by Shelt Garner
I’ve been reading books on both the American Civil War and the rise of Hitler in Germany and it’s pretty obvious to me that we’re careening towards a tragic, stark choice: autocracy or civil war.
Because form follows function, a lot of American politics right now is very similar to what was going on the last time the United States was tearing itself apart. It’s not an exact one-to-one, but there are some spooky similarities. In the late 1850s, it was their version of the center-Left that was consumed with conspiracy theories, specifically that “slave power” really ran the country.
Which, of course, it did (in a sense.)
Also in the late 1850s, there was a glorification of political violence. Though, to be fair, back then, they actually did something about it in Congress. People were always having duels and beating the shit out of each other back in the day before the Civil War. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened — yet.
Anyway, these days, I vacillate wildly in my mind between thinking it’s obvious that we’re just going to slide into MAGA autocracy without a peep to thinking we’re on the cusp of a Second American Civil War. While, in a sense, all the conditions are there for either outcome, it probably will ultimately be something I can’t predict that will force one or the other endgame to occur.
That’s why I’m so nervous about the sham Cyber Ninjas recount in Arizona. The United States is a political powder keg and it’s easy to imagine Cyber Ninjas “proving” Trump “won” in a few days being the spark that causes the country to finally descend into a hot civil war of some sort.
Or it could be a big old dud and we simply slide into autocracy in the 2024-2025 timeframe when a MAGA Republican Congress nullifies any Joe Biden re-election.
I just don’t know which one of these endgames we face. Things are still too much up in the air.
But the case could be made that in, say, 1859, it would be just as difficult to figure out if Southern Slave Power was going to finally take over the country in 1860 or if there was going to be a civil war.
So, who knows? All I know is the United States is very politically unstable right now. Our storied liberal democracy is undead and either it finally becomes dead-dead or there’s some sort of refounding via tragic, avoidable events.