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 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.
Nor was the trend confined to Democrats and liberals — with conservative Utah Senator Orrin Hatch penning a “letter” as well.
One user identified the likely spark that set off the “second Civil War” — Hillary Clinton’s emails.
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.
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.
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.
By noon on July 4, according to the Twitter-tracking site Trends24, #SecondCivilWar was the second-highest trend on Twitter across the United States.