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America doesn’t want a civil war Ordinary people don't care for divisive fantasies

Americans aren't as divided as we appear. Credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Americans aren't as divided as we appear. Credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images


September 13, 2022   6 mins

In the story America tells about 9/11, the attack was a tragedy, but a tragedy that united the nation. “We were able to come together as a country at that terrible time; we put aside differences,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday, the 21st anniversary. “I wish we could find ways of doing that again.”

Like the rest of America’s ruling class, Clinton fears we are hopelessly divided, possibly forever. The media tends to agree. Books and op-eds are churned out, hyping everything from the “polarisation spiral” to predictions of a coming civil war. We are past the point of no return, pundits warn. Apparently even scholars of polarisation are polarised, according to the New York Times. As Tiffany Cross put it on her MSNBC show a few weeks ago: “People keep saying a civil war is coming. I would say a civil war is here. And I don’t mean to be hyperbolic.”

The trouble it is, it is hyperbolic. It’s true that our political and media elites, and those who run corporations and Big Tech companies, are increasingly partisan. But that’s because they have a lot to gain — in terms of money and power — from making Americans hate each other. Nevertheless, despite the billions and billions of dollars being spent trying to divide us, polarisation remains an elite phenomenon. When it comes to the fundamental values this nation was founded on, Americans are much more united than they are divided.

The evidence is everywhere. Last week, for instance, Gallup reported the latest approval rating for interracial marriage between black and white people. The polling company first started asking Americans about their feelings on the subject in 1958, when approval was an abysmal 4%. As of 2022, it stands at 94%, and there is almost no difference between white and non-white respondents. The regional difference has also evaporated. Southern Americans now approve of interracial marriage at the same rate as their eastern, Midwestern, and western neighbours. As recently as 1991, approval for interracial marriage in the south was at just 33%, compared to 54% in the east and 60% in the west. Today, those figures are 93%, 94%, and 97% respectively.

You could argue that people haven’t become less racist, but simply less willing to admit their racism to pollsters. But even that is a huge leap forward. 93% of Southern Americans want pollsters, and presumably also their neighbours, to believe that they have the same views as the liberals they probably mocked just 20 years ago. Racism has become socially taboo.

Something similar has happened with gay marriage. Approval among Republicans has absolutely soared in recent years — from 16% in 1995 to 55% last year, including 61% of young Republicans. Many believe that at least ten Senate Republicans will join the Democrats in enshrining the right to gay marriage into law. At a time of intense polarisation — when even baby formula divides the house — this is a major feat.

And then there’s abortion, an issue that the media and our politicians assume is hugely divisive. In fact, the vast majority of Americans agree on the major points. They oppose abortion bans and want it to be generally legal in the first trimester, and in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s health is threatened. On criminal justice, too, there is no longer a partisan divide. In recent years, Republicans have been at the forefront of criminal justice reform. Red states like Oklahoma, Georgia and Idaho have been quietly releasing prisoners and reforming their justice systems for the better part of a decade. Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch has consistently sided with liberal judges in criminal justice cases. And President Trump’s First Step Act released 5,000 black men from prison, although those men seem to be the only ones who took any notice.

Even when it comes to police brutality, Republicans have been becoming more vocal. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham announced he was seeking proposals to improve policing and combat “racial discrimination regarding the use of force”. Soon after, Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, introduced a police reform bill — which was later killed by Democrats.

Scott and Graham were joined by none other than the then-leader of the Republican Senate majority, Mitch McConnell, who told reporters in the wake of Floyd’s murder: “We are still wrestling with America’s original sin. It is perfectly clear we are a long way from the finish line.” And at a lunch for Republican senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas stood up and said: “Young Black men have a very different experience with law enforcement in this nation than white people, and that’s their impression and experience, and we need to be sensitive to that and do all we can to change it.”

Meanwhile, the most vocal Democrats on the subject are those who support progressive prosecutors and bail reform efforts — policies often billed as divisive. But they are not divisive; they are just wildly unpopular — like Republican efforts to ban abortion in all cases. Democrat and Republican Americans alike oppose these measures, especially now, amid a crime wave. Our elites want us to believe these issues divide Americans, but they simply don’t.

The Pew Research Center recently released a study that they claimed showed signs of “partisan hostility” growing. “Growing shares of both Republicans and Democrats say members of the other party are more immoral, dishonest, closed-minded than other Americans,” the study claimed to find. But the questions they asked respondents weren’t about members of the other party as much as they were about the parties themselves, or politicians: “Do you have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party?”; “How well do each of the following phrases describe the Republican or Democrat Party?”; “How much do you like or dislike Republican or Democrat political leaders who
” People aren’t turning on their fellow Americans so much as they are on political parties and leaders.

And it’s not just this study that suggests so; a 2019 study by James Druckman and Matthew Levendusky in Public Opinion Quarterly found that “when answering questions about the other party, individuals think about elites more than voters”. When the elites of the party were separated out from average Americans, the researchers found that on every measure, “respondents are more negative toward the elites of the other party than they are toward voters”. And Anthony Fowler, a professor of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, has done numerous studies that fly in the face of the polarisation narrative, finding that voters are more moderate, more informed by policy, and more willing to change their views than many in power would have you to believe. “To be sure, there are real policy disagreements among Americans,” writes Fowler. “But for every extreme liberal or conservative who agrees with their party on most issues, there are far more people in the middle who think that Nancy Pelosi is too far to the Left and that Mitch McConnell is too far to the Right.”

