July 4 is here, and most Americans take the holiday to spend time with family and friends, enjoy a barbecue, watch fireworks and celebrate the history of the United States of America. The Continental Congress, predecessor to the U.S. Congress, declared independence from Great Britain on this date 242 years ago — though as History.com notes, the Founding Fathers did not actually sign the declaration until August 2.
Starting the very next year, 1777, the newly created United States of America began celebrating the country’s independence on July 4, and Americans have celebrated on that date every year since. But to at least one American this year, and to presumably some of his fans, July 4 is not so much a time to celebrate as a time to worry. Because just three days earlier, popular conspiracy theorist, radio host and social media personality Alex Jones took to his Twitter account to make a dire prediction for this year’s Independence Day.
“BREAKING,” Jones wrote, in a seemingly breathless tone. “Democrats Plan To Launch Civil War On July 4th.”
“Beginning 18 or 19 months ago,” Jones said in his radio broadcast, “establishment publications that don’t communicate with the general public but communicate with the government and corporate institutions began to develop a plan for a civil emergency, using civil unrest, racial strife in America to force Trump out.”
Twitter users responded almost immediately, starting on Monday with self-described “Resistance” activist Amanda Blount, who tweeted to her 39,000 followers.
My Dear John,— Amanda Blount (@amandablount2) July 2, 2018
The war isn't going as planned. Our supply trucks are limited. I'm out of wine and sunscreen. The enemy burned all the books and there is no place to recharge my Kindle. The only music is an old CD of Justin Bieber. - All is lost. #secondcivilwarletters
“My very dear Sarah,” the Union officer who would shortly be killed in battle, as HistoryNet records, wrote to his wife. “The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more…”
Twitter users, imagining what life would be like at the front lines of Jones’ fantasized “Democrats Civil War,” followed Blount’s lead and started an instant trend. And though professional writers and comedians, such as Patton Oswalt, added their contributions, the trend spread to other, non-famous Twitter users as well.
My beloved Harriet —— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) July 3, 2018
I write to you with a heavy heart. I was gravely memed during a skirmish with a squad of Incel Irregulars. Doc Tibbens says there’s nothing for it — he will have to amputate my Twitter feed.
Womp womp — Jed. #SecondCivilWarLetters
Dearest Mother: the Battle of Bowling Green is won. Our demands include submission to the entire 2016 DNC platform. It is with pride that I tell you our dream of taco trucks on every corner will soon become a reality.— Resist. Register. Vote. (@emigre80) July 3, 2018
Viva la revolution!
Nor was the trend confined to Democrats and liberals — with conservative Utah Senator Orrin Hatch penning a “letter” as well.
Dearest Elaine,— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) July 3, 2018
Please forgive my extended absence. I have been anxiously engaged in efforts to take ownership of the progressive factions, who have come to battle ill-prepared and armed with predictable stratagem.
We will be victorious.
One user identified the likely spark that set off the “second Civil War” — Hillary Clinton’s emails.
My dearest Gladys,— Bob Harry ????????????️???????????? (@BobHarryD) July 3, 2018
I saw a man lose his life today. His eyes looked past me, toward what I did not know. I kneeled at my fallen enemy.
“I could’ve been on your side,” he revealed between coughs. “But for her emails,” he said as he met his fate.
Dear Ma,— Be Best Bowling Green Victim (@TeamGulley) July 4, 2018
In preparing for tomorrow's battle, we spent the day using Hillary's emails to build our fortress. There is no doubt now that we will be victorious as no one can seem to get over them. Now we covfefe till morning.
Happy Second Civil War Eve!#secondcivilwarletters
Others had fun with the “Bowling Green Massacre,” the imaginary terrorist incident which Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway apparently invented and claimed to be true, according to The Washington Post, in February of 2017.
#SecondCivilWarLetters— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) July 4, 2018
My dearest betrothed,
It is the eve of battle here in Bowling Green. The enemy is so close we can smell their Old Spice and citronella tiki torches. We have awaited an anticipated attack for days but have only encountered mispelled tweets and dank memes.
A trend within the trend also developed, naming the enemy in the supposed Civil War as “the red hats,” presumably a reference to the red “Make America Great Again” hat popularized by Trump during he 2016 presidential election campaign.
My dearest Ben,— A.J. Bass (@AnjikoZ) July 4, 2018
I came across a wounded red hat today along the road. He begged for me to help him. I must admit, he was in such a piteous state I couldn't help myself. I gave him my remaining thoughts and prayers.
He died anyway.
Dear Mother,— Charlotte Clymer????️???? (@cmclymer) July 3, 2018
The Red Hats pinned us down until we were saved by the cavalry: women of color on horseback charging into battle.
Afterward, despite having no horses or expertise, some of the white males in our unit demanded to be in charge of the cavalry.#secondcivilwarletters
Dearest,— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) July 3, 2018
I am okay. I was almost captured by a curly hair blonde girl with an AR-15. But she was just taking selfies with the gun so I was able to escape.
#secondcivilwarletters— Nurit (@nuritgreenfinch) July 3, 2018
My Dearest Husband,
At long last, by the grace of God & a lucky Uber alone, our Hortons Battalion has reached our American comrades. We brought with us shoes & poutine. Morale has soared. Gen. Maddow and Captain Avenatti will be leading our charge at dawn
Colonel:— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 3, 2018
During the 3rd Battle of Charlottesville we captured enemy caches of citronella oil, Tiki torches, and Japanese pornography.
Also, Trumpistani leader Richard Spencer was captured as he attempted to escape into a local Walmart dressed as a woman.#secondcivilwarletters
Dearest Mother,— Charles Walsh (@cwalsh516) July 4, 2018
How I miss the cool dampness of my basement bedroom, the piping hot Pizza rolls you'd bring to me- the women here in the cities are very mean; how I wish you were here to tell me I am your big soldier boy. #SecondCivilWarLetters #SecondCivilWar #4thofJuly2018 pic.twitter.com/AC8LXBGp1Y
And one Twitter user imagined how a letter from Trump himself might read, as he holed up in the White House during the Second Civil War.
Ivanka,— Rebecca Jollotta (@RHJollotta) July 4, 2018
Despite my genius and stability, the losers and haters have infiltrated the White House. They have cut off my McDonald’s supply I have not had a spray tan in a fortnight. Send Jared to negotiate the peace process.
By noon on July 4, according to the Twitter-tracking site Trends24, #SecondCivilWar was the second-highest trend on Twitter across the United States.