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No Civil War: An Urgent Plea to Left, Right

Ralph Schaffer: Failure to accept the election results, whatever they are, will mean the end of the American nation. We will have survived longer than Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Third Reich, but we will be, like them, an historical footnote.
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Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

As this country stands on the brink of a civil war, one that will decimate a divided United States, we appeal to activists, left and right, to avoid that civil war no matter what.

Not since 1861 have Americans faced such a calamity. But the destruction that took place in that Civil War was confined largely to the South. This time, every hamlet, town and metropolis in America will be ravaged in the fighting that follows the turmoil over this presidential election if either side resorts to force in response to an electoral outcome they won't accept.

Failure to accept the election results, whatever they are, will mean the end of the American nation. We will have survived longer than Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Third Reich, but we will be, like them, an historical footnote.

In 2000, Al Gore wisely, though prematurely, chose to concede to George Bush as a means of preventing violence.

The stakes are much higher in 2020 and the potential for violence is far greater. But can we expect either a Biden or a Trump to follow the precedent set by Gore and concede, coupled with a call for peace?

That's not the Trump style. He has refused to agree to a peaceful transition of power should the election go to Biden, implying that such a victory for the Democrats would come only from a rigged election. That's a virtual call to arms, and the right wing militias have already demonstrated their dedication to armed force by marching in the streets. Even one of Trump's advisors has urged the president's followers to arm themselves and buy ammunition.

The left is not far behind, although at this point they haven't organized armed units as has the right. But the violent actions - fires, looting, and barricades - that have followed peaceful protests over police use of unnecessary lethal force point to a left that will not passively accept a Trump electoral victory they will see a an usurpation.

Biden may not be able to control his outraged supporters if Republicans state legislatures refuse to certify Biden electors, throwing the election into the House where Trump has a majority of state votes. Or, if the electoral college does choose Biden and Trump refuses to leave office, it is unlikely that Democrats will allow him to stay there by peacefully accepting a fait accompli.

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Regardless of what scenario takes place on and after election day, the animosities that have arisen between Americans right and left in the past few months have made the likelihood of war greater than the present danger from Covid-19. We've lost over 200,000 Americans to the virus. We will lose millions in the coming civil war if it is not prevented by wise leadership, left and right.

Our great cities will be in ruins. Industrial production will cease. Starvation will be rampant. Those who today are dismayed because kids can't have in person teaching at the schools will find that there are no schools a all. Neighbors will turn on neighbors. No section, no community will be spared.

Better dead than Red or Blue? Tell that to the millions of dead Syrians! Here it may be tens of millions of dead Americans.

Left wing cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York will be decimated, but so will Trump places like Idaho Falls, Gatlinburg and Abilene. We may not have used A-bombs in foreign wars after 1945, but don't bet against their use, along with lethal gas, against our own people.

Canada's population will double almost overnight as Americans flee north. Mexico will become the home for many Americans who had denounced refugees seeking asylum in our country.

The nation will be in chaos for years to come if the leadership of left and right do not call for calm. Trump supporters must accept a Biden victory without resorting to obvious sham efforts to block his inauguration. Biden voters must accept the constitutional rules for deciding a presidential election, regardless of how they feel about the winner.

Failure to accept the election results, whatever they are, will mean the end of the American nation. We will have survived longer than Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Third Reich, but we will be, like them, an historical footnote.

ralph schaffer

This is not the future reasonable Americans want for their children and grandchildren.

Ralph Schaffer