Collapse of American civil society?

There’s a danger in reading too much into one survey, but the numbers reported in one Boston Globe story serve as a stark reminder that American civil society is frayed.

According to the newspaper,

A nationwide tracking poll this month found that 58 percent of those surveyed said they’re stocking up on essential goods, up six points from the same poll last month. …

Even more alarming: 61 percent of those polled said they feared the country was on the verge of civil war.

Whether those fears and legitimate or fueled by irrational anxiety, people are doing more than buying more food.

More people have also been buying weapons.

As of the end of last month, the FBI had conducted 28.8 million background checks of gun buyers through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — more than any other full year on record and 41 percent more than through the same period last year.

I’ve no interest here in arguing about gun sales. However, how healthy can American society really be if millions of people are preparing should chaos be unleashed?

And anyone who thinks that the Nov. 3 election results will bring about a sense of calm over the land is simply wrong. America’s glaring sins relating to racism, income inequality, police brutality, corporate greed, public harassment, moral decay and more will continue; systematic change takes years, cooperation and lots of hard work.

There’s no reason to think this country is ready to make that commitment.

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