Are We Heading Toward Civil War?

Almost twenty years ago, I wrote a six-part article series: “Repeal the Patriot Act.” Six months later, I wrote a piece titled “The Madness of America.”

In 2004, Common Courage Press published my book “The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America.” These predicted the rise of fascism. Now I think something worse is headed our way: civil war.

History Professor Heather Cox Richardson wrote about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas abortion case issued Friday.

Richardson writes: “This case is about far more than abortion. It is about the federal protection of civil rights in the face of discriminatory state laws.”

Richardson notes that in a partial dissent from the Court’s decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “the clear purpose and actual effect of [the Texas law] has been to nullify this Court’s rulings.”

Nullification is a doctrine that was launched initially by Thomas Jefferson and was contained in a diluted form in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The idea behind the doctrine is that states have the purported constitutional “right” to “nullify” any federal laws they disagree with.

In his dissent yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts quoted an 1809 decision that said, “[i]f the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.”

Roberts warns his colleagues that “the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system…is at stake.”

The Texas abortion law, then, is about far more than “the federal protection of civil rights in the face of discriminatory state laws.” But it is also about more than merely the “role of the Supreme Court.” It is about states asserting they have the right to defy the federal government. And that is a road that leads to civil war.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been asserting Floridian’s “parental rights” and “freedom to choose” in defiance of federal laws and executive branch mandates. He seeks every possible opportunity to oppose and denigrate Biden, while accepting federal funds (that he then does not dispense for their mandated purposes).

There are so many examples of this type of flagrantly anti-democratic behavior these days that I am not going to take the time to dig them up.

I want to say one thing only. The Republicans are pushing for civil war. Friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor. Armed and ready to kill.

People are unhappy, desperate and oppressed. They are struggling. They aren’t being heard. Nobody cares about their hardships.

The unhappiness and desperation of the average American is, paradoxically, the very thing that will lead us over the cliff to a suicidal civil war. Trump used this unhappiness. DeSantis is using it. Texas lawmakers used it. And the Supreme Court is making a mockery of its own institution by riding the same wave.

But it is us ordinary Americans who will suffer. We are all now in great danger. Because civil war is WAR. It means death – not just the deaths of supposed enemies but deaths of our own people and loved ones.

A war, once begun, cannot be undone and it cannot be turned back. Every new death leads to a further sense of wrong and need for revenge and “justice.”

You think America cannot fall? We are on the road to fascism, yes – to authoritarian rule. I wrote about that in my above-cited 2004 book. The term fascism is not a meaningless word but it is now just a watchword.

More importantly, the doctrine of nullification and the underlying idea of state’s rights: THIS is the road to WAR. Unchecked, it will lead to the collapse of the United States. I don’t mean that the Republicans will take over. I mean the government will collapse, the roads and bridges will collapse. There will be no law enforcement, no social services, no social security, no gasoline, no water, no grocery stores, no libraries, no schools, no hospitals, no communities, no friends, no debate or discussion. Just death and chaos.