Every week, I talk to working-class Americans across the country who work with people who disagree with them on politics. They tell me the same thing over and over: we don’t have the luxury of hating co-workers who vote for the other party. We rely on them too much. Party politics just doesn’t matter as much as having a good working relationship. It’s our elites who want us to believe that we are divided, simply because it benefits them.

It’s clear how this works in politics: if you can convince you constituents that the person you’re running against is a fascist — or a groomer — then the race is over. Because if the choice is you or Hitler, you pretty much have it in the bag. And if you can also convince people that your opponents’ supporters and voters are fascists and deplorables, who cling to their guns and their Bibles and their bigotries, well, who wants to be in that category? Divisiveness in politics is a shortcut — a workaround to actually having to deliver the promises you make your constituents.

Something similar has happened to the mainstream media. With the collapse of the local newspaper industry, a new business model has emerged that is diametrically opposed to the goal of getting the widest circulation. The business incentives of digital media see success in terms of engagement rather than circulation or ad revenue, and the tools of digital media make it possible to target content to specific audiences based on income and zip code. Online publishing software tells you exactly what these audiences are clicking on, how often, and for how long — so you can give readers more and more and more of it. Of course, the most engaged readers online are always the most extreme, which means that our news outlets gain most by catering to them.

Social media companies work in a similar way. The currency there is attention, and the stronger you feel about something, the longer you stay on a page dedicated to it, and the more likely you are to click on an ad. Every time you hate a stranger on the internet, someone makes money.

At a time when the death of Elizabeth II is uniting her nation in grief, it’s hard to watch our own head of state fall into this trap. President Biden — who campaigned on unifying the country, and promised to represent not only those who voted for him but also those who did not — has made a habit of casting his political opponents as extremists. Recently, for instance, he has smeared MAGA Republicans as “semi-fascists” and a threat to democracy. Not exactly the behaviour of a unifier.

The thing that was miraculous about the response to 9/11 was not that Americans united, because we were not divided. It’s that our leaders did: they showed the grace that ordinary Americans show every single day, working alongside each other in nursing homes in Florida and factories in Iowa and construction sites in Minnesota. For once, our leaders were worthy of our support. For once, they were representing us. Today, by contrast, they simply demand that we defend them — to the extend that it means indulging in meaningless fantasies about a looming civil war.


Batya Ungar-Sargon is Deputy Opinion Editor of Newsweek and author of Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy

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Teresa M
Teresa M
1 year ago

As I think more about this article I wonder if this writer spends much time around people who differ ideologically from one another. As libertarian-leaning traditional Catholic I can, with good will, talk to anyone about anything. I may view someone sadly mistaken if he believes people can change their sex, that the government has the authority to define marriage, or that babies can be killed at the will of their mothers. But I don’t hate them and we can be civil to each other and find common ground on other matters. I don’t want to argue with people in every conversation I have. But the common, non-elite Democrats (such as some of my relatives) cannot talk In a civil manner with me. They don’t care to hear what I say about anything. I am objectified from the get-go simply because of my faith. Everything I say is suspect no matter the topic of conversation. The common people, not just elites are causing the division. And this includes my left-leaning relatives.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

This is what I was thinking as well. I can get along with the liberals around me (and I consider myself far more of a libertarian than a conservative) only by not trying to discuss anything that doesn’t agree with their sociopolitical beliefs. They absolutely will not tolerate listening to anything they don’t agree with and are not willing to entertain ideas that disagree with them. These people are all around me, not elites. At times I feel like I’m living the life of a Marrano.

Benjamin Holm
Benjamin Holm
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

Yes I agree. Sad to say but one side is intolerant, and the other is not. Most to the right that I know are willing and happy to have debate and watch people engage in debate. But on the left you find so many people who are trying to get Tucker off the air, or to say hey Twitter, you shouldn’t allow this person. In so many ways they are trying to deny the ability to speak for people they dislike, and viewpoints they dislike.

Furthermore they are eager to maintain problems that have largely been solved. At the very least they want to ignore progress. They don’t want to hear about most people being ok with interracial marriage. They want to pretend white supremacy is hiding under every bed. Same thing with gay marriage. They are eager to maintain these problems, and to deny progress.

Teresa M
Teresa M
1 year ago

This article implies the same thing Biden and Hillary mean when they say the people of the USA should unite: that if everyone would just agree with the Democrat platform and ideology everyone will get along just fine. And that is the problem. Democrats leave no room for anyone who honestly and reasonably disagrees with their ideas. On all the topics this author lists on which the majority of Americans agree (with the exception of inter-racial marriage) are ideologies Democrats push forward. They don’t want us to unite as Americans working to make life good for all Americans no matter ideological differences. They want people to unite as Democrats. And this includes non-elite everyday ordinary Americans who align with the Democrat ideas.

