Thank you again, Jerry.
Yes, I have watched the NRA commercial. I’ve read other articles before about it, making points similar to yours, and I’ve struggled to understand them. My read of the commercial is that it is a “back the blue” commercial, i.e., saying we need to support the police and support law and order due to a rising tide of anarchy and chaos. That’s more Nixon in 1968 than Wallace in 1968, though I agree there are overlaps. Perhaps more importantly, if the Republicans had nominated someone more like Rockefeller than like Nixon in 1968, we could have had an explosion in the streets all over America if Wallace had won (remember that he was getting a LOT of unexpected support from frustrated blue-collar Northerners and seriously worrying Nixon who feared Wallace would cost him the election), and an explosion in the South if Wallace had lost. A lot of Wallace voters could live with Nixon. They might have had a very different reaction if the 1968 victor had been a Democrat aligned with the more aggressive left wing of his party rather than a man like LBJ.
But then again, I’m watching that commercial through the eyes of someone who, when I see a police uniform, know that our county’s largest city has a biracial police chief who is the son of a retired black American NCO and his German wife, and our second-largest city has a Hispanic police chief who is a Pentecostal Christian who moved out of LA and into the rural South because he wanted a more stable life for his family. We just don’t have the racial problems here that a lot of places have. If we did, neither of these men would have chosen to live here, and certainly neither would have become police chiefs.
Would I see that commercial differently if our local police forces had a history of racial problems? How about if our police forces were under attack by an anti-police city council?
Also, you correctly point out that the Civil War did not happen overnight. The Missouri Compromise led to Dred Scott, which radicalized many opponents of slavery into full-blown abolitionists, and I don’t think most Southerners really understood the degree of support in the North for the sentiments that led to the election of President Lincoln. Dred Scott turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the South.
(To avoid any question about my own position — on my my mother’s side, my family were not just anti-slavery but some had left the South and moved North over that issue, and I have an ancestor who was a Union Army POW in Andersonville. I have no tolerance for pro-slavery neo-Confederate nonsense.)
Could things blow sky high? Absolutely. I could imagine a situation in which a hard-left Democratic president, not someone like Bernie Sanders but someone much worse, got elected and actually started to advocate the nightmares that some in the fever swamps of the far right discuss today.
I just don’t see that happening under current political conditions.
Final point — my family is from a little village named Maurina in the Italian Alps, near Spormaggiore, which is near Trent. That part of Italy remained under Austrian control until the end of World War I. My ancestors were partisans of the Italian “Risorgimento,” or reunification, and when it failed in their area, they saw the handwriting on the wall, left for Argentina, and when that didn’t work out (short version — being mountain folk, they couldn’t handle the summer heat in the northern parts of Argentina) they moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to work in the iron and copper mines. At that point the UP was a howling wilderness, was barely settled, and family lore says my grandmother was the first white baby (i.e., not Native American) ever born in her community.
Hope I haven’t bored you too much. I know I’m not an Ozarkian, but I’ve lived in rural America for a long, long time, even before I moved to the South, and I simply don’t see the degree of support for organized civil war that I read about in some publications.
Maybe I’ll be surprised.
I think we both hope that America doesn’t come anywhere close to a real shooting war. That will end badly for all involved on all sides.