Maintaining Civility in the Face of Political Violence (Strategy)

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by Daniel Carter

In the year and a half since Donald Trump swore in to become President of the United States, the political climate has gone from bad to downright hostile. Every week seems to bring about a new issue that drives people into deeper and deeper hysteria. It may only be a matter of time before our country is torn apart by another civil war.

Over the past few weeks, the mainstream media has whipped the masses into a frenzy over the country’s immigration policies. Illegal immigrant families are being separated at the border when they are processed to be sent back home. This policy, which clearly predates the Trump administration, has leftists in a moral panic and screaming “Nazi!” It even has Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling people to form mobs and “push back” on people who work for the Trump administration.

This kind of heated rhetoric has already led to people confronting Trump administration members in public. Sarah Sanders was denied service at a restaurant because of her affiliation with Trump. Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen were also confronted by protesters at restaurants. And here is a video of Mitch McConnell and his wife being harassed by protesters:

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There has been a dramatic increase in the encouragement of incivility. Many on the right have gone down this road as well. Right-wing activist Milo Yiannopoulos recently called for gunning down journalists on sight. With the way both sides are behaving, it seems extremely plausible that violence could erupt on a national scale at any moment.

The side that maintains peace and civility the longest will gain a huge advantage, especially if the situation escalates to war. In the modern world, being the first aggressor is viewed as evil much more often than not. Think of the Nazis invading Poland, or the Islamic terrorists attacking the World Trade Center, or the US toppling the Libyan regime; in these cases, the people on the defensive gained sympathy and support.

Another reason to maintain civility in the face of political violence is to gain a greater understanding of your enemy. What type of propaganda are the using to mobilize people against you? How many people do they have? What strategies and tactics are they employing? If you maintain civility for a reasonable amount of time, you can learn a lot about your enemy while they cannot learn anything from you.

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You can also maintain civility to exhaust your enemy’s resources. It costs a lot of time and effort to be consistently on the offensive. Labor, equipment and food will always be needed in battle. The longer you can stay civil (defensive), the more resources your enemy burns.

History is telling us that the political environment will only grow more hostile. Unfortunately, there may be no way to reverse the trend toward war (if not war, major violent outbursts). Of course, I am hoping none of this comes to fruition. However, if it does, the side that can maintain civility the longest will gain significant advantages in the long-run.



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