Who Is to Blame for Political Violence in America?
A specter is haunting the United States—the specter of political violence. During the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, a mentally disturbed supporter of President Donald Trump was arrested on October 26 for sending pipe bombs to the addresses of prominent Democrats: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Eric Holder, John Brennan and Maxine Waters. Five days later, an agitated man carrying a “Trump is Satan” sign threatened to blow up a Republican Party office building in Traverse City, Michigan.
Gunshots were fired at a Republican Party office in Florida on October 29, the same day that actor James Cromwell told Variety magazine that there would be “blood in the streets” if Democrats did not stop President Trump.
Many Americans sense that this has been one of the most combative, even violent political climates in living memory. A Politico–Morning Consult poll conducted in late October found 58 percent of respondents consider political violence to be “widespread.” One third blamed President Trump for the violence, while another third blamed Democrats in Congress. Almost two thirds thought the media was responsible for dividing the country.
Since Democrats failed to win back the Senate during midterm elections, violence may well worsen as leftists intensify their protests against Republicans, who control the presidency, the Supreme Court and the Senate.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,” Hillary Clinton said on October 9. “I believe if we are fortunate enough to take back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
An apparently growing number of Democrats believe they should unshackle themselves from human decency in their quest for power. For decades, leftists have been able to vote progressive policies into law via the ballot box. When the people and their congressional representatives have opposed those policies, they have used executive actions and Supreme Court rulings to push their agenda into law. But after being out of power for two years, many leftists are turning to 1960s-style rioting and protesting.
One third of Americans think a civil war is coming. Bible prophecy reveals they are right. But is this civil war coming because Republicans outmaneuvered Democrats in an election? What is the real cause? It is deeper than most people realize.
Election exit polls show that 77 percent of Democrats support impeaching President Trump. The term “impeachment” is defined as “a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office” (Oxford English Dictionary). But impeachment does not remove an official from office. An impeached official must be convicted by a two-thirds vote in the Senate to be legally removed from office. This has never happened in American history. Now that Democrats have a slim majority in the House of Representatives, they have the power to impeach the president. But they control less than a majority of Senate seats, and would need 67 votes to convict the president.
Since they cannot convict, Democrats are wary of immediately pursuing impeachment. Instead, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi plans to sue President Trump for his tax returns and support special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government prior to the 2016 elections. Democrats are expected to block Mr. Trump’s legislative ambitions, scuttling his planned border wall with Mexico, his second major tax-cut package, and his trade policies.
Still, the biggest threat from America’s growing political divide is politically motivated violence. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to accuse President Trump of tax fraud or charge him for collusion with the Russian government. If this happens, then what would follow when Senate Republicans refuse to convict the president? If the Democrats’ reaction to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is a preview of things to come, left-wing protesters and activists may well riot.
Hillary Clinton said that civility could resume again when Democrats are back in power. Until then, the left will protest, riot, agitate, accuse, confront, scream, fight, kick and do whatever it takes to reclaim power.
The last time leftists resorted to these extreme tactics was in the 1960s and 1970s. During that era, the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground and other radical groups used terrorist tactics to fight the U.S. government. One presidential study pointed to a “crisis of violence” during the first 15 months of Richard Nixon’s presidency, a period that included some 41,000 bomb threats and bombings. Meanwhile, radicals threatened to assassinate the president and burn down the houses of members of his cabinet.
Things have not gotten that bad during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. Still, 1960s-style political violence has returned to America, and it is threatening to get much worse.
Violent Protests Prophesied
The late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his landmark book The United States and Britain in Prophecy that the Anglo-Saxon peoples who settled the United States and Britain are the descendants of ancient Israel. This astonishing truth means that all the Bible’s end-time prophecies concerning Israel are primarily directed at the United States and Britain. Understanding this little-known truth is key to understanding political violence in America.
Some 2,500 years ago, God revealed an end-time prophecy to a Jewish slave named Ezekiel, who was being held captive in the Land of Babylon. “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:1).
This prophecy is addressed to “the house of Israel.” It was not delivered to Israel in Ezekiel’s day, because 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel were already in captivity in Assyria (while Ezekiel was in Babylon). Yet God had Ezekiel write down His message to Israel, foretelling of a future time when famine and war would devastate the cities of a rebellious Israelite nation.
“Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness; And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord God of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 12:17-20).
This passage describes cities being laid waste “because of the violence of all them that dwell therein.” This is describing a civil war that escalates into a foreign invasion. In Ezekiel 5, God reveals that one third of the nation’s population will die from the pestilence, famine and violence that result from the civil war.
