The 2nd American Civil War is beginning


Hannah Beier/Reuters

The US supreme court’s upcoming decision to reverse Roe v Wade (an early draft of which was leaked last week) doesn’t ban abortions; it leaves the issue to the states. As a result, it will put another large brick in the growing wall separating blue and red America.

The second American civil war is already occurring, but it is less of a war than a kind of benign separation analogous to unhappily married people who don’t want to go through the trauma of a formal divorce.

One America is largely urban, racially and ethnically diverse, and young. The other is largely rural or exurban, white and older…

Surveys show Americans find it increasingly important to live around people who share their political values. Animosity toward those in the opposing party is higher than at any time in living memory. Forty-two per cent of registered voters believe Americans in the other party are “downright evil”.

Increasingly, each America is running under different laws…

“States rights” was always a cover for segregation and harsh discrimination. The poor – both white and people of color – are already especially burdened by anti-abortion legislation because they can’t afford travel to a blue state to get an abortion.

They’re also hurt by the failure of red states to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act; by red state de facto segregation in public schools; and by red state measures to suppress votes.

“What is to be done?” is the question waiting for an answer. Not for the first time in any nation; not even the first time in this one. But, a non-violent solution is to be preferred. That doesn’t include “States’ Rights”.

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