Is America Headed Towards Another Civil War?

 

CWIIDiscussion Topic:

It seems that forces within this country are hell bent on rendering America in two once again.  Last time it was over slavery, this time it’s a struggle between those who believe the American political system and culture should be preserved, others believe our country is fatally flawed and needs to undergo a fundamental transformation towards socialism.  Extremist groups, some with the backing of the media and academia seem intent on exploiting our political divide for their purposes.  What’s worse, some groups disowned by both sides, have an agenda of hate that they wish to further.  Other groups like wolves in sheep’s clothing, practice the same kinds of political violence and intimidation that they accuse the other side of.  America is more divided politically than it has been for a long time.  Do you think America is headed towards a second Civil War?

 

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Thoughts on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

IMAG0003_1As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, here are some reflections on its key concepts:

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“The Signer”

Life:  Life is the basic right of every human being.  All good laws should contribute to its protection and edification.  What life should be protected?  All of it, as much as can be.  Civilized humans avoid needless violence and killing.  Killing animals for food and other resources is the way of life, killing purely for sport, or out of cruelty is the way of death.  The unborn?  We’ll if it’s a life, then yes.  The old and the sick?  Death is also part of life, but again, it should not be brought about wantonly or casually. People talk about dying with dignity, especially as a rationale for euthanasia.  I prefer the idea of living with dignity.  How is it beneath anybody’s dignity to fight until their very last breath?  Being in a pitiful physical state does not equal being pitiful in a spiritual state, on the contrary, it is often the opposite.

Liberty:  Liberty is the chance to use our gift of life to its fullest advantage.  Without basic liberties, mankind is held back from reaching its fullest potential.  That is why liberty curtailing forms of government like Communism and Socialism are immoral, or at best, amoral. Liberty comes with the freedom to fail, and learn from our mistakes.  Liberty, the Founders knew, is a fragile thing, easily destroyed.  We must protect our liberties jealously because once lost they are very difficult to regain.  Of all the laws that have ever been passed, how many have increased liberty?  Very few compared to the number of those that limit it.

Our American government has done well extending liberty to classes of people that once lacked it.   That is government at its best.   The problem is that government rarely expands the freedoms of its citizens at large.  Upon gaining the rights of the majority those same formerly oppressed groups find themselves at the lifetime high water mark of their freedom, only to have other liberties gradually taken away and suppressed by mountains of regulation.  It’s like a castaway that washes up on the beach of an island to safety, only to find the beach is eroding into the sea.  Our freedoms are like those grains of sand, being eroded one by one until someone decides to fight it.

The Pursuit of Happiness“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”  –Benjamin Franklin.  The Declaration of Independence only suggests that humans have that right to pursue happiness, but the achievement of it can only be done by ourselves. The biggest mistake is to confuse happiness with pleasure. Drugs can produce pleasure, but never happiness. Pleasure is fleeting, true happiness can be maintained over much longer periods of time.   The other mistake we humans make is to think that happiness will just happen.  Sometimes it does, but most of the time it must be earned.  Members of the Armed Forces often forgo the happiness of home and family for long periods of time so that they and others can have it to a fuller degree when they return.  The miracle of happiness is that giving it produces more of it.

Again, political violence from the Left.

Progressive HateOn Wednesday occurred a tragic shooting of Steve Scalise (R) LA, and three others by progressive activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, James T. Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a baseball game to be played today.  It was yet another violent incident perpetrated by a member of the far-left.

In the name of their cause, which has apparently degenerated into blind hatred of President Trump and by extension all Republicans, they have committed many acts of violence from hitting a Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock, to politically motivated riots on college campuses intended to shut down the free speech of conservatives, most notably an incident at UC Berkeley that prevented outspoken Milo Yiannopoulos from a scheduled speech at that campus.

Trump was not particularly beloved at first even among Republicans, who fought bitter primary campaigns against him during last year’s presidential election season.  Conservatives for their part have long since made peace with the fact that he is our President and have showed support where they agree, but have also pointed out where they disagree on many occasions.  For the most part, they are prepared to coexist with Trump nation.

