With the events in the last few weeks, everyone has been wondering, is the United States of America about to erupt into open civil war?
Over the past few weeks, we have seen images of rioting and looting, entire city blocks being burned to the ground and open calls for rebellion. The two major political parties of the U.S. have taken opposing stances on these events, the Democrats support the protests and have even gone so far as to post bail for people that were arrested in connection with rioting. While the Republicans have been very critical of mayors and governors that they claim, are allowing and in some cases even supporting the protests, threatening to send in the military to deal with the unrest if the local governments are unwilling or unable to. Some protestors have even taken over buildings from the police and declared ‘autonomous zones’ where the U.S. government has no authority.
On May 25th a man named George Floyd was recorded being killed by a police officer who kneeled on his neck for over 8 minutes.
In the wake of his death protests erupted all across the U.S. and even in other countries. The main protest in Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was killed, lead to hundreds of buildings being burned down including a police station. Rioting and looting were common at these protests and usually occurred at night after the scheduled protest of that day was ending. More than 20 people have died during these protests, some being killed by the protesters, some protesters being killed.
To some degree the protest movement already resembles an insurrection, an area in Seattle Washington was taken over by protestors with rocks and bottles, they swarmed a police station and forced them to abandon it to save their lives. A six-block area around this police station was then declared a “free state” known as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”, CHAZ for short. CHAZ is now guarded by an armed group of leftwing activists know as the John Brown Gun Club, and they are growing food and writing their own laws.
The U.S. is now split, mostly on ideological grounds, on how to view these events. Republicans see the protests as a dangerous uprising by young people who don’t understand the consequences of their actions, and people using them to push their own goals of bringing communism to the U.S. and the destruction of their way of life.
Democrats see the protests as a righteous cause against an unjust and systemically racist system long due for reform and now needs a complete overhaul, literally from the ground up. Most people are somewhere in the middle, they see the injustices that the Democrats speak about and they are also worried about the violence and property destruction during the protests.
But people with power are choosing sides, Twitter censors the president’s speech, Facebook criticizes them for it. High ranking members of the military are making public statements backing the actions of one party or the other.
For the most part, this is just a continuation of a trend of polarization happening in the U.S. over the last few years, but the coronavirus lockdown has been politicized, opening up the country is seen as right-wing, continuing the lockdown as left-wing. And things are quite literally getting heated, with mass arson and looting during the George Floyd riots, there are armed factions declaring themselves for one side or the other, the political tensions in the U.S. are rising and unless things start to calm soon, a single event could spark a full-scale civil war.
Perhaps the fact that it is an election year is partly to blame, each political party is politicizing the current events to help their campaign or hurt their opponents, and maybe once the election is over things will calm down. But left-wing groups are calling President Trump’s rejection of mail-in voting, an attempt to steal the election and right-wing groups believe that Democrats would do anything to remove Donald Trump from office, we will see what happens this November.