Old but Gold: A Review of The It Could Happen Here Podcast Series
By Saul O’Donovan
It Could Happen Here is a podcast series hosted by conflict journalist Robert Evans which discusses the plausibility of a second civil war in the US. Released in the spring of 2019, it is a *little* dated but still relevant and offers clear advice on how we can stop our current situation here in America from spiraling out of control.
Evans has covered the wars in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria. He is also a colleague of Popular Front’s Jake Hanrahan, who I know a lot of you like. I’ve been a regular listener of Evans over the past year and a half and I think a lot of you will enjoy his work. In addition to It Could Happen Here, I enjoyed his series called The Womens’ War which is mostly about the female fighters of the YPJ in Rojava. I also listen to his twice-a-week show Behind the Bastards, where he explains the lesser known backstories of dictators, terrorists, and other miscreants. He may be a bit woke for some, sometimes he is even for me, given that I’m the son of a retired cop. But he’s fair; he doesn’t misrepresent the other side and backs his claims up with evidence.
Anyway, let’s get into the series now that our host is introduced. Evans walks you through how a second American Civil War would be plausible using historical examples, facts, and anecdotes from his own conflict journalism escapades. Each of the nine episodes is often introduced by your point of view as an average person experiencing the war, then he expands into the broader factors contributing to how you “found” yourself there.
The first episode discusses how Evans began seriously considering the possibility of a civil war after the 2016 election and began consulting with experts who he learned were also concerned. The series then takes a tour of all the areas in which the US is vulnerable. Basically, the US would not divide into two sides as we did during the first civil war. It would slowly spiral out of control into a free for all between countless factions, as it did in Syria. The United States would then balkanize into separate countries following the fighting, genocide, and global famine.
The series isn’t a panicky Twitter “doom scroll” in audio form. Perhaps the most valuable episodes are the ones where he outlines how we can steer this truck away from the chasm. One example you’ll hear is how many leftists are scared of the right and are buying guns and talking about them with their conservative friends. This is one of many great opportunities to find common ground and reestablish trust. The right wing libertarian from the mountains and the city kid marching with Antifa have more in common with each other than the hyperwealthy who filled their communities with opioids and slashed their wages. Or told them COVID wasn’t a big deal while selling their stock shares. Moving on!
I thought putting this out around the turn of 2021 might be a good way to help lower the collective American temperature after such a tumultuous year. Many of you reading this are combat veterans of the GWOT. Let’s remember we came together as a community because we have a shared terrible experience. Some of us struggle with the moral injury from our involvement in an unnecessary war that hurt so many people for no benefit. Perhaps that can help explain all the veteran subculture stuff. It is an attempt to extract some kind of meaning from an otherwise dark and destructive experience. But something we’ve gained from this “god awful shitty mess” as Sergeant Horvath from Saving Private Ryan would put it, is the blood, sweat and tears equity we have in our democratic experiment. Our leaders were dead wrong in getting us involved in the forever war(s), but now we know we have skin in the game if nothing else.
We live in a republic. That means having to live with people who piss you off. Let’s put the beefs on hold, check our identities at the door and engage in good faith discussions. I’m not saying break bread with unapologetic white supremacists as there should be no compromising on human dignity. But we have to open up lines of communication with the people we don’t like on how we can move forward in a positive way. Like many of you, I vividly remember having to man a 240 at 2 o’clock in the morning in the stifling heat while living off of nothing but cigarettes, peanut butter packets, and hot bottled water. Let’s opt for something more constructive next year.
See you all in 2021!
Written By BAA BAA BLACK CAT
December 28, 2020