Sunday, August 30, 2015

Civil War, 2016: Is the United States Headed for Another Split?



"I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments." - Abraham Lincoln


        First of all, before anyone mistakes me for something I am not, be assured that I am a Union man. If some crazy ass jackwagon decides that it seems like a good idea to secede from the Union, I will make it my life's mission to ensure that they eat every single word that they spew against the Union. I know that this country has been hijacked. However, I also know that it is possible to see the change we seek happen, but only, if we stick together. Passions are high, and that is fine, but there is a lot more at stake here than just our own personal problems. The future depends on us being able to surpass the sum of our programming.
         In 1860, the political scene was a chaotic mess. Compromise after compromise over slavery and its expansion or containment had been made, but still the issue loomed darkly over the political scene. It was the central topic in every discussion in every public hall in the country. The South had their version of what should happen, and the North had its own. They are both, naturally, completely contradictory to one another, but at the same time the issues used to mask the problem were contradictory to one another, as well. First, the South argued that they were fighting for their states' right to govern all matters within their own borders. Second, that was a complete crock! The primary affair that they were worried about was slavery. They were fighting to maintain their lifestyle and the lucrative trade that they had with Britain, who owed part of their Industrial Revolution to Southern cotton. 
        The North claimed in the beginning that its sole motivation for war was to simply limit the expansion of slavery. This, too, was a crock! Northern capitalists knew that they were competing with Britain for Southern cotton. This did not sit well with them. The British were making it hard for Northern capitalists to keep factories open because of how much cotton they bought from the South, and the South was raking in the proverbial cash flow because their primary labor force worked for free. The North wanted to control that profit, and they did not want Britain meddling in US affairs. Interestingly enough, the British later considered doing so because the war was hurting their industries. The point is that the Abolitionist Movement was funded by Northern industrialists in search of more profit and greater market share, who were willing go to war to get it. The Abolitionists ended a very terrible thing, no doubt, and many of them had no interest in the business side of the issue; they simply wanted to end the evil of slavery. However, their funding came from a group of rich men simply looking to get richer. In the end, neither side was actually fighting for a cause. They were fighting for economic supremacy. 
         As for the political side of the issue, by 1860 the slavery issue was coming to a head, and there were four candidates who stood for the Presidency. There were two Northern candidates, Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. The two Southern candidates were John Breckenridge and John Bell. Interestingly enough, all four of the candidates were Democrats or former Democrats. The last election had witnessed the death of the Whig Party, and now, the Democratic Party was splitting four ways. Southern Democrats put up Breckenridge, and Northern Democrats put up Douglas. The two former Democrats were Lincoln and Bell. Lincoln went Republican, and Bell, a Southerner in favor of preserving the Union, went Constitutional Unionist. The most controversial of the candidates was Lincoln, because while he himself never indicated that he would ever end slavery during the campaign, his party was stuffed full of abolitionists and money from Northern capitalists. For, many, especially those in the South that were to suffer the most, saw his election as a promise that slavery would end, despite Lincoln claiming that he only sought to curb the spread of slavery. Breckenridge, in open air, along with many others, cried secession if he was elected, and they followed through when he was, to the sounds of the seizure of a federal military installation, Fort Sumter.
        Fast forward to the present. The political situation is similarly divided. The Democrats and the Republicans have their establishment candidates, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, respectively. Then each party has their own upstart that is threatening to unsettle the status quo, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, respectively. Bernie Sanders is not a straight Democrat. His Socialist tendencies are well known. If Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, despite Sanders' surge, expect him to run as an Independent because he is hitting a cord with a lot of people from both sides of the aisle. This could possible give him the potential to make it all they way. If the Republicans nominate Bush, expect Trump to do the same thing. His campaign is running on his own fortune, and he does not need the backing of the Republican Party in order to keep his campaign afloat. Additionally, he won't be regulated by the Republican platform, which will give him the license to say and do whatever he wants to do to get elected. All of this will split the vote four ways, and one of the 'fringe' candidates is going to fool around and take the election by a hair. If Sanders get elected, there are people that will want to secede. If Trump gets elected, there are just as many people that will be thinking the same thing. The present political situation is about as rocky as it has been since the sixties. One vote could send this country into another devastating Civil War.
         So, what is the issue of the day that is bringing about this massive show down? Is it big banking? Is it the tech bubble? Is it the housing bubble? Is it all of the bailouts? Is it about the near failure of the auto market? Is it because of oil, racism, religious persecution, social injustice, sexism, economics, consumerism, or any of the many other complaints, justified or not that people have against this country? Treated by themselves, none of these problems has the potential to bring down the house by themselves. Treated as a whole, they are still not what will bring down the house. Each of these problems is merely a symptom of the root cause of the unrest in this country, the super concentration of wealth, in that a few have lots of it, and a great many have none of it. This imbalance will not stand. Either everyone is able to benefit from the system, or someone will be left out, and they will resent it and resist it. Compromise after compromise, from bailouts, to deregulation, to tax subsidies, and many other similar stopgap measures, has failed to deliver a permanent remedy to the dramatically increasing wealth gap in this country. 
         Going back to the election, there is another issue that makes these two situations appear eerily similar. Each election had two candidates that had interest in maintaining the status quo. If they had worked together, a military conflagration could have been prevented. In 1860, both Douglas and Bell sought to maintain the status quo, more compromise, in order to preserve the Union. This can't be said about Lincoln, for those who might attempt to do so, because his party, packed with abolitionists, was pushing for exactly what they knew would make the South leave the Union, the abolition of slavery. This was just the excuse that their financiers needed to seize Southern markets. The present day sees a similar conundrum. If all of the candidates go their own way, the potential for a political upset is higher. However, the two establishment candidates in this election, basically the Centrists, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, could possibly keep the status quo, the wealth gap, in good shape if they joined together. Hell, if they really wanted to throw everyone for a loop, Bush should offer to be Hillary's Vice-President. Their new little union would turn into the next political powerhouse. However, it is not likely that this is going to happen, and years from now, many people will ask what would have happened if they had. Instead, there could very possibly be a split election that could have the potential to see a candidate elected that pushes one side or the other off the edge, to the point that they secede and a Civil War breaks over the future of what has been the United States of America for the past two-hundred and thirty plus years. One final note, if there is a split, don't be surprised if there are more than two factions. The Midwest, the South, the Northeast, and the West Coast all have strong political and economic centers, with access to international trade-ways led by people that would benefit from such a split. Here's to the hope that we can solve the problem peacefully.

