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Civil War or Decline

July 10, 2021

During the run up to the 2016 presidential election, a friend from college called to ask what was happening? He hadn’t called in forty years and my immediate reply was “We’re undergoing a realignment.”

Trump’s ascendance over his Republican opponents who had not broken with the “war faction” in the GOP led by Bush 43, was a realignment within the Republican Party, but few, including me, understood how deep is the rot that “realignment” signified.

Unfortunately, underlying the American voter’s willingness to take a chance on a “celebrity” candidate of well-known character flaws was a desire to express dissatisfaction with a belief system of “democratic idealism” that had remained unchallenged since President Woodrow Wilson asserted an America desirous of destroying powerful monarchs who brought destruction from 1914-1915 to Russia, France and Germany.

After two World Wars, a war in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and, finally, an irrational war in Iraq, American voters signaled that they were tired of war, even those in which the United States engaged in bringing democracy to others.

What about America first? 

That was a questioned asked by Donald Trump, GOP candidate for President. That resonated with American voters and changed the course of American  politics.

My calling that a “realignment” was only half right.

As we saw on January 6, a substantial part of the electorate acts as if the American regime —based on a Constitution ratified in 1789—no longer is representative of traditional order. Forces now dominant, referred to as “They,” intend to stay in power by corrupting our youth, weakening our character and making “us” like “them.”

That, of course is not mere “realignment” but a virus that kills the bonds that hold together disparate parts of American society.

Will that lead to civil war or, simply, national decline are questions that two of my Colleagues and I ask in a discussion that you may access here.

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