I came across this above-linked opinion piece on the USA Today web site yesterday and just had to comment. As the author observes, we’re beginning to hear an undercurrent of rumblings about the potential for another civil war in America. I’ve heard and read reports of groups – motorcycle gangs and clubs and various militias – that are reportedly prepared to take up arms in the event that President Trump were to be impeached. (Kudos to the author of this piece for his even-handedness in laying blame on both sides.)
Let me preface this by saying that I voted for Trump in 2016. I did so on the basis of his promises to do something about our trade deficit and about illegal immigration, the two issues which I believe lie at the root of the ills that have beset our economy for decades. I also voted for Obama in 2008 for the very same reason – his promise to reduce our trade imbalance – a promise not kept.
I’m not a particularly big fan of Trump. He can be obnoxious and arrogant. He’s not a great communicator. But, after many decades of do-nothing presidents who stood idly by while the rising tide of “globalism” plundered our economy and while other countries played us for fools, I’m thrilled that we finally have a leader who’s willing to stand up and tell the world enough is enough and we won’t tolerate it any longer. He’s backed up his words with action, levying large tariffs on Chinese imports in spite of the tremendous pressure from the Chinese and the global business community not to do it. Good for him. I want to see more of it.
Does that make me a Republican? Hardly. The Republican party has traditionally been a big supporter of free trade – even more so than the Democrats – and staunchly opposed to the use of tariffs. So what does that make me? An American, one who, like million of others, was infused with the spirit of “Americanism” as I grew up, the very kind of “Americanism” the author of this piece describes when he says:
America once was, and hopefully still can be, a nation for the ambitious, hard-working, creative, productive, adventurous and entrepreneurial. That is the meaning of Americanism and the spirit of American liberty.
America once was all of that. A few paragraphs earlier, the author stated, “If we are to avoid civil war, Americans must rediscover the principles and promise of American life that united us for over 200 years.” Interesting that the author takes note of the 200-year milestone of our country. That bicentennial happened in 1976. Coincidentally, 1976 was the year that America’s trade balance swung from a small surplus to an ever-growing deficit. 2018 marked the 42nd annual trade deficit and was the largest in history. 2019 will be the 43rd. While “the promise of American life” united us for over 200 years, it didn’t last much beyond that.
I entered the labor force in the private sector in 1974 and spent my entire working career watching “the promise of American life” steadily eroded by the forces of globalism, as global corporations turned their backs on Americans, licking their chops at the prospect of more and faster growth in the underdeveloped world – primarily in China. I listened to the daily drumbeat about how Americans could no longer compete with foreign labor and watched our factories shut down as “made in the USA” products on store shelves were steadily displaced by those from China and Mexico.
By 2016 “the promise of American life” was gone, replaced by a dog-eat-dog existence of working minimum wage jobs while the severance packages and retirement savings were slowly exhausted. Americans were seething with anger and ready to elect anyone who promised to do something about it.
Hillary Clinton blamed her loss to Trump on the E-mail investigation that was announced by James Comey in the final week before the election. Baloney. Americans didn’t care about her E-mails. That story was already old news. But three other things happened in that final week that set Americans on fire: first, the Social Security administration announced that, for the 2nd year in a row, there would be no cost-of-living adjustment to social security benefits. That was followed closely by an announcement from the Obama adminstration that “Obamacare” premiums were being jacked up by a third or more. Finally, that announcement was followed the very next day by announcements of similar huge premium increases for private health insurance.
A “coming” civil war?!?!? We’ve been in one for three years, and those events of the final week of the 2016 election campaign that I just described were the opening salvo, fired by globalists at the downtrodden American workers, accompanied by their battle cry, “The American Dream is dead!” The election a week later was the return volley, fired by furious Americans whose sense of “Americanism” was reawakened. If there was any doubt that a war was on, it was erased on January 20, 2017 when, during his inauguration speech, Trump swung a rhetorical battle-ax at the heads of globalism.
Globalism is in a full-blown panic. They’ve done a masterful job of portraying Trump as a self-serving oligarch that threatens our very democracy. The American media, owned and controlled almost lock, stock and barrel by foreign interests, has been relentless and unmerciful in their efforts to bring Trump down.
Will this war turn into an actual shooting war? God, let’s hope not, but globalism won’t go down without a fight. You can bet on that. “Americanism?” It’s alive and well, much to the chagrin of the globalists.