America is over two hundred years old now, but we face divisions the like of which we have not faced in many decades. We’d had a series of single party systems before that. First the Federalists believed in the unmatched power of the Federal government to rule and were soon defeated and utterly destroyed by Jefferson’s Republicans who believed in a less powerful Federal infrastructure. They were shattered in turn by Jackson’s Democrats who burst out of the Republican party and left its remains to burn on the political fires. They used their iron lock on the Federal institutions to return escaped slaves to their masters and sent the Indians west of the Mississippi. And then they began to fight amongst themselves over what political aims to push, opening the road for a little third party candidate under a new political party with an old name to sneak through a victory with only forty percent of the vote. The Democrats were so offended and outraged by the new President that they refused to accept him. They called for resistance and armed rebellion, and they attacked the American forts that refused to surrender in the areas they controlled. And so began America’s Civil War.

The one party system died in that Civil War, and never again would one party rule without any real opposition. Oh, the political fortunes of the Republican and Democrat Parties have waxed and waned over time, but in all but a few times there has always been a decently powerful power base on each side. The Democrats rebuilt their power using the methods and axioms of the Progressive and Socialist Left, demanding greater Federal power over all sectors of the economy and culture. The Republicans on the other hand transitioned from being a purely Anti-Slavery Party who sought to use the power of the Federal government to end that institution, to a party that supported less Federal power in a more Economically decentralized Right style of governance.

Economies rise and fall, just as political fortunes do, and the Republicans rode high in the twenties, only to fall in the thirties and forties. Then came a time of political balance as the culture went Left for a time, until the seventies when economic and cultural flames burned bright. We lurched Right as a country then, and our economy and self image rose in equal measure, only to fall again when our economy collapsed a mere two or three decades later. Then we lurched Left once more.

American politics have become a battleground where we are constantly pulled Left and Right over issues as complex as foreign policy or as simple as a right to live in a never ending, knock down drag out fight that will accept no compromise.

The Left wants to fundamentally transform the country because they think the sins of America outweigh our virtues. And they seek to drive out all who would oppose them in order to cleanse our nation of our poisonous past. The Right on the other hand believes that our nation’s virtues outweigh our sins, and would like to raise their children in something like the world they grew up in. So they fundamentally refuse to take one more step down any path the Left pushes.

Neither are willing to compromise on anything short of absolute victory or to compromise on any single issue for fear of weakening any part of their battle line. And those in the Middle who see good ideas on both sides are seen as traitors to both sides. That is why both the Left and the Right aim so much hatred and vitriol at the political Middle.

And like it or not, that is why Trump was elected. Middle America was sick of dealing with the candidates of both the Right and the Left. They didn’t accept the chosen Left candidate, and they wouldn’t accept those the Right pushed. So they used the more open Republican nomination process to champion ANYBODY who wasn’t establishment.

They didn’t back Trump because they liked him. They did it because he was at war with both the establishment Left and Right. And that is why both establishments are at war with Trump. They cannot allow him to be successful, because if he is, it will critically weaken both of their battle lines. And so they shun him. They fight him at every step, they label him illegitimate and unworthy. They call his supporters Deplorable or worse. They call for armed resistance.

One of the background ideas of Jack of Harts is that it did break down. We had what is generally called a Second Great Depression, but has other names as well. Some called it a Second Civil War, because in some ways it was. The country fractured into smaller polities like the Republics of California and Texas, or Dixie and New England. America survived in the end, in a way, but it was fundamentally different in many small and some large ways. When I first wrote Jack, I did not believe we would get better as a nation until we got much worse. And in the time since I first did so, I have seen things get worse. And as much I love the future of my Jack universe, I would really prefer that we not repeat the NEAR future I wrote out.

Because I wrote a future where both sides are so afraid of losing an inch in their political and cultural wars that they carpet-bombed anyone who dared to support someone they do not approve of…until the very fabric of our culture broke under the strain of it all. A social collapse like that is bad for everyone, and I don’t want to see it happen in any place where I happen to live. So I caution those who preach resistance and rebellion…on either the Left or the Right…We have lived for nearly two centuries without significant armed conflict in America. Please do not bring that streak to an end…