With the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection looming later this week, analysts and pundits have put the worst-case scenario for the American future on the table for public debate and discussion: Is the country coming unglued? Are we approaching the point where self-government becomes impossible? Will political violence break out again, this time spreading beyond our capacity to contain it?
Is the United States careening toward a second civil war?
Canadian novelist and commentator Stephen Marche is among the most confident of the pessimists. In an excerpt from his new book published in The Guardian, Marche points out that hardly anyone foresaw the outbreak of the original American Civil War, even as the conflagration was breaking out at a military installation on the South Carolina coast.
It’s the same today, Marche claims, with the right becoming militarized in response to the widespread delegitimation of American political institutions. Those “structures of power” no longer adequately represent the views of the majority, and Republicans are ready to substitute “the politics of the gun.”