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polarization



  • Seeing Through America's "Crisis Industrial Complex"

    by Nikhil Pal Singh

    While the elite media class indulges in lurid fantasies of an armed breakup of the nation, those who live precarious or impoverished lives find themselves already enmeshed in a civil war; the real red/blue conflict is about who will control the infrastructure of repression built up over the last half century.



  • Historians Disagree with Alito: Roe Didn't Create Polarization

    by Adam Serwer

    The idea that the 1973 Roe decision created polarized politics around the Supreme Court ignores the decades-long backlash to Brown v. Board of Education and other decisions of the Warren Court and the contested politics of abortion before Roe. 



  • Imagining Another Civil War is a Lost Cause (But That's Not Stopping People)

    by Richard Kreitner

    Journalist Stephen Marche presents scenarios under which the historical tensions among groups of Americans could openly rupture, but reviewer Richard Kreitner thinks some are unlikely, and don't grapple with the way that American institutions are implicated in the crisis of democracy.



  • Colin Powell's Funeral: A Missed Opportunity for Unity

    by Sarah J. Purcell

    Since George Washington's death in 1799, Americans have used the funerals of prominent leaders as occasions to temporarily escape growing factional and partisan division. 


  • A House Still Divided (Part 2)

    by Walter G. Moss

    There are signs that Americans can begin to resolve the fierce struggle underway about what kind of nation we will be. 


  • A House Still Divided (Part 1)

    by Walter G. Moss

    The core of our polarization is a disagreement about what kind of country we will be – one dominated by Christian white men or one, in Frederick Douglass's words, "of perfect civil equality to the people of all races and of all creeds, and to men of no creeds." 



  • There’s a Very Good Reason ‘Washington Slept Here’

    by Nathaniel Philbrick

    "Today the phrase 'Washington slept here' is a historical joke, but during the two years of intermittent travel at the beginning of his presidency, all those nights spent in taverns and homes across the country were essential to establishing an enduring Union."



  • Our Divisions Are Worse Than You Think

    by Jonathan Zimmerman

    American cable news has reverted to the partisan heyday of the 19th century press, making it difficult to argue issues from a shared basis in facts. The author suggests reading more and watching less. 


  • "Freedom of the Press in Small-Town America"

    by Robert W. Frizzell

    A review of HNN contributor Steven Hochstadt's new book of collected op-ed essays written between 2009 and 2018. The writings of a liberal Long Island Jew in a small-town midwestern newspaper offer a lens onto the question of the cultural divide in contemporary America. 


  • When Did America Stop Being Great?

    by Nick Bryant

    Nick Bryant began observing America as a 16 year old at the patriotic spectacle of the 1984 Olympics. His book traces the path from "Morning in America" to "American Carnage," fixing some blame but also seeking a way through. 



  • America's Churches are Now Polarized, Too

    The Trump era has concentrated longstanding differences about the role of faith in American life and the obligations of the faithful to act in the world. During the McCarthy era, the Republican establishment pushed back against attacks on clergy by the far right. Will something similar happen today? 



  • What Lincoln Understood About Unity

    by Harold Holzer

    "The fact is, even the most eloquent calls for harmony seldom repair a house divided — not without the accompaniment of painful but unavoidable choices about national policy and purpose."



  • When the Threat of Political Violence Is Real

    by Joanne B. Freeman

    Republican calls for unity refuse to claim responsibility and in some cases level the threat of further violence to bully colleagues out of holding Trump and his allies accountable for the Capitol riots of January 6. This is reminiscent of the climate of threat and violence in Congress in the 19th century ahead of the Civil War.