Ben Shapiro writes elegantly on a subject that has been on my mind as well: America’s descent into tribalism.

Unlike most in media, Shapiro recognizes that tribalism isn’t a brand-new threat to America. He shows that it was always a menace, one that the founders kept at bay with checks and balances, but which erupted from time to time. This eruption, he fears, is different.

A snippet:

The unrest of the 1960s and 1970s provoked a law-and-order backlash — a desire for a government that would tamp down the unrest and restore order. For three decades, Americans rejected tribalism as a mode of politics (Ronald Reagan believed in universal human freedoms, and Bill Clinton famously rejected Sister Souljah’s race-baiting). Not surprisingly, the rejection of 1960s tribalism ushered in an era of smaller government dedicated toward the proposition that constitutional checks and balances were the best protection against tyranny.

And then came the Obama presidency.

President Obama’s tribal politics have crippled America. Americans hoped that Obama — after campaigning on the notion that he would provide the capstone to America’s non-tribalism — would heal our wounds and move our country beyond racial politics. He, in his own persona, was to be a racial unifier. He represented the hope that America could reject tribalism in favor of American universalism. Instead, Obama has rejected checks and balances as a matter of principle, and has used tribalism to grow his own power. …

Donald Trump is the counter-reaction. But he is not a Reaganesque or even Bill Clinton-esque counter-reaction. He, like Obama, is tribal.

I wrote a few weeks ago:

I yearn for a rejection of the illegitimate path cut by our current chief executive with his abuses of power and his deeply felt resentments against constitutional checks and balances. They were put in place by circumspect men with philosophical appreciation for liberty and, not to be overlooked, a well-earned fear of giving any one person too much power over others. I have long worried what the next chief executive, regardless of party, would do with this expanse of illegitimately seized power, even as his rabble gleefully thumped their chests over their leader’s gains.

Shapiro has a revealed preference against such tribalism, as evidenced by his resignation from Breitbart, poorly received. His conclusion in this column was bleak.

My feeling is not much different (I referenced Kibroth Hattaavah, after all). My wish: “May this American experiment in tribalism, incivility, and the rule of the chieftain over the rule of law be short.”

But such pessimism is feeling, not fact. If enough people share this worry, we may rediscover — we may rekindle — America’s unifying principles. We would recognize we all share similar goals, though we disagree greatly on how best to achieve them.

For that reason, I hope in this North Carolina experiment to show that liberals and conservatives may break bread together and discourse civilly about the challenges of the day.

Breaking bread together creates a bond — friendship — where there once wasn’t. We can [re]build on that.