On Saturday, an Iowa Trump supporter said a “Civil War” is coming, and not surprisingly Twitter reacted on Sunday with more than 76,000 tweets by the afternoon. Most mocked the notion, and memes poked fun at the supposed army of Trump supporters.
The firestorm actually began when the supporter spoke with MSNBC’s Gary Grumbach, and was blunt in her take on the state of the union. Grumbach (@GaryGrumbach) shared the woman’s comments on Twitter:
“I think the Republicans are about as weak as they can possibly be in Congress. You have maybe six that are worth their salt, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and two or three others. The rest of them are just the same as the Democrats. They’ve been there too long. They’re the establishment. They don’t care about the American people because they’re in their elite little tower. And so, we’re just sick of it, you know. We’re not going to take it anymore. I see a civil war coming. I do. I see civil war coming.”
A Nation As Divided
It is true that the nation is as divided as it has been in any point since the actual American Civil War (1861-1865), but an actual “armed conflict” is especially unlikely. That is because instead of it being essentially a regional conflict as was the war between the states, which was driven primarily by the issue of slavery; our current “Uncivil War” is a political one, driven by our two-party system and each side’s stance on hot-button issues including racial equity, gun control, abortion, election legitimacy, climate change, vaccines and mask mandates.
What makes it worse is that there is largely an absence of trust, a point that is reaffirmed almost daily on social media. The country has gone from being largely apolitical to one that seems to endlessly debate politics across the social platforms.
The Winds Of Civil War?
Even as an actual civil war is unlikely, as the Brookings Institute reported last month, many Americans do think that such a conflict could break out in the future – with 46 percent saying an actual war was likely, compared with 43 percent who said it was unlikely. The report also noted that politically there remains the belief that the other side simply doesn’t play fair.
Those sentiments among others were in the spotlight on Sunday on social media, but the vast majority of the posts openly mocked supporters of former President Trump, and their abilities to engage as “soldiers” via a number of colorful memes:
Other uses didn’t see as much humor in the situation, and instead focused on how even the threat of a conflict is a reflection of our national divide.
@BettyBowers noted, “A civil war would be the first thing civil about America since 2016.”
“There might not be a civil war but there will sadly be incidents of violence across America and people still aren’t taking the threat of a radicalized, weaponized GOP cult seriously. Wait until there are vaccines for kids and mandates in schools. These people are unhinged,” Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) posted.
SirusXM radio host Dean Obeidallah (@DeanObeidallah) suggested, “‘Civil War Coming’ is trending. It’s not for various reasons but a big one is the Civil War in 1861 happened when Red States said we are leaving and Blue States waged a war to preserve the Union. Today if Red States wanted to leave Blue states would say ‘Check out time is 1PM'”
Author John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) also tried to downplay the treat, tweeting, “There is NOT a Civil War Coming. The vast masses of decent, compassionate people here are being challenged by a hateful, conspiratorial, extremist minority who want white evangelical theocracy. Americans cannot simply allow them to have it.”
And at least one user on Twitter, comedian Tim Dillon (@TimJDillon) may have best summed up the topic, “‘Civil War’ trending on Twitter. People outside: ‘Great weather today,’ ‘Did you see the fight?’ ‘Is that restaurant good?'”
Yet the fact that “Civil War” has made the rounds suggests that the road to healing the great political divide isn’t going to happen soon, and likely won’t be easy.