The division in our country may exceed that of the civil war period and we’re on the path to a major confrontation. Lincoln’s quote that “It will become all one thing or all the other” may not apply to a country that is divided in what type of government and economy, socialism versus capitalism, we operate under.

The blue has rejected the Declaration of Independence and Constitution for the past 120 years and it's finally coming to a head. It boils down to either another civil war or secession by the blue, and we all may be much happier with the divorce results.

No time in our nation’s history has satisfaction with an electoral outcome, as in 2016, called into question of the entire system of government by a sizable portion of the population. The traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal, “E pluribus unum,” which originated from the concept that out of the union of the original 13 Colonies emerged a new single nation, may no longer apply 244 years later. A Georgetown Institute poll finds that two-thirds of us believe we are edging closer “to the brink of a civil war.”

It is true that making divorce difficult may encourage spouses to take marriage seriously; however, making it illegal may condemn them to unbearable unhappiness, which could lead to violence and worse consequences than divorce. As such, secession might be a reasonable way to resolve differences, in which case an Article V convention to amend the Constitution might work out our own divorce. For a nation founded on the phrase, “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ... a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,” it may be the best solution to avoid: a real civil war with untold deaths and allowing our foes to take advantage. It’s easier still when the pluses are so much greater than they were in the past, and the minuses so much smaller.

If the South had been allowed to secede, we may never have passed the civil rights legislation that has evolved from civil to human rights and to an incompatible second Constitution based on group identities. This legislation has created several generations of entitled and victim groups resulting in tremendous monetary cost and disruption as evident in the current riots.

Today it’s liberals vs. conservatives and especially progressives vs. Trump supporters. Media bias has been with us since the founding, but is now dominant in the national news media that has become the spokesperson for the Democratic Party. The progressives saw the coronavirus pandemic as just another opportunity for them to take down Trump. The left's identity politics, including multiculturalism and diversity projects, has damaged American society with different cultures that have their own values separate from and sometimes in opposition to the dominant white, middle-class, Protestant people of northern European descent.

The liberal elite used every opportunity to insist Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election that went on for three years. Now, as evidence mounts that Trump and his campaign were actually victims, not perpetrators, of collusion, the liberal elite see nothing.

The 2020 presidential election could spark the perfect storm with all the economic problems from the pandemic, government debt and unfunded liabilities combined with neither party accepting the results leading to social instability. It’s doubtful that the red will accept Joe Biden as president considering his involvement in the overthrow of a president via “Russiagate.”

Civil war begins when the constitutional order breaks down, and it would be a shame if we just stood by and let it happen. Historically, republics have tended to fall apart — in effect, they die — because the people prove unworthy of citizenship. Through laziness and self-absorption allows the republic to fall into dictatorship or anarchy. Niccolò Machiavelli noted that citizens — those who shall have a political voice in the republic — must possess civic virtue, an ability to see beyond their narrow self-interest to the good of the republic, and a commitment to placing the common good above purely personal interest.

Virtue is the foundation of a free society capable of vigorously exercising the kind of self-governance that our Founding Fathers expected of us and we must be free to be virtuous. Without virtue, we turn to government for cradle to grave care and become buried alive under mountains of tedious rules, mandates and regulations at all levels of government.

Jim Hansen is a retired mechanical engineer.

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