This hasn’t been the case of the anti-Trump legions on the left. Far from coexisting with him and his fellow Republicans, they have deemed themselves a sort of resistance, fighting, all to often violently, against anything Trump has attempted.  They have called for his opposition, his impeachment, his imprisonment, and his death and the death of other Republicans, both implicitly and at times explicitly. The anti-Trump movement on the left has a particularly vicious streak.  So called “comedian” Kathy Griffin recently released a photo of her holding up a bloody, fake severed head of the President.  Even William Shakespeare has been co opted by the the malevolent Left, with a recent live performance casting a Trump doppelganger in the role of a modern-day Julius Caesar, who at the climax of the play is brutally murdered by former supporters to the cheers of the NYC crowd.  If you’re at all in touch with conservative politics, you know the list goes on and on.  That’s just the problem.

While yes, there have been isolated incidents of violence committed by those on the right, but those sorry displays of misguided fervor pale in comparison both in scope and intensity to those committed by the alt-left.  While those acts of violence are both uncommon and roundly condemned by vast majority of conservatives, violent rhetoric and actions have the tacit and not so tacit support of progressives. Malice towards Republicans, especially Trump, is widely and actively expressed by the left, among them was James T. Hodgkinson, who attempted the mass assassination of Republican lawmakers.  It was the evil act of an evil man who pursued to the end an evil, malevolent path of hate.  It’s a path shared by all too many progressives.  While they might not travel it to the farthest destination that Hodgkinson did, they are firmly on it.  If they have a shred of decency and civility, they should abandon that path. They can still protest, advocate, speak all they want against Trump or any politician, but if they want to call themselves civilized human beings they will let go of their hate.  In short, they need to decide what kind of movement they want progressivism to become; one of malevolence, intolerance and hatred, or one of peace, real progress, and coexistence with those who might disagree with them politically.

Trump’s first 100 days evaluation: Good, with some improvement needed.

trump-1st-100-daysAs past presidents have shown, a president’s term can’t be judged by their first one hundred days, Kennedy had a terrible first hundred days, Carter was highly successful at doing the wrong things during that period.  That having been said, it is a good mile marker, an opportunity for course evaluation and correction.  I give President Trump a “B” for his first 100 days. He’s done as well as can be expected for someone with no previous political experience. He’s maxed-out on what a President alone can do in that period. He’s started to dismantle the regulatory state, and has exceeded expectations in the area of foreign policy.  American is back in the business of leading. His administration stumbled a bit on the initial travel ban rollout. He has yet to make any major economic policy.  He (luckily) has not had to deal with any world crisis of the 9/11 or Cuban Missile Crisis magnitude so those remain ungraded.

He has definite room for improvement though. He’s learned the hard way that the Courts are against him, but that is a fixable problem over the long-term. He’d have done better if certain Federal courts actually followed the Constitution. He made a good start with the appointment of Gorsuch to SCOTUS. Where he’s fallen short is when he’s needed the cooperation of Congress. Not getting the healthcare bill on the first try has exposed a need to add dealing with Capitol Hill to his skill set. Like it or not, he’s a politician now and needs to learn how to herd cats. There are also those things that one can only learn by being President, so far at least he’s shown an openness to growing with the job, which is good because the job’s only going to get tougher from here.

Trump has met expectations in some areas, and exceeded them in others, but he’s gone as far as his business skills alone will take him.  He needs to learn how Washington works– not how it should work, but how it really works. He has considerable negotiation skills as we all knew, but now he’s going to have to apply them to a whole new realm of problems and situations that just never occur in the boardroom.  The seeds he sows now with regards to economic policy will take some time to bear fruit, if at all.  It’s too early to judge on that front.  Thankfully, he’s not had to deal with a world-class crisis, although ISIS and North Korea are working hard to provide him with one.  He’s done okay so far but his hardest days are ahead of him.  He’s going to have to continue to grow as a President and he’s not likely to be afforded much time to learn on the job.  On top of that he has many adversaries within the beltway and the media looking to trip him up at every turn, not for the sake of America, but for the sake of damaging his presidency.  That’s not fair, but that’s the reality he faces.  He can and needs to do better despite all that is against him.