By and large, Americans are optimists. We see ourselves as a “can do” people who generally believe the future will be better than the past. But the fact that many Americans are having second thoughts about their society and its future is concerning.
What’s worrisome and not especially recognized is that many members of the political class — again, the pundits, journalists and scholars as well as elected officials, lobbyists and activists — have a vested interest in the status quo of division. Who they’re against defines who they are on both left and right. This protects elected officials against primary challenges by even greater ideological purists; it generates audiences and incomes for pundits; it makes activists feel morally superior. Who wants to give that up?