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By Terry Paulson, Townhall, 8/6/2018

When I first heard reports and saw Facebook posts calling for violence, it seemed a sensational fringe suffering from Trump derangement syndrome, but recent polls are showing that more and more leftists are seeing “civil war” as the only answer to save America. Trump is delivering on his promises to reverse President Obama’s leftist “transformation,” and the left hates him for it. Trump’s recent appointment of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and his threat to close down government if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall has just further stirred up the left’s hornet’s nest!

Demonstrations no longer seem to be enough. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her pro-Trump colleagues were thrown out by the owner of the Red Hen Restaurant in Virginia mid-meal. Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi was followed and harassed by a leftist mob as she and her husband left a movie theater after watching the Mister Rogers documentary stressing goodness and love for one’s neighbor. Antifa continues to call for violence against the right.

Outspoken Rep. Maxine Waters, chieftain of the Trump impeachment brigade, called for attacks on the Trump administration: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found that many voters fear that political violence is coming from opponents of the president. Nearly one-in-three think a civil war is next. Thirty-one percent (31%) of likely U.S. voters say it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years, with 11% saying it’s “Very Likely.” Sure, 59% consider a second civil war unlikely, but it doesn’t take many to create strategic attacks. More realistically, 59% of all voters are concerned that those opposed to President Trump’s policies will resort to violence, with 33% being “Very Concerned.

Thomas W. Chittum warns in “Civil War II:” “To understand the future, study the past. Throughout world history, all multi-ethnic empires have broken up, and almost always in cataclysmic violence. Therefore, the question is not if the multi-ethnic American Empire will shatter, but when and under what circumstances.”

America has had a way of proving academics wrong. Despite strong disapproval by many conservatives, there was no civil war during President Obama’s terms in office, and there will be no civil war now.

Certainly, there is a sharp divide in our country, and violence has broken out in small and tragic ways. It’s time for responsible citizens to stand for the right of dissent and against the use of violence as a way of handling that dissent.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is noted for advising that the answer to hate speech is not silence, but more speech. He wrote in his dissent in Gilbert v. Minnesota in 1920: “Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the nation than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.”

Don’t push. Don’t demean. Don’t assault. If you support President Trump contribute, vote in November, and campaign for the red wave that he will need to make progress on his campaign promises. If you are frustrated with his administration, do the same for the blue wave needed to make a change in Washington.

It takes courage and conviction of one’s democratic principles to stand against those in your own party who move beyond dissent to violence. Never forget to protect the rights of your opponents and to confront any on your side who promote violence. America matters; you matter. Make a difference for civility.