In 1776, the initial thirteen colonies pledged for unity to ensure their communal safety and survival. After other states came into the union, the number of stars on our flag now totals fifty.  

Lord knows during its long history our country has experienced growing pains. For example, our Constitution has been amended several times to ensure liberty and justice for all. Thus, all citizens are covered in a secure blanket knitted with threads of U.S. Constitutional law.  

Undoubtedly, unanimity is the glue that keeps together our 200+ year-old United States of America (U.S.A.). The Federal government may not be perfect, but it’s the best the world has ever seen.  

Oddly though, our union isn’t good enough for certain Republican politicians who publicly disobey (discard) the rule of law. As well, their allied armed white supremacist supporters have (since 2016) raved about civil war and secession while carrying the stars-and-stripes, a symbol of U.S.A. accord, not anarchy.  

The question is, what led our traditionally “united” nation to this stage in our history? In my view, it’s a cause-and-effect issue.  

The Cause? Clearly, the ex-president lost the 2020 election. Yet, unwilling to admit he lost, he repeatedly lies to his followers that he won. Predictably, already wallowing in neo-Nazi, anti-Semitism muck, and suffering from a self-induced “fear-of-others” social paranoia, they swallow his lies without question in cult-like fashion.   

The Effect? The ex-president’s election lies served as the trigger that propelled his malevolent mob to assault the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. 

Bluntly, individuals looking for civil war need a mega dose of reality (common sense). That’s because a repeat of our one-and-only Civil War is highly unlikely. Why?

• Republican-controlled (red) and Democratic-controlled (blue) states are no longer cohesively connected as they were during the Civil War (Northern Free States versus Southern Slave States).  

(Note: The end of the Civil War erased The Mason-Dixon Line, once dividing our nation’s states – Union racial tolerance versus Confederacy intolerance.)  

• Interestingly, red and blue state designations aren’t permanently fixed terms. That’s because the will of the people can flip a state from one election to another. That’s the U.S.A. way.   

• Bearing in mind that bigotry (slavery) caused the Civil War, our country’s institutions are all racially-integrated (government, commerce, communities, educational institutions, police, national defense forces, etc.).   

• Said another way, unjust socio-political, education, and economic barriers that once separated us from one and other have been overcome through laws. We’re a better country for it.   

Truth is, civil war now would be like pushing a self-destruct button on our nation. No prudent patriotic U.S. citizen supports that horrendous scenario. 

Sadly, secessionist noise in Texas began in the 1990s and resulted in senseless loss of life and a secession leader imprisoned for a long time.   

Additionally, in 2009 a Texas governor used secession to attract anti-government voters. He again courted them during his failed 2012 presidential run. Clearly, admitting similar fringe groups at that time contributes to most of today’s corrosive Republican Party politics.      

Frankly, our stars-and-stripes flag doesn’t have red or blue stars. It’s absurd to think otherwise. Besides, just because Republicans control a particular state, every resident is not a Republican. The same goes for the Democratic Party side.  

After all, we are a two-party system of government — a blessing of self-rule. Remember, to be a one-party country is to be ruled by a dictator. Think about it.

U.S. voters have the right to choose candidates of one party or the other (or other candidates) regardless of the state that they live in. Too, they have the right to change their choice next time around if the ones they voted for don’t deliver on their promises.  

Every state’s population is diverse, and are free to practice their racial/ethnic heritage and religion without fear of persecution. Translation? No matter how much racist anarchists rattle their swords, millions of minority-descent U.S. citizens are staying put (half of the U.S. population). After all, this is their home.  

As my mother used to remind us children, “La unión es la fuerza”, her version of “United we Stand, Divided we Fall”. So it is with our nation.  

How does being The United States of America help individual states? Consider the following: 

(l) Federal support provides the lion’s share of each state’s success. 

(2) States were able to survive the 1929-33 Depression, world wars, and other crises/emergencies because national leaders handled the threats; President FDR aptly reminded his radio listeners, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. 

(3) Although in dire need of upgrade, our interstate highway system is still a marvel that lets you drive without showing passports from sea to shining sea; from Alaska to Florida; from Maine to California; and from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.  

(4) Social Security, Medicare, and similar senior citizens’ valued benefits resulted from a national strategy; and,  

(5) Some states get more in government tax dollars than the amount they contribute.

As demonstrated on January 6, 2021, 2020 election destructive disinformation (now known as the ex-president’s “big lie”) assaulted and disrespected one of our hallowed institutions. Motivated by the ex-president’s success in lying, his gullible supporters question common sense, endanger their health (well-being), and display hatred toward others.  

Don’t take my word for it, take it from repentant January 6th anarchists. Many have apologized to the judge for being so stupid in believing the lies. However, be aware. Unrepentant white supremacists who had a front-row role at the Capitol insurrection still pose a grave threat to our nation. 

In summary, please remember these points:  

(1) If there’s a common denominator among insurrectionists calling for civil war, it’s their nearly total lack of basic civics lessons and how government works. Amazingly, they also claim to be law-and-order fans. Yet, they allege they didn’t know breaking-and-entering at the Capitol was a crime.  

 (2) When bigots say they want “their” country back, they mean pre-1960s racial discrimination; a time when racist politicians were in power, and minority groups were powerless. Thanks to God, that’s no longer the case.  

(3) Most important, don’t be fooled by the distortion of the terms “patriot” and “patriotism” by flag-waiving traitor politicians and Capitol anarchists. No matter how they rationalize their dirty deeds, what they did is treason.  

Hoping you agree, here’s some tips:

1. If you watch or hear a cable news TV/Radio host say something that upsets you, check it out by tuning in to one of the long-established (non-cable) major news networks. 

2. If you read something online that is hard to believe, it probably is. Learn to safely surf the internet. Consult fact-checking web sites. To stop conspiracy theories from growing, be cautious about forwarding emails and sharing Face Book postings.

3. By the way, the disinformation operation has gone bilingual. It is now present in Spanish language mass media and especially political ads on TV/radio, in print, and the internet.   

In summary, on January 6, 2021, we nearly lost our democracy. Lest we forget, here’s a final review of the facts: 

(a) The ex-president and his political party enabled the mob’s insurrection and still sponsor sedition by following a totalitarian track.  Versus, 

(b) The current president was victorious because he ran his campaign on our traditional core values, the law of the land (rule of law), and is trying hard to restore reason in our political process.  

Ask yourself who loves the U.S.A. more — those who want to destroy it, or those who believe in E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)?  

Lastly, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (A Republican’s Republican), “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede”.   

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by San Antonio-based historian and author José Antonio López. His columns appear each month in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows an illustration of Three de Thulstrup’s Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. (Credit: Library of Congress)

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