The Uncivil War

by Stefani Deoul

“Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed. Happy Birthday, @Hillary Clinton!”

This tweet was the official response of the House Judiciary Committee of the GOP (Grand Old Party), issued shortly after the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

Let that sink in. The House Judiciary could have posted any type of congratulations to ACB, any kind of welcome. This was their moment. Instead they chose ugliness; schoolyard taunts. A demeaning playground skirmish.

This symbolizes to me, in eight scant words, the devolution of our United States of America—a devolution that has resulted in our living through the most Uncivil of Wars.

When history books are written, the first salvo will be recorded as the Descent of the Escalator. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

And with that speech, we began to bear witness to the Redistricting of the American Map. This time, rather than a North/South split, we have a map which is more checkered, sliced across all lines, including brother v. sister and father v. sons; battles just as ugly as those we thought to be historic and over.

The Scrimmage of the Sexist. A battle one would think would have altered the course of a presidential run. “I moved on her like a bitch…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

And like that, another line drawn and crossed.

The Weaponry of Choice for this Uncivil War—Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and programs calling themselves news when they are no more than false prophets.

A Battle Waged Daily, led not by a man who would be king, but rather by Shadow Ops, scrimmaging from the darkness. A sortie here, a sortie there. Relentless. Pounding. Escalating the drumbeat. The March of the Militias begins, ever onward, until finally, the Valley of Violence is reached and breached.

Heather Heyer. Dead in Charlottesville.

She died because some “very fine people” came to town. You know, those same people who have come to towns near you. Towns like that “most dangerous place in America,” Ferguson, Missouri. The caravans of the KKK, the Divisions of the Alt-Right Assault Unit, the campaign now in the open.

And like all wars, you must pledge your allegiance. You might be “Lyin’ Ted” with an ugly wife, but you smile and suck it up, even though one day your children will know you didn’t defend your wife and family, no, not you. No, you cowered and caved. You, Lyin’ Ted, begged for absolution, demonstrating your fealty with each word you wrote glowing about Trump for Time magazine’s feature on the 100 most influential people of 2018. Dancing the Dance of the Marionette.

Such must be the fear. For even as they come for your own, you say nothing, you do nothing. John McCain—”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t…captured.” And like that, the Flag of the Disloyal Crusader is planted.

The March of the Militia continues, entering Michigan, threatening a sitting governor, who becomes the center of a kidnapping attack.

And at this crossroads, a place where we should be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and declare this has gone too far, there comes a rallying cry, “stand back and stand by.”

And now let’s unleash the Scourge of the “Ks,” seemingly normal adult white women who need to call the police on their Black neighbors for crimes such as “opening their own front door,” “driving their own car,” and of course the extremely dangerous, “bird watching at the park.”

The best part of these “Ks” as a weapon is their stealth, and their unpredictability. They can appear anywhere, seemingly out of nowhere. They fit right in. You can’t even see one coming.

But nowhere is the destruction and havoc more frightening, more apparent, and more bitter, than the fighting at the Battle of the Masks.

A two-pronged attack, in which the right flank drops scud missiles on science while the other flank (because there is no left—left flanks are fake news) engages in public shaming, calling out and mocking mask wearers. A quarter million dead and counting. “It is what it is.”

And that is what? Collateral damage? Acceptable loss?

This can go on and on. By the time you read it, an election will have happened. Sadly, it comes too late to stop the Uncivil War. The question is not can there ever be a victor? The question is when there is a victor, how do we heal?

I don’t know, but I do know we must all look to ourselves and remember the promise of our nation.

There’s an old child’s rhyme. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me. That rhyme is a lie. Words matter. Especially in this, the most Uncivil of Wars.


Stefani Deoul is a television producer and author of the award-winning YA mystery series Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventures, with On a LARP, Zero Sum Game, and Say Her Name.