The talk about an impending civil war in the U.S. is very confusing. How will one choose sides and identify “the enemy?” Will it be “left” against “right?” If so, how far left against how far right? Dems against Republicans? Family members against family members? Neighbor against neighbor? Co-worker against co-worker? Whose side will centrists be on? Will it be a racial civil war? If so, between which races, and how pure must one’s racial background be to choose a side?

Of course, a race war is the idea of white supremacists who, to put it mildly, are insecure, pathological idiots. Will it be a war in which those learned constitutional scholars of the various militias fight anyone who proposes modest, common-sense gun control? Or will the civil war be between the richest 0.1% and the bottom 90%? Each side in that war would possess approximately the same amount of wealth.

Civil war may be preposterous, but there is a class war underway, in which racism, divisiveness, and voter suppression serve a small minority who exploit the vast majority of working people. This struggle is about top versus bottom, not about left versus right, and not about one race versus another. Overcoming our massive inequality is key to rescuing our democracy and preventing an authoritarian future.

Recently, we saw our generals and other military leaders forced to choose between supporting the president or supporting the Constitution. Luckily, they chose the Constitution. But that is the sort of thing that takes place in a banana republic, and it was terrifying to see our own banana Republicans push this fragile democracy so close to the brink.

David A. Sorensen