Will you know when the civil war has begun?

Since the Era of Trump began more than four years ago, I have been confounded by the level of anger and hate in this country.

SHARE Will you know when the civil war has begun?

A protester walks past the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Friday, Jan. 8.

AP Photos

There are people who believe anything I say is a lie. That is because I am a newspaperman, and they believe I am their enemy.

I have company. Millions of people today see educators, judges, members of Congress and scientists as their foes.

Columnists bug


In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.

We have millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine lying idle in freezers in part because doctors and nurses, on the priority list for injections, are refusing vaccination.

Far more people have died from this disease in the United States than died in the Vietnam War, yet many of my countrymen still refuse to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus. They’re not going to be told by the government how to live, even if that means the death of Grandma and Grandpa.

They don’t believe the statistics. They think people dying in car accidents, people suffering heart attacks, people simply dying from natural causes are all being labeled COVID-19 deaths for financial gain.

Half the country doubts the word of the president, the other half seems to believe the Democrats stole the election from him.

Who can be trusted?

Facebook? Twitter? Apple News? 

Social media has begun censoring hate speech. Or so Trump’s defenders say. Those who support Donald Trump, and those who believe their liberty is in danger, see this as further proof of a conspiracy to deny them their freedom.

They see themselves as patriots. They are protecting the white race, heterosexuality, religious freedom, gun ownership and capitalism.

The rest of us see them as domestic terrorists who would set fire to the country in order to save it. This is political insurrection. An attack on the Capitol to warn our elected leaders that honoring the results of the presidential election could cost them their lives.

What is next?

Since the Era of Trump began more than four years ago, I have been confounded by the level of anger and hate in this country. I have tried to understand it by talking to friends who supported Trump or embraced many of his actions.

Whenever I attempt to explain what I had learned from those discussions, the anti-Trump folks would become angry. Some shouted at me. Trump people are evil, they would tell me. Racist. Anti-Semitic. Homophobic. Ignorant. 

Listening to them would do no good. They must be defeated and silenced.

Perhaps it would be helpful if Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Selleck and the Kardashian family made public service announcements urging understanding, or at least acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Wearing face masks would seem to be more important at this point than Nike shoes, reverse mortgages or the perfume sales. And celebrities are still trusted by most Americans.

There are some people who believe we are nearing a civil war in this country. I think it may have begun.

How do you know such a thing?

People whom I respect defend the assault on the Capitol, comparing it to Black Lives Matter demonstrations. But make no mistake — the attack on the Capitol was an attempt to overthrow our government. 

The Trump supporters tell me that the Clintons, Obamas and Bidens are socialists. Some of the same folks tell me that these very same politicians are the tools of bankers and Wall Street, selling their souls to the highest bidder. The contradiction does not seem to bother them.

I once lived in a country that was the richest, freest and most tolerant society on the planet. People from all over the world risked their lives to come here because we had it so good. We were admired for our enlightened leadership and our melting pot.

If our culture is so weak that it could be destroyed by the rise of Trump, perhaps it’s a nation built on quicksand. You can argue with me. I am always willing to talk, listen and learn. But I seem to be in the minority. The time has come, it seems, to choose sides.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

The Latest
Authorities were called to the Hilton Suites in Oakbrook Terrace on Saturday, where shots were reportedly fired. One person was found dead and a suspect arrested.
The Ramblers dominated their first game on the Chicago Elite Classic stage, beating St. Louis Vashon (2-2) 64-24. The Ramblers held Vashon scoreless in the second quarter and their suffocating defense held Vashon to 17.5% shooting.
The Hawks’ 4-1 defeat Sunday concluded a three-game road trip in which they didn’t score a single goal when Connor Bedard wasn’t on the ice.
Firefighters were called to the historic home at 45th and South Michigan Avenue twice on Sunday to put down a fire. The cause is under investigation. No one was hurt.
After 22 games of struggles — tallying only six points, including zero even-strength goals — Reichel sat out Sunday against the Wild. “He needs to...come back with a little bit of fire,” coach Luke Richardson said.