“The United States is coming to an end. The only question is how.”– Stephen Marche
Today’s quote comes from the jacket in Stephen Marche’s new book. I hate to spoil everyone’s fun. I haven’t read it yet. The topic seems interesting enough, but I have a backlog of books on my nightstand that I got for Christmas and I haven’t broken into those yet. Besides, I’ve never been much for dystopian novels or whatever we may call this.
Marche is a Canadian. He can certainly opine from a safe distance about the coming destruction of America. My sense is that they are somewhat similar to the collective works of Karl Marx. Everyone is familiar with his Communist Manifesto, but I was thinking more along the lines of Das Kapital. It was always my understanding that he felt the revolution was what would be and not necessarily what should be.
What he did not see is that other forces would rise up to prevent the inevitable revolution between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. Unions and progressive politicians prevented his revolution and brought the change needed through more peaceful means. We certainly can hope that something or someone intervenes before we go marching down that road.
Of course, the tag line above is what Simon and Schuster sees as what I call the money line. There is no official definition in literature for the money line. English teachers may call it a theme statement or a main idea. It is the one line people remember. I don’t need to know how this will happen. There are any number of ways it can happen. The real money line is who would be involved in such a civil war.
Our own civil war was the north versus the south. That seemed easy enough. The battle lines were fought over slavery, but what is so fascinating from 64,000 feet is seeing how people have tried to distort and deflect that over the intervening decades and century. Slavery became “states rights”. A simple fight over the “right” to own other people turned into some high-minded affair over the exact understanding of federalism. Indeed.
So, where are the fault lines in this coming civil war? I suppose geography could come into play. Cities and rural areas seem to vote radically differently these days. However, the fault lines don’t seem to be fraying on those lines. It could be right versus left. That would make a lot of sense as the political parties seem to be moving further and further away from each other.
Yet, when compared internationally, the parties are not nearly as far apart as we are led to believe. Plus, there are examples that the difference in parties is not necessarily the only thing to consider. Sometimes there are coalitions between the parties that can be a positive or negative force. At any rate, preventing a civil war can be daunting when we can’t identify where the fault lines actually are.
It isn’t as easy as vaccine versus not vaccine. It isn’t as easy as racist versus not racist. It’s not as easy as progressive versus conservative. It’s not as easy as fact versus fiction. However, there are commonalities between all of those things. At the end of the day we could simply label one side as individualistic and the other side of pluralistic. Yet, even those terms are not absolutely precise. Labeling one side as selfish and the other as selfless is a little self-serving. It might be just that easy. Either way, the who is far more fascinating than the what.