Front and center, of course, is the issue of race, a constant in America since it decided to break away from the British Empire and to stand on its own 238 years ago. There is the tension over the militarization of local police, which has performed the amazing hat trick of uniting liberals, conservatives, and libertarians behind the notion that America has lost its damn mind. And finally, there is the trampling of the First Amendment when cops find that it is judicious and no one will care as long as the folks they are attacking are seen as worthless lawbreakers.
It’s cute to think of the United States as a nation that has its stuff together and doesn’t have to contend with the kind of fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip or the battles being waged in Iraq. No, Americans aren’t setting up IEDs and car bombs, or kidnapping hundreds of girls. But we are a nation at war with itself, and it plays out again and again when a Ferguson or a Bundy Ranch becomes a staple on cable news.