28Mind the Gap

Fear of immigrants. Racial differences. Culture wars. Political polarization. These issues appear to be what divides us. Pundits on both sides of the right-left divide proclaim, bemoan, and celebrate their favorite “fragmentation” thesis. To the left, we are polarized economically, with the rich getting richer and middle-class incomes stagnating. To the right, we are polarized culturally, with godless sybarites on the two coasts and God-fearing, respectable people in the heartland. Both see a yawning divide between two Americas, separated by irreconcilable differences. The even more toxic theory holds that America is shattering along deep fault lines into tiny worlds that occasionally touch but never mix.

But, as we have seen, ...

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