More than just a movie

Published March 28, 2024

By Cash Michaels

There is a new major motion picture scheduled for general release in April titled “Civil War,” and it’s been causing a lot of controversy and interesting buzz of late.

The fact that people don’t know exactly what to make of a movie that depicts Americans in the very near future brandishing weapons against one another in armed, bloody conflict, may be a good thing.

Or maybe not.

Since I haven’t seen the film yet (only read reviews and watched the trailers), I’m not going to try to tell the story here.

But given our current precarious political situation in this country, my gut tells me that the last thing we need to see is a movie serving as a flaming match to an already sweating case of dynamite. Even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the 2024 election cycle could be a “key event for possible violence.”

Let’s be real - the air has crackled with imminent violence in this country even before Timothy McVeigh tragically blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City 29 years ago. We’ve been rhetorically at each other’s throats since then, with Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of conservative talk radio leading the way, further ripping the delicate social and civil fabric that keeps America united, and a cut above other troubled nations.

“We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe…”writes political scientist Barbara F. Walter in her book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them,” one of many volumes about this subject in recent years. 

One piece of obvious evidence is we’re a country that has more guns than citizens, and we’re frightfully proud of it. Every time there’s news of another mass shooting, it brings us one day closer to the ugly reality that this will soon become a socially accepted form of expressing frustration with the status quo, if not with each other. It’s bad enough that we seem not to be shocked by news of these disturbing massacres anymore.

Anytime the politics in our nation don’t go the way some people would like, they start loading up on weapons and ammo. Remember when President Obama was first elected? More guns were sold then than at any other time (except in 2020 at the start of the pandemic), just because a Black man and his family were elected to move into the White House.

Go on social media, and visit the websites of white supremacist militia groups. You’d swear the long prophesied-to-come race war we’ve heard so much about was scheduled to begin next week. And some of these same deranged folks are none too thrilled about the predicted browning of America either.

Let’s not forget some of the screws-loose MAGA politicians Republicans have been voting for to take over this country.

Take Michele Morrow, the piece of work who won the GOP primary to become the NC superintendent of Public Instruction nominee. According to CNN, a deep dive into Morrow’s past social media history allegedly shows in 2020 she “…expressed support for the televised execution of former President Barack Obama and suggested killing then President-elect Joe Biden.”

She allegedly wanted Obama put before a firing squad on pay-per-view, just for being a liberal!

Apparently the Secret Service was off playing golf when this twisted nutcase was “expressing support” for this crazy madness. Why hasn’t she been picked up?

 Morrow, in other allegedly outrageous but dangerous remarks on social media between 2019 and 2021, “…made disturbing suggestions about executing prominent Democrats for treason, including Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other prominent people such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.”

And what else did CNN find out about this devout married “christian” mother of five during this period?

She allegedly believed in “Death to ALL traitors.”

This woman is now campaigning to become our next elected NC official in charge of our state public school system. Think she’s ready to help little Johnny and Joannie learn their ABCs?

And just so that you don’t think I’m picking solely on Michele  Morrow, I’ve lost count of the number of itchin-for-a-fight folks I’ve seen running for public office holding a long gun in their television campaign ads like Davy Crockett, simply to assure their voters that their gun rights will be protected if elected.

I’ll never forget a right-wing Black minister I interviewed at the NC Republican State Convention over a decade ago who was so certain that Obama was coming after his guns, he was stockpiling them to prepare for the “final showdown” with the feds he was sure were coming his way.

Yeah, we’re headed for something bad in this nation, alright. I can feel it.

Common sense and decency seem to have gone out the window. People don’t restrict what they say anymore, or how they say it. They’re not worried about the immense damage being done.

Can’t leave out Mark Robinson, the bigoted Republican culture warrior running to become our next NC governor, who is a master of dehumanizing verbiage. The guy is so toxic, even Connecticut is making a play for North Carolina businesses to move there in case he gets elected.

But there’s more.

"Spoiled, angry, know it all CHILDREN are trying to tell law abiding ADULTS that we must give up our Constitutional RIGHT to own certain weapons," “AR-15 rifle”-loving Robinson wrote in an outrageous, twisted 2018 Facebook posting about the high school student survivors of the mass shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida that year.

Oh, but have you heard the latest? Now we’re actually convicting hate-filled MAGA parents for giving the guns to their children they used in mass shootings. Too little, too late, if you ask me.

Let’s not forget those radical “christian” extremists who will plant a bomb or attack a synagogue just because their “god” told them to.

And when you have Hitler-loving Donald “dictator” Trump promising a “bloodbath for this country” against opponents “who are not people” if he’s not elected this fall, or openly calling the criminals convicted and jailed for their involvement in the infamous Jan. 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection “hostages” and “patriots,”and promising to free them all if he is re-elected, you have a dangerous MAGA brew that should have us all buying plane tickets to Sweden.

Now are there moderate-to-left leaning politicians, talk radio and podcast hosts, television pundits, newspaper and online columnists, college professors and protest groups on the other side of this civil war coin? Yes there are, and thus far, I haven’t heard anything from any of them that comes close to the madness I’m constantly hearing from the right-wing, thank GOD. But we better wake up!

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele recently said, the real conflict is going to boil down to “extremism versus freedom, ” with power the ultimate goal.

So this movie, “Civil War,” is not exactly what we need to see right now in our culture or politics. It has the capacity of justifying to the wickedly mentality ill among us that governing at the barrel of a gun is the only future America has. It’s bad enough that a significant percentage of Americans, according to some of the latest polls, believe that there’s something crooked with our election system.

Apparently that impression can be easily fixed if these same people could win a couple of elections they don’t deserve - ALL THE TIME!

Meanwhile, our young people don’t have a clue that stuff they could care less about (because they’re not paying attention), could very easily bite them on their collective butts, putting their once bright futures at peril!

We’re leaving our children a nation that’s fundamentality coming apart at the seams any day now.

No, while I have proudly made my life and living courtesy of the First Amendment and free speech for the duration of my long career, if someone burned every print of this movie “Civil War” tomorrow so that it can never be seen by anyone, you’d be hard pressed finding a handkerchief with my tears on it.

This film will pour gasoline on an already tense and combustible nation that is just itching to explode.

And that’s when the premise of this film, sadly, becomes more than just a movie.