11 comments:

  1. The claim of financial inequality as a nation breaker is ABSURD. Since there has been an America there have be large income inequalities. That happens when you have a small group with extraordinary vision, being in the right place at the right time, or just hard work and sound money management. Each era has the same split and no one knew of any greater split at their time period. This income flap is a manufactured crisis. There may have always been some jealousy and anger over it but it has been perpetuated by this administration, along with racism, gun control and other hot button issues, to divide people and keep the real agenda behind the curtains. There will always be large income differences in America because 1) we will always have a class of risk takers that create jobs. 2) we will always have a group of lazy types who just "deserve" other people's money. And 3) we are not, so far, a socialist nation! What is truly dividing this nation is the Barak Obama administration!

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    1. Actually, your remark is historically incorrect. We have now an income equality only matched by the great depression era. Additionally, this economic environment and lack of upward mobility is nearly exactly the conditions that took the heads of many...

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    2. Actually, your remark is historically incorrect. We have now an income equality only matched by the great depression era. Additionally, this economic environment and lack of upward mobility is nearly exactly the conditions that took the heads of many...

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    3. We have pitchforks and guillotines. At the ready.

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  2. If it has always been accepted, why, throughout history, have the poor rebelled against the rich?

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  3. money is control...the federal reserve is a corporation...people are starting to wake up and realize we are slaves to the system and our masters are the 1%

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  4. I believe that the breakup of the Union is pretty much inevitable. I do not think that is a good thing. It's just an unavoidable thing. There is simply too much cultural diversity. People in New York City don't want to live according to the social norms that make sense to Iowa farmers, and vice versa. Steelworkers in Birmingham Alabama don't much care for the social customs of either the New York people or the Iowa people. Just as the nation of Czechoslovakia couldn't hold together because it was too many things mashed together, those forces are building up here too. The only reason why the Union has lasted as long as it has is because of the concept of Federalism. The long tradition of most issues being decided at the State level allowed regional differences. The necessity of dealing with the civil rights issues began the breakdown of the Federalist system. Really we have more of a centralized national government than a federal one at this point. It was nesessary, but that does not change the unfortunate effects it has caused. I'm not happy about it, but I think it's only a matter of time.

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  5. China already influences your "Californian Republic"!

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