Over the past decade, politics have been a more prominent part of Americans’ lives than some may have ever thought it to be- especially because of the billboard-sized divide between Democrats and Republicans, leftists and rightists, Trump supporters and Biden supporters, and the list goes on.
Many have questioned where the divide actually stems from, flipping through textbook after textbook desperate for an answer.
“I truly think that the entire history of America has been this divide. It has been ‘let’s change things and make it better’ and ‘things are good now let’s leave it the way it is’. I think there is no one point where it started because that’s just the nature of America. When we chose to work in a two party system, that’s what we chose to do- to have a two-sided America,” Christian Sibel, a student activist at Perk Valley HS, says.
Multiple events, on top of this ideological divide, have created an atmosphere of violence, chaos, and uncertainty in these not-so-United States. From the plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, to the protests on both sides of the aisle, many believe a revolution or a civil war is imminent.
“The first ingredient to any revolution- and anyone who’s ever had me knows this- is unhappy people, and the second ingredient is violence, just like we saw on Saturday. When you have two different groups with two completely different agendas going to meet at the same spot, that’s usually a recipe for some time of problem,” Mr. Graham, a U.S. history teacher at the high school, said.
While this information can apply to history and politics in general, Graham is referring to Saturday, November 14th, when Trump supporters and members of white supremacy groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers protested the election in Freedom Plaza. Though armed, the protest was mostly peaceful until later that night when fights broke out between the protesters and counter-demonstrators.
Violence has also been documented through the plot to kidnap, torture, and execute Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, though it was stopped before action was taken.
On top of these two incidents, many acts of violence were documented throughout the summer at Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality. Some people, though many non-protestors, would light fires, smash windows, and steal from businesses. Counter-demonstrators would cause problems as well, such as Kyle Rittenhouse who shot people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Though media coverage and the recent cultural uprisings have increased many people’s awareness of violence, some believe a predicted revolution would be cultural, rather than physical.
“If we say that it’s [the divide] going to lead to a revolution, people will prepare for a revolution. I dont think it’s gonna lead to a physical revolution and I don’t think it should. I think we need to have a cultural revolution rather than a physical one,” Sibel adds.
Some credit the entire idea of revolution to President Donald Trump and his recent administration and others do not, but both sides tend to agree that the problems in our country were present before Trump became president.
“I don’t think I want to put it on any one administration. It reminds me a little bit of the end of the 19th century when politics tended to be more of a team that you’re on, less than a political organization…In the 1830s and again in the 1890s it’s [the political party system] more like a club and in some respects, I feel like there’s a degree of that now,” Graham says.
Whether exacerbated by Trump or not, the history of our nation is seemingly more and more of a reflection of the present, than a part of the past.
The future, however, holds the answer to the looming question of whether a revolution is going to happen in America and if so, what that revolution looks like.
“I really do think we’re at a crossroads right now and depending on how the next four to eight years go, I think that will determine what happens in the next 50-100 years,” Sibel says.
The increasingly common fear of revolution, civil war, and how the current political climate in the U.S. is defining our future are prevalent concerns in our nation. One thing to look to is the people in power and the people in our country.
“We don’t follow policy as much as we follow people,” Graham said.
It is people who will determine the future of America and how much it might look like the past.
Sources: washingtonpost.com, abc7chicago.com, bbc.com
Photo Source: politico.com