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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Second Civil War

An end-of-year satire.

Washington,,D.c.,|,U.s.a.,-,Jan,6th,,2021:,Trump,Initiated
Credit: Johny Silvercloud

The signs of a Second Civil War were all there. Rachel Maddow devoted a whole segment to explaining that Supreme Court decisions were so out of touch that rule of law itself would end if Democrats were not chosen to fill future vacancies. Meanwhile, online chatter about “civil war” spiked dramatically after an announcement about raiding Mar-a-Lago—by “nearly 3,000 percent” according to the New York Times. The Times further led the way with a long column devoted to Velma from Scooby-Doo—the completely fictional cartoon character with the orange sweater—coming out as a lesbian, a sure sign things were going to hell.

The “newspaper” (so called because it once contained news and was published on actual paper) columnists at the New York Times and Washington Post, now commissars at the Ministry of Truth, tried hard enough to appear current. Their statues now line the National Mall, and school kids know their names: Krugman, Brooks, Bruni, and Boot. All died in the White Guilt Plague of 2026, which also wiped out most of California before its origin was traced back to gain-of-function experiments by Chinese exchange students on the Oberlin campus and measures were taken.

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History shows that it was over before it began, but, at the time, no one knew how things would turn out. The Maddow Division—General Maddow, her face in relief, wearing a black beret over shaggy hair, adorns a million freshman t-shirts and dorm room posters—left its home base in New York City on Citibikes, striking south.

The advance was delayed when the second wave’s Ubers did not arrive on time and the black helicopters never showed up, but the division's clever use of weaponized sarcasm, backed up by relentless TikTok dancing, caused Tr*mp supporters (while we acknowledge the name is banned, for historical clarity we use here the term Tr*mp rather than “the T word”) to quit the field in droves and return to their RVs. It also turned out wearing bright red MAGA hats made for relatively easy targeting. Many of Maddow’s troops perished from being deeply offended as the MAGA line displayed photos from old movies of white actors playing Asian roles.

Prime Minister Pete Buttigieg discovered the secret Fox News transmitter which had been broadcasting mind control instructions to MAGA forces. With the transmitter knocked out, the conservative forces collapsed. The images of conservative children forced to eat vegan soy products when their regular processed food supplies ran out haunt even the toughest Resistance fighters to this day. Thoughts and prayers.

But those images of children are nothing compared with the nightmare unleashed when freelancing SNL cast members liberated the Obama-era—er, Tr*mp-era—er, Biden-era Kids ’N Kages camps along what used to be America's southern border, the region known today as “Newer New Mexico.” After being fed only Taco Bell products in what was assumed to be a failed, mistaken humanitarian gesture by the Venezuelan Red Cross, the migrant children were each awarded American citizenship.

Conservatives’ last stand took place, appropriately, on the steps of the Supreme Court. Just before losing power, the final conservative government expanded the bench to 78 judges, all cloned from the last available saliva sample from Roy Cohn, which Tr*mp kept in a vial around his neck. No monument marks their final battle to preserve freedom, and no plaque records their final words (for the record, “lower capital gains taxes”).

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Once a year, under the watchful eyes of the Chelsea Handler Youth Brigades, a few old White men are allowed to leave Facebook and go outside to observe a minute of silence in honor of their fallen comrades. A small coven of Republicans is rumored to exist in the jungle. Occasional broadcasts have been monitored—typically scraps of argument between libertarians and conservatives over the value of military foreign intervention.

Events moved quickly once fighting ended; although everyone was still angry, life went on. Reparations money was mostly squandered on timeshare condos. The subsequent collapse of the National Bank of Venmo could not be prevented once it was revealed the app really did cheat the person who just had a salad when dividing up a check. Microsoft went bankrupt when Windows 27 proved so bulky it required the user to have a second computer. The creation of two Internets, one for porn and one no one uses, proved popular. The end of elections saved the nation trillions; the presidency now changes hands via serial impeachment.

The musical Biden, translated from the original Ukrainian, replaced Hamilton on Broadway, despite the controversial Obama nude scene. America’s largest industry is creating Patreon accounts; Etsy devolved largely into a market for the wealthy to purchase human organs. The U.S. government is currently looking for a new location for the Capitol building; since moving the government out of Washington to Brooklyn, rents have really gone up.

Most important decisions are still made by the heads of the intel agencies when they meet secretly at Jeff Bezos’s house. And American troops are back in Afghanistan. Even after a second civil war, some things don't change.