Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bob Burnett: The Next Civil War

The Next Civil War
by Bob Burnett
Common Dreams

The Civil War ranks as the most costly of US wars, with 625,000 deaths and a comparable number of injuries. Now the Republican Party is stoking the fires of insurrection and for thousands of right-wing zealots a new civil war seems a political necessity. As increasing numbers of Democratic politicians are threatened, how long will it be before domestic terrorists use their weapons?

The first Civil War was precipitated by a dispute regarding slavery and states' rights. It was inflamed by volatile rhetoric and widespread use of guns.

The looming civil war reincarnates the debate about states' rights. Immediately after President Obama signed Healthcare Reform into law, several state Attorney Generals filed lawsuits arguing the Federal government violated the Constitution.

Rather than slavery, the new civil war is being waged over the necessity to guarantee human rights for all Americans - whether or not every citizen deserves healthcare. Many Republicans feel this is not a legitimate use of government power, that it infringes on the sacred "free market."

In the run up to the first Civil War, passions were inflamed by fiery rhetoric from secessionist politicians such as Jefferson Davis. The impending civil war is being fed by mass-media personalities, such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who routinely feed their listeners blatant falsehoods. The success of these demagogues was revealed in a March 23rd Louis Harris poll of Republicans: 67 percent "believe that Obama is a socialist." 57 percent "believe that Obama is a Muslim." 45 percent believe that Obama "was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president." 38 percent of Republicans say the President is "doing many of the things that Hitler did." And, 24 percent believe Obama "may be the Antichrist."

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