AuthorLueders, Bill

Ed Asner, the actor and activist, came to Madison, Wisconsin, in mid-December to give three performances of the play God Help Us!, in which he plays God. Asner, at ninety, is still sharp-witted and endearingly gruff, with a masterful stage presence. The Progressive sponsored these shows--all well attended if not sold out--and shared in the proceeds. Asner also appeared at a fundraiser for the magazine, where he gamely fielded questions from a packed room of admirers, and closed by asking a question of his own:

"I fear for the eventual outbreak between the two opposing groups in our country," he told the crowd. "I'd like to hear [your] stance, how sanguine you feel about facing off against the Trumpists. Would anybody venture to say?"

It has become one of the most urgent issues of our time, and the source of much consternation: Are we, as a nation, headed toward a civil war? Under Donald Trump, that's a valid question. The President and his supporters are actively anticipating this possibility.

"I think it would become the second Civil War," said a Trump backer at one of the President's many campaign rallies, referencing the always-remote possibility that he might be removed from office following impeachment. "[It] would cause physical violence in this country that we haven't seen since the first Civil War."

Another Trump backer at this same rally cited "my .357 Magnum" as his reason for believing that Trump would not be removed.

Trump himself has raised the possibility of violence if things don't go his way, at one point tweeting this deranged comment, based loosely on some commentary he heard on Fox News: "If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal."

Trump has also tweeted: "I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!"

This, as The New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb reflected, "was a breathtakingly irresponsible and foolish comment that could reasonably provoke violence among his most devout followers." And in fact, armed rightwing militias are already preparing for possible battle on behalf of their favorite President.

It is no great leap...

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