Civil war first begins with words

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 10, 2018

Civil wars first begin with words. There is now little decorum or civility on the medias of both political parties who now 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% 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% 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 they 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 chests expanded almost touching, like roosters in a barn yard, this followed by descriptive phrases regarding the other’s mother, then by flung fists. Each “upped the anti” by succumbing to the next level of angered expression.

Email newsletter signup

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 clear bias and no pretense of both sides or even of a middle. Viewers now choose networks that support their opinion and seek no other side.

Unfortunately Democratic politicians have been encouraging violence in their words. Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to beat up Donald Trump “behind the bleachers.” Sen. 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 any thing that Trump did and to impeach him. There was no other real message.

Several, presumably Democratic, 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 their 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 Democratic 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, it was 639 and climbing fast. For these victims the anticipated civil war has already begun having moved from words to violence and injury.

Dr. Harold 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 over 30 years at Taft College. To read more, visit