, they will have created Dictator President Trump.  The Resistance will pretend to be scandalized at the turn of events but down deep they will be happy because life for them has no purpose if one cannot ...resist.   

         Driven underground, the Resistance will form collective huddles in basements and community centers. Formerly benign groups like Nuns on the Bus will be renamed Nuns with Guns and the streets of the city will become like an armed camp.  At night, armies of pussy eared fem soldiers and their Lone Ranger masked boyfriends will scurry from one back alley to another in defiance of the new curfew laws. The Marshals will catch many of the curfew breakers, remove their knitted hats and then put the ears on the top of stakes that will line major thoroughfares.

     Citizens not involved in the new civil war will stay put in their houses after sundown, where they will load up on popcorn and NetFliks. These people will be called ‘The Middles’ because they admire some things about President Trump although they cannot buy his entire agenda. The Middles will support some Resistance ideas although they will continue to have issues with abortion or dressing up their two year old daughters as “walking vaginas” who scream “fuck you” at supporters of the President. The Middles will call for peace and compromise but the nation will have become so polarized that The Middles will be seen as even greater enemies than the enemy that each side is supposed to hate.  

   Violent skirmishes in the streets of the city will be common, such as gunshots, home made explosions, screams and the sounds of large groups as they charge into buildings or attack limos in the vicinity of the Union League. These will be intensely dark times for the nation, and especially for Philadelphia, which will see brother against brother, mother against son, and neighbor against neighbor. The agreed upon boundaries of civil tolerance will disappear. There will be no discussion, no dialogue. Speakers with an “incorrect” point of view will be dragged from podiums, hog tied and gagged. It will make the humble beginnings of political discord and intolerance on Facebook, when friend “unfriended” friend, seem like innocent child’s play. 

    Philadelphia City Hall, because of its prime reputation as a major Resistance city, will become a nerve center in the new civil war, even under Marshal Law.  Mayor Kenney will lead the charge, continuing to defy a federal ban on Sanctuary cities to the bitter end, even as the stoppage of federal funds from Washington hurls the city into dire poverty and forces many public schools to close. The mayor will ask citizens to accept the suffering as a sacrifice for the noble ideals of The Resistance. Many will come to see him as the American male version of Joan of Arc and join in chants like, “death is better than capitulation.” Indeed for some it will be death because many will even not be able to afford a block of Velveeta cheese. The end of federal funding will spiral outward and affect all areas of city life. Outdoor restaurants and cafes will close sidewalk service and theaters will close or choose not to offer frivolous plays about millennials in love or esoteric love stories that have ties to quantum physics. Every play will have a Resistance theme.  
   Civil War, after all, is serious business!

    Ideological frenzy will be the order of the day. The Resistance will demand the resignation of President Trump and demand that “reality” return to the way it was under President Obama.  The Orange Brigade, on the other hand, will be just as immovable, having long ago repealed Obamacare without replacing it with anything except a promise to come up with something better “very soon.” But even President Trump, with all of his mighty Executive Orders, will not be able to slay three giants, the American Medical Association, Big Pharm and the insurance industry when it comes to implementing a sensible health care program for all Americans.   

     Without national health insurance and with the new Congress’ dismantling of many programs for the poor, like Medicaid, long standing institutions like Health Care Six on Girard Avenue will close its doors. The poor will now have no medical care even in hospital emergency rooms where it was once possible to apply as a charity case patient. Those who cannot pay for hospital treatment upfront on a credit card, check or cash will be sent back into the streets or to their homes to die.   

   The lovely, free Obama phone will disappear from view. Methadone clinics will disappear or be taken over by for profit companies that will demand hours of work in exchange for counseling and treatment. Social Security will not be affected for those already retired but the scale of future benefits will be radically marked down for millennials so that by the time they retire the benefits will be down to almost nothing. 

   Conversely, there will be plenty of jobs. Factories will make reappearance so that if a new hire doesn’t like one job they can quit and literally walk down the street to another factory and be hired on the spot.

       America will be a mixed bag of opportunities and devastation.  

   The new Civil War will be long and protracted. It will mostly be a war of banishment and shunning more than a violent conventional war. In the end, it will be The Middles who will work to negotiate a peace treaty. They will find a way to get both sides to sit down and talk and come up with a comprehensive Middle Way to Restore the Nation.  Ideological fanatics on both extremes will fight this but in the end they will lose.

      The nation, exhausted by strife and unrest, will finally realize that the extreme ideologues on the Right and the Left have to go.