The battle lines are drawn. The great war between America’s government and her people fast approaches.
No, this isn’t some dystopian near-future science fiction scenario. This is present-day America we’re talking about. There’s a growing hostility between the U.S. government and certain incorrigible freedom-loving citizens, with the live-and-let-lives caught on the side of their more rowdy fellows, despite best efforts to bury their heads in the sand.
But where are all the battles? Where are the troops filling the streets? Where are the tanks rolling across the countryside, steamrolling all dissidents in their path? In waiting, that’s where. This isn’t a traditional armed conflict I’m predicting; at least, not yet. It’s a cold war. Each side is building up its record of hostile actions against the other, all stopping short of the point of no return.
First, there’s the war over control of information. The degree to which the U.S government has pursued whistleblowers, leakers, and all those who would enforce transparency is worrisome, almost to the point of making the American people out to be some sort of sworn enemy. Almost. As the Bradley Manning trial showed, they will prudently stop short of making that overt declaration of war.
Then we have the great petition embarrassment of 2012. In an attempt to feign concern for the wishes of We the People, the Obama White House set up an online petition mechanism to allow concerned citizens to offer questions and concerns to be answered, provided they could acquire 25,000 signatures. Almost immediately, this tool was used by the denizens of several states as a vehicle to attempt secession from the United States, gathering record numbers of signatures. Naturally, the response was the most diplomatically-worded “no” possible in this situation, but so many voices of dissent to the point of wishing for separation can’t be good news for the federal government.
While we’re on the subject of searching for greater freedom for the states, Free Staters, liberty activists seeking to move to New Hampshire in order to consolidate reform efforts, have become targets of government discrimination. The city of Concord, in its application for federal funds to purchase a Bearcat armored vehicle, cited concerns of domestic terrorism and singled out the entirely-peaceful Free Staters as a primary source for this concern. Under pressure from Free State Project President Carla Gericke, Concord Chief of Police John Duval has since softened his wording to avoid a sense of overt hostility towards Free Staters. But the covert hostility is still there. If one can call buying a tank with your name on it “covert.” This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Hundreds of police departments are doing the same.
Meanwhile, states are pushing back hard against federal overreach through a little thing called nullification, where a state passes a law directly contrary to a federal regulation. Dozens of states have moved to nullify both indefinite detention and infringements on firearm ownership rights. The clear message to Washington of these nullification efforts: you have no power here. Normally, this would provoke a violent response from D.C. to reassert its authority. Instead, the reaction we have had has been very quiet.
Finally, as proof that the potential for domestic armed conflict is on people’s minds, we have a paper detailing a fictional Tea Party armed revolution scenario. While a couple of professors musing over how the military would destroy a citizen uprising doesn’t exactly constitute national policy, it’s a sign of the times nonetheless, reminiscent of Red Dawn and countless other Soviet conflict scenarios from the Cold War era. Also reminiscent of yesteryear’s hostile standoff is a massive arms buildup. Federal agencies’ purchase of billions of rounds of ammunition is fairly well-documented by now. Less well-known is the fact that the American people have also been stocking up, purchasing enough firearms to outfit the entire Chinese and Indian militaries just during the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre.
The forces are marshalled and well-armed. Hostile intentions have been made clear. The stage is set for a war over control of these United States of America. A war that may never take place. Instead, we may be treated to years of a hostile standoff punctuated by occasional skirmishes and violent sparks, all falling short of setting the entire country ablaze with war. Only time will tell how this conflict will pan out. I, for one, am expecting a cold war.
Pack your jackets, kids. It’s going to be a long and chilly next few years.
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx.
Photo credit: The U.S. Army (Creative Commons)