Divided We Stand

Bill Schneider

Students sometimes ask, “Is this the most divided the U.S. has ever been?’’ I remind them that we did once have a civil war where three quarters of a million Americans died during that terrible time, most from disease or starvation. But I add, this is the most divided the U.S. has been since the Civil War. How did this happen? I trace the country’s political divide back to the 1960s, when divisions over values began to replace divisions over interests. Interests (like business versus labor) can be negotiated and compromised. Values (right versus wrong) cannot. Is there any way to resolve the division short of another civil war?

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