“Dearest family.” “Dear Ma.” “My brothers and sisters.”
On July Fourth, Twitter lit up with 19th-century style letters beginning with salutations like these after a conspiracy theorist’s outlandish prediction of a second American Civil War became fodder for jokes across the political spectrum.
#SecondCivilWar began trending after radio host and Infowars founder Alex Jones proposed an outlandish conspiracy theory — that Democrats were planning to begin a “second Civil War” on the Fourth of July.
You may have noticed that a second Civil War is not currently raging. But Twitter users did what they do best and turned it into a meme.
It started with Alex Jones’s latest conspiracy theory
Gearing up for celebrations during his July 1 broadcast, Alex Jones told radio-listeners that Democrats were gearing up for a second Civil War on July Fourth. Jones tweeted “BREAKING: Democrats Plan To Launch Civil War On July 4th” while broadcasting live.
BREAKING: Democrats Plan To Launch Civil War On July 4th https://t.co/38AWiUFaag— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) July 1, 2018
Jones, who has previously said that 9/11 was an inside job, Obama was “the global head of al-Qaeda” and that the shooting at Sandy Hook was staged. On Sunday, July 1, he elaborated on his eponymous show that Democrats were teaming up with George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor who is hated by the far-right, and anti-fascist protesters to declare war on the right.
“Elite publications,” Jones said, were calling for a “civil emergency” and encouraging the public to rise up using “racial strife” to take down President Trump. Their time to attack would be the American Independence Day.
“This is it,” Jones told the 820,000 viewers that tuned into the broadcast. “The globalists see July Fourth as their new D-Day against us, and a lot of stuff is going to start then.”
A meme is born
Jones’s theories often have far-reaching consequences —“pizzagate,” a claim that a child-sex ring is operating out of a DC pizza shop — led to a gunman visiting the restaurant with an assault rifle and firing at least one shot. Luckily no one was injured.
But #SecondCIvilWar became fodder for something more lighthearted on Twitter, where users are writing their concerns over the war’s outcome and updates from the virtual-battlefield under #SecondCivilWar.
Am I the only one who assumes the first shot will be fired at the Battle of Bowling Green? #SecondCivilWar— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) July 4, 2018
“Am I the only one who assumes the first shot will be fired at the Battle of Bowling Green?” television writer Bryan Behar joked. Behar was referencing the fake “Bowling Green massacre” made-up by Trump’s notorious adviser, Kellyanne Conway.
12:31 pm— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) July 4, 2018
We've taken Hobby Lobby but none of us knows what to do with it. #SecondCivilWar
“We’ve taken Hobby Lobby,” one user tweeted. “but none of us knows what to do with it.”
I fear if we don’t win this, the future of the word “you’re” is at stake. #SecondCivilWar— andy lassner (@andylassner) July 4, 2018
Andy Lassner, executive producer of The Ellen Show, feared “if we don’t win this, the future of the word “you’re” is at stake.”
The ability of the MSM to hide the carnage and destruction of the #SecondCivilWar has been greater than anyone could have predicted.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 5, 2018
Both liberal and conservative commentators joined in: LA Times columnist Jonah Goldberg tweeted that the mainstream media was hiding “the carnage and destruction” in a way “greater than anyone could have predicted.”
Users also wrote up some chuckle-worthy letters from the battlefield accompanied by #SecondCivilWarLetters, inspired by the letters that served as narration for Ken Burns’s 1990 documentary The Civil War.
Dearest,— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) July 4, 2018
I apologize for my late response. I was detained fighting an army of trolls who demand civility—but mock my "PC" objection to being called sand ni**er
It seems their primitive dictionaries exempt the word hypocrisy
My brothers and sisters:— Louis Morgan (@MasterMorgan317) July 4, 2018
I regretfully report that I will not be able to make it to the battlefield for the #SecondCivilWar. I was drafting battle plans in a Starbucks when I was arrested for not buying anything. You must stay strong in my absence. #secondcivilwarletters
Twitter-user Louis Morgan said that he was absent from “the battlefield” because he was arrested “for not buying anything” anything in a Starbucks. “You must stay strong in my absence,” Morgan signed off.
My Dearest,— Emily Brandwin (@CIAspygirl) July 4, 2018
Sad news from the front. Food’s sparse & troops are forced to share avocado toast. Sadly, I’ve been wounded. I drank real milk in my latte instead of soy & have been afflicted with Lactose Intolerosis. I will persevere.
In love & resistance-#SecondCivilWarletters
Dearest,— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) July 4, 2018
Well after a long battle I think we won. We were able to capture many MAGAs in the basement of a pizzeria that doesn’t have a basement.
I will be home for dinner.
“Well after a long battle I think we won,” said comedian Tony Posnanski, who managed to combine two Jones conspiracy theories into a single tweet: “We were able to capture many MAGAs in the basement of a pizzeria that doesn’t have a basement. I will be home for dinner.”
My dearest,— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) July 5, 2018
It’s been almost 24 hours since we have started the #secondcivilwar. We have built our defense along the border full of Hillary’s emails because we know they cannot get over them.
Please send more hummus. Love to baby Lola and Rocco. #Secondcivilwarletters
The meme’s popularity was solidified when model Chrissy Teigen, who is massively popular on the social network, made mention of the war.
I have to go to Ralph’s then need to shower but I can shower after the war I guess— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 4, 2018
Just in case you’re confused, July 4 went smoothly and Democrats did not launch a second Civil War. American politics might be polarized and divided with two sides bitterly angry at each other. But we’re far from the 21st-century equivalent of shots fired at Fort Sumter.