That’s why our generation’s civil war is so hard to bring to a truce. There are so many fronts. There’s the battle between those who feel the American dream has slipped from their grasp and those who can easily pass it on to their kids. There’s the one between rural small-town Americans and “globalized” city slickers, who, the small-town folks are sure, look down upon them. There’s the fight between the white working-class Americans who feel that their identities are being lost in an increasingly minority-majority country and the Americans who embrace multiculturalism. And there’s the struggle between men who believe that their gender still confers certain powers and privileges and the women challenging that. There are so many fields of dispute.
And not only have we lost the buffers and cushions we once had, but a generation of leaders has come along, led by Donald Trump, who have made fueling our divisions their business model.
In essence, we’ve moved from “partisanship,” which still allowed for political compromises in the end, “to tribalism,” which does not, explained political scientist Norman Ornstein, co-author, with Thomas Mann, of the book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.” In a tribal world it’s rule or die, compromise is a sin, enemies must be crushed and power must be held at all costs.