“The pestilence, or plague of violence, will cause many health problems that lead to famine,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet. “Sewage disposal will be disrupted. Gas lines will be broken. Jobs will be lost. Society will unravel and the collective panic will bring a stock market disaster! It will get so bad that violence and famine will take millions of lives!”
Such devastation has never occurred in an Israelite nation from the time of Ezekiel until now. This is an end-time prophecy about the United States.
It is easy for Democrats to blame political violence on President Trump, and it is easy for Republicans to blame leftist agitators in the streets. But the root cause of political violence in America stretches back decades.
The ideological conflict between Republicans and Democrats decreased after the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865. It continued narrowing—until the 1960s. That was when the cultural revolution struck America. As a result, the ideological conflict began increasing again. Today, direct opposition between America’s two political parties is wider than at any point in the past 150 years.
The leaders of the modern Democratic Party were student radicals in the 1960s. And their ideological grandchildren—and in some cases their literal grandchildren—are the supporters of radical socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
Inspired by the writings of Communist philosophers like Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse, these radicals believe that utopia can happen only after an economic revolution. And economic revolution can happen only after a cultural revolution. So in addition to advocating socialist economic reforms, they have revolutionized views on sex, gender and race. Many of these student radicals flooded into two professions in particular: community organizing and academia. They accused America’s system of individual liberty and constitutional checks and balances of being a mask for the power of wealthy, white European males.
The first generation in American history that could afford college education en masse learned in lecture halls dominated by socialists. These students were taught that traditional American principles like personal responsibility, individual liberty, free markets and limited government were racist and elitist. They were taught that the only way to create utopia on Earth was through democratic socialism. College students of the 1960s and 1970s absorbed these views not just because of youthful rebellion, but because they were specifically, explicitly targeted by socialists. This was a major step in revolutionizing American culture.
The ideological clash in America today is largely between the older generation and the younger generation. But how did this happen? How did a generation of Americans come to so radically reject their parents’ values?
A New Generation
God delivered a sober warning to America’s Israelite ancestors about teaching His laws to their children.
“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. … Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:1, 9-10).
Americans do not reverence and obey God’s Ten Commandments as they once did, and they have failed to teach their children about their nation’s history with God. A usa Today poll found that only 1 in 6 Americans can even list the Ten Commandments. Adultery, fornication, divorce and other sins have destroyed families and created a generation that has lost faith in God. This generation is more likely to look to the federal government to give them their daily bread. The religious crisis America is suffering has created a spiritual vacuum that people are striving to fill with material pleasures and false ideas. Some turn to socialism and worship the state. Others turn to individualism and worship themselves. But the end result of this spiritual crisis will be social division, unrest and even violence as Americans clash with each other.
Mr. Armstrong warned that godless rationalism was behind the political violence of the 1960s. “The world crisis had already started prior to World War i,” he wrote on Nov. 24, 1967. “Only most of the peoples of the world were not yet aware of it. But men like Karl Marx and Nikolai Lenin knew. This world crisis resulted from the impact of science and technology—and the injection of godless ‘German rationalism’ into education. World wars are the military expression of that crisis. Worldwide depressions are the economic expression. The so-called ‘New Morality’ is the moral expression—plummeting morals into the cesspool. Universal desperation is the spiritual expression. This has spawned the beatniks and the hippies—the riots—the marches—the ‘civil disobedience’—the breakdown of law and order” (Plain Truth subscriber letter).
Now many of the student radicals who caused so much violence in the 1960s have won control of the Democratic Party. They are pushing the nation into not only a cultural revolution or economic revolution, but into a violent revolution. This never would have happened if people had clung to God’s law and taught their children to do the same.
Civil war is coming to America, not because one political party outmaneuvered another, but because the American people have turned away from God.
“Many Americans are troubled by the divisions and hatreds being expressed right now,” Gerald Flurry wrote in the January 2017 Trumpet. “But they need to be a lot more concerned than they are! The problems are going to get worse and worse until people get the message, and they learn why these disasters are happening! Donald Trump’s win is a prophetic sign of impending civil war and anarchy, followed by America’s worst military defeat ever! But don’t blame the politicians or the race-baiters or the professional rioters. This situation exists in America only because of the sins of the nation—of all Americans! We can no longer ignore what we have reaped by giving ourselves over to sin. This is a reckoning!”
Yet the good news is that the coming violence in America’s cities will lead people to come to know God (Ezekiel 12:17-20).
God will allow the people of America to experience a second civil war for the same reason He allowed them to experience the first Civil War: to teach them the natural consequences of broken law. It will take real repentance to bring people back to God and end the “total crisis” that has gripped the nation. Only after people learn this vital lesson will God be able to finally teach all nations the way to true peace, joy and prosperity.