Pulitzer winner believes we are now fighting the Second American Civil War
National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

The second American Civil War has begun.

No official announced Trump's Civil War. That's the reason our major news organizations dance around the awful truth using obfuscating language.

But we don't need a press release to recognize that Donald Trump directed his white supremacist followers to attack another branch of our national government on Jan. 6—after years of undermining the judiciary and, in the executive branch, the intelligence, law enforcement and public health agencies.

Trump apologists will quarrel with the word "directed." Yes, Trump spoke, as he often does, out of four sides of his mouth when he said he would march with them to our Capitol where recordings show people shouting that they were invited by the president, that they were doing his will. It is the message the mob took that matters compounded by his video during the siege expressing his love for the insurrectionists.

That Trump will not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden should make you shudder. Without him on the outdoor platform rebels hellbent on overthrowing our government could assassinate Biden and Kamala Harris with no risk to their messianic and delusional leader.

We face danger from more than the lawless Trump mob that attacked our Capitol.

This is why police and National Guard will flood that zone on Jan. 20. And it explains why Biden and Harris insist on being sworn in outdoors, to signal that fear has no place in the land of the free and home of the brave.

And it's not just government buildings that now require extra protection from disloyal and self-righteous Americans who love Trump more than our Constitutional liberties. Mosques, synagogues and some churches, especially black churches, will be vulnerable to attack by those who want to make America white again, many of whom claim to be Christians but are in fact the embodiment of evil.

Trump's mob will not win this war. No matter what buildings they attack, what leaders they assassinate, they cannot win because there are not enough of them to destroy the United States of America in favor of a dictatorship under Trump, his children or anyone else.

Making America Endure

Eager and willing as Trump's army is to assassinate Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as Biden and Kamala Harris, our freedom and continuity of our government does not hinge on any individual. Our nation endures so long as we sustain a broad and deep commitment to the six noble purposes articulated in our Constitution's preamble especially the promise to perfect our union over time.

If you don't know those six purposes please click here and read the 52 words again and again until you memorize them. And take note as you do that riches are neither mentioned or hinted at in the Preamble, while liberty, the general welfare, and justice are along with their products—peace and tranquility.

Still, even though the outcome of Trump's Civil War is certain, his band of domestic terrorists can and already have imposed enormous and lasting damage on our society.

These true believers in Trumpian rule can dissuade many from peaceful and joyful mingling in houses of worship, government buildings, sports arenas and political venues. While Biden and Harris are brave, millions will hold back because of their rational fear of violent attack. Doubt that? How eager are you to visit on vacation or ride a bus in Jerusalem? Kabul? Baghdad?

Our nation's capital is an armed camp today. So are the downtowns of many of our state capitals. Law enforcement and the intelligence community sift through plots organized on the Internet in the hope of disrupting attacks before they occur. The police and soldiers are backups for the inevitable failures to prevent attacks.

Among the Attackers

We also need to recognize that we face danger from more than the lawless Trump mob that attacked our Capitol and have menaced our state capitols.

We now know that the insurgents attacking our Capitol included active-duty military and police officers. Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch lists were among the attackers, evidently not being watched at all closely. There are disturbing indications some members of Congress, Republicans all, may have helped the attackers scout the Capitol, pointing out hidden offices of Democratic Party leaders.

One Republican lawmaker openly encouraged rebellion. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, outfitted in camo, riled up the Trumpian mob before its attack. Another, Republican Lauren Boebert of Colorado, tweeted out the location of Speaker Pelosi while she was being hunted with plans, one of them texted, to put a bullet in her head on television. Think about what America would be like today had the insurgents assassinated Pence, Pelosi and others by firing squad or hanging them from the gallows they set up outside the Capitol.

Brooks and Boebert must be expelled from the House if their vile and disloyal actions are to have consequences. Failure to do this will only give succor to others tempted by traitorous opportunity.

Even more disturbing, some Democratic lawmakers say that on the day before our Capitol was sacked they observed a few of the most extreme Republicans giving guided tours to people who turned out to be insurgency leaders. Now, they worry that this was a scouting operation supported from within. The coming investigations will tell us the facts, especially if prosecutors are smart about leveraging those who gave such tours in return for lessening the severe sentences they deserve.

That we may have a Fifth Column in Congress immediately alarmed their unwitting collaborators from the dominant economic force in America, big corporations. From American Express and AT&T to Tyson Foods and United Parcel Service, many big companies stopped, at least for now, aiding and abetting these faithless enemies of our Constitution with campaign contributions.

We live in strange times when we need help from soulless corporations to defend our liberties. To be sure, they acted out of self-interest. Under a dictatorship, corporate directors and executives would be forced to bend to the will of an unelected and unaccountable autocrat who could eviscerate their privileges and plunder their wealth.

Disloyalty and oath-breaking by officials also marked the 1860s, when some representatives, senators and federal judges used their office to wage war on the United States. Until they were stopped. Texas lawyer Barbara Radnofsky tells some of this compellingly in her concise book A Citizen's Guide to Impeachment.

Our Noble Purpose

The costs of Trump's Army waging war on our government will drain resources from improving America, from perfecting our union.

To secure our safety, National Guard troops sleep on the cold marble floors of America's Capitol. Fences and walls will become ubiquitous, a twisted outgrowth of Trump's lie that he would build a wall, to fencing and other barriers, metal detectors and other protections against domestic terrorists.

Trump's Civil War did not begin with the murderous attack on our Capitol. It dates to at least August 2017 when his violent thugs marched in Charlottesville, Va., shouting Nazi slogans. "Jews will not replace us" and "blood and soil," they chanted while marching past a synagogue. The next day one of them drove his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer, the first fatality in Trump's Civil War.

What these rebels heard the next day, what instilled them with bravado, was not Trump's confusing comparison between anti-Semitic racists and the counter-demonstrators, but this line about themselves—"very fine people."

Don't make the mistake of thinking there is no Second Civil War just because all is peaceful where you are. Six days before rebels bombarded Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, The New York Times reported that an attack was imminent. But once the fighting began, there was no battle of Grand Rapids, no skirmish in Rochester, no siege in Cincinnati. In some states, such as Oregon, all regular Army were withdrawn and volunteers maintained military outposts and kept watch on Confederacy sympathizers.

That is how wars take place. People may be sipping espresso in sidewalk cafes or picnicking beside a stream while soldiers fire on one another within earshot.

As we prosecute this war on Trump's militias and half-organized renegade insurgents, we must give no quarter in terms of criminal prosecution, especially for seditious conspiracy and murder. Where they fire their arms we must respond with lethal force as the laws of war allow. But we must be better than the attackers.

We must take care not to give Trump's army a perverse victory by destroying the soul of America, by losing sight of our nation's great purpose. We must not descend into a militarized safety zone. Instead, we must build up the institutions we have damaged with decades of malign neglect—schools, colleges, public health, law enforcement as guardians instead of warriors, and the public furniture from parks to bridges that make life pleasant and commerce efficient. We must make our union more perfect through caring for our citizens, providing the tools for stable and prosperous lives and vigorous debate about the way we want to order our liberty.

We must keep in our hearts and our politics the fundamental purpose of our government—to ennoble the human spirit with liberty and fraternity so that our people can attain the best that our nature makes possible.