Travis Laurence Naught

A New Civil War

Travis Laurence Naught tries to name the nationwide sentiment that is brewing beneath the surface and wonders if a new civil war is on the horizon.


Dissent is the wrong word. It implies the majority of cries are in opposition to what is right. Dissent is counterproductive. Dissent is a few kids in the back of the class refusing to stop handing notes back and forth after they’ve been repeatedly told to stop.

Looking up thesaurus variants to try to find the right word presents several intriguing propositions: objection, protest, nonconformity, far cry … nope. “Resistance” is another option listed. Let’s pray no one actually has to go Kyle Reese on what is quickly turning into an out-of-control system.

The situation wanting for descriptive terminology is all around us. It has been growing all around us for quite some time. We are not unique in this situation. See so many countries around the world and their problems.

On second thought, stop looking around the world for comparison’s sake. That might lead a person to believe we can handle more problems without succumbing to one of the possible coming realities. Differences exist between us and say Israel, Sudan, and Northeast India, to name a few. Popular belief is that we do not have such division between our varied populations. But, those differences are getting louder.

Varying stances exist between the “most” important issues facing our nation. These stances have been born out of people with real gripes. Perceptions about being judged for the color of one’s skin, being kept from equal opportunities for loving the wrong person, or being bothered in the pursuit of amassing a personal arsenal, are all valid. They are each the “most” important issue in the lives of those who are experiencing them firsthand.

And it is our inability to deal with these different issues with respect that is most concerning. Don’t dare anyone to challenge the efficacy of someone else’s battle. They just might. In fact, they do every day. It does not matter what argument is being proffered, trolls are waiting to slobber all over reason. Messy arguments are the best arguments, at least that is the mindset reality TV has fostered among the masses.

Oh, the masses. Sitting at home, feeling simultaneously free and fearful, knowing they are right about absolutely everything. The next-door neighbor could not be on a different side of the political spectrum. That motherfucker is just waiting for an opening to advance some agenda to subvert funding from where it should be directed. They need to be taught a lesson.

Schools are no longer allowed to teach with a heavy-handed style. Evolution, to keep from referencing the contended ideas of fish to feline processes, has cycled repeatedly throughout human history. Sometimes the violent prosper. Sometimes the logical prosper. Rarely, both traits have held sway among the ruling class and dynasties have enjoyed extended periods of reign.

240 years is a long time for a span of dominance. Add into that the rapidity of technological advances experienced over the last century and age starts to feel even more relative. Accomplishments in that U.S. timeframe have been many, but so have struggles. It seems that there is no such thing as stability.

This is not a call for backing down, either. Very real oppressions are taking place. Where entire populations of individuals face vitriol, fear harm being levied against them, and have no vision of peace without first disrupting the system, there must be disruption. It’s just unfortunate the disruption is necessary.

Disruption was damn sure necessary in 1861. The reasons were varied, but the one that remains most reasonable today is found in the fact that writing like this can be encountered. It is not treasonous to posit caution in the direction of what to expect if martial law is enacted.

One possible outcome of the widespread discomforts being experienced is a new Civil War. This one will look different, for a time at least. It will look like vigilante militias being allowed to exist while poisoned folk in other parts of the country are unsure how to rise up in resistance. It will look like laws being enforced subjectively by police forces allowed to interpret similar situations perpetrated by different colored individuals without fearing repercussion. It will look like government offices refusing to serve their constituents. Bridges, airports, shopping centers, malt shops, buses; this story can only repeat itself so many times before somebody decides to advance the plot line.

And somebody will be blamed. Groups, full of individuals with unique mindsets, will be vilified. There will be no more sitting down and hashing out solutions. There will be chosen sides. It will be more hexagonical than divided rectangle. No one fence separating us this time, but a minefield of interpretation.

People are already protesting loudly. Voices amplified by loudspeakers over the radio, television, internet, calling for their unique causes to be moved to the front of the line. Well, fuck the front. There are 3.8 million square miles to fit 319 million citizens of the USA. Let’s find a space for everyone to get their equal needs. The consequences of not being able to figure out how are going to sound a little louder than angry speech.

This theoretical war won’t have typical lines of physical demarcation. It’s going to act more like an implosion. Zones of use, not unlike the districts in a popular series of teen novels, are not out of the question. Enough people who love one another will be peppered throughout each division that a cooperative government will still figure into the equation, but the branches are going to look a little different.

The new commander-in-chief is going to be less figurehead, more tightfisted. Ask democracies with more recent historic dictatorships, not a lot of dissension is tolerated. Once the trunk is more streamlined, those falling will encounter less opportunities to catch themselves before hitting the ground. Judges cannot forgive the illegitimately accused if the illegitimately accused are never allowed to present their case.

Bang. Just one word ain’t so damned loud, but oh how it sounds to be on the receiving end. Millions of ghosts of those who died the same way welcome new souls to their ranks every day. No bells needed, just a trigger to give you wings. Or a knife. Or a cold shoulder. Or a thousand feet trampling logic and aid out of the reach of those who just need a little bit of help.

Nobody knows who will eventually win. Right now, there’s still hope it won’t happen again.




Travis Laurence Naught

Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Individual poems, stories, and various other material by Travis have been published online (Section 8 Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, Damfino Press, and others) and in print (Gold Man Review, Lost Coast Review, Empirical Magazine, and more). His first book of poetry, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), is currently out of print, but copies can still be found. Check out for more information and original writing by Travis.

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