by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There is a profound lack of unity in America. In fact, let’s ask a key question: Is there a single significant cultural, political, social, or religious trend that is pulling Americans together more than it is pushing us apart?
The fragmentation of media, geographic separation, and the natural unwillingness to expose ourselves to unpleasant ideas means that many of us live in bubbles, where we not only don’t truly know those who disagree but we often can’t even truly understand the facts or arguments that inform their perspective.
The politicization of everything means that even sports broadcasts are increasingly tainted by political controversy, and the menu of television shows you watch is almost as predictive of your voting behavior as is the county where you live or the church you attend.
Intolerance of faith and ignorance of religion means that our first liberty — religious liberty — is typed with scare quotes, as if assertions of this fundamental freedom were somehow inherently bigoted and disingenuous. Political controversies are treated as battles between the forces of light and darkness rather than as what they typically are — contests between flawed people seeking many of the same goals.
Indeed, Americans often hate their political opponents so much that they’re willing to reflexively defend gadflies, conmen, and even thugs on their own side rather than concede an inch to their ideological foes.