Last edited 1 year ago by Teresa M
Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

Excellent point (I had the same reaction). I suspect the author would profit from reading Charles Kessler’s “Crisis of the two Constitutions” – the fault lines are real, and relate to two camps with starkly different understandings of the Good, the Good Life and what leads to human flourishing.

The author focuses on racism, attitudes toward “lifestyle” and abortion, rather than the separation of powers, protection of natural rights of ALL citizens and the evisceração of the middle classes etc.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Pearse
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

Not the same article I read, which was balanced between right and left.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Agreed Harry. The others can’t see that they’re obsessively looking for disagreement on specific points just for the sake of it, instead of engaging with the principle being discussed.

Dick Illyes
Dick Illyes
1 year ago

Defund the Swamp. This is a Government Jobs issue with grotesquely overpaid government employees trying to hang on to their positions and find jobs for their friends.
Academia has told them that they are supposed to rule over others and left them with huge debt. They have created an opaque Blue Bubble to protect that fantasy that is drifting toward insanity as viewed from the outside. Psychological Projection is universal and invisible to occupants of the Blue Bubble.
Academia is the new Planter Class. Instead of living on the stolen labor of slaves they are living on the stolen future labor of indebted students.
Defund the Swamp.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

The article just seems like a tally showing the collapse of conservatism in the U.S more than anything else. You’re seemingly saying there won’t be a civil war because the American right has essentially vanished and been replaced with 90s progressives.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

No, he’s saying the middle is much bigger than either extreme. The problem is that nowhere does it have a voice, either in the MSM, social media, or politics.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Agreed. There’s a type of article today that boils down to “can’t we just all agree on the friendly 1990’s liberalism and leave the divisive stuff out of it?” What it forgets is that the “friendly 1990’s liberalism” wasn’t friendly at all at the time. 90’s liberals called people who disagreed with them racists, bigots, haters, sexists, and Nazis, just like today’s liberals do.
As Patrick Deenen says, we’re not living through some kind of aberration from Enlightenment liberalism but its logical conclusion. Liberationist ideologies can never be content with any victory; they must always strive for more. The 1990’s “how will your neighbor’s gay marriage affect you?” liberalism beget the 2020’s “you misgendered me and must die!” In another generation, the liberals will arguing for pedophilia, and there will be writers who will say “even conservatives now agree that a woman can have a p*nis” (pretty sure Unherd’s censor filters will flag it if I spell it). That’s not progress; it’s surrender.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

We must not have read the same article. She says nothing of the kind, and is quite balanced between both “sides.”

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago

Civil wars break out when one group concludes that the current system is so stacked against them that only direct action will bring change. I would argue that the Democratic Party and Left in general in the US is so abjectly corrupt and power hungry that they are getting near to pushing the other side in to coming to that conclusion.

The vast majority of the MSM is supportive of the Democrats. News outlet such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR, NBC, the New York Times are partisan to the extent of being effectively media arms of the Democratic Party. The Republicans have Fox, the New York Post and a few others, but the vast majority of the news media in the US functions to protect and promote the Democrats and to attack the Republicans. If these publications limited them self to the partisan reporting of facts, that would be bearable. But in these publications , grossly unfair distortion and outright lies have become their daily fare.

The US has seen a massive expansion of government There are now more Americans employed by government than by the entire manufacturing sector. Government employees are overwhelmingly Democrat supporters, especially in Washington. It has become clear that institutions such as the Department of Justice have been captured by a permanent bureaucracy of partisan Democrats, who have been using their positions to protect Democrats and attack Republicans. The revelations about the Department of Justice’s complicity in the Trump/Russia conspiracy hoax are shocking.

Not content with having the MSM sown us, allowing Democrats to tell the most blatant lies with impunity, and having the “Deep State” working for them regardless of which party is in power, the Democrats now seek to be more direct in rigging the system in their favour. They talk of ending the Fillibuster to pack the Supreme Court with Democrats and to force through federal voting reform which removes all protections against voter fraud and makes corrupt practices such as ballet harvesting lawful. The borders are thrown wide open to import millions more natural Democrat voters, while natural conservatives such as Cubans are returned to face retribution from the Communists.

Republicans/conservatives face a wall of lying, deceitful, partisan media . Even if they win, they face a “Deep State” that will actively try to stop any policy initiatives being implemented, and will actively seek to undermine a Republican president. The Democrats open the borders to flood the country with people to vote for them and then seeks to fix the election law to make election to remove protections against ineligible voters from voting and other fraud. The education system completely captured by the Left who are determined to indoctrinate children from the cradle to hate their country, their history and their culture.

Given the above all that it is easy to see Republicans/conservatives increasingly coming to the obvious conclusion that system is so corrupt and weighted against them, that is defunct and only direct action can affect change. If it happens, the Democrats and the Left will only have themselves to blame; they will have pushed people to it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Thank you. You mirror my exact thoughts. The Democrat party is setting the stage for authoritarian takeover. Heck, they’ve even seized the MyPillow man. I may be wrong, but I think things are really going to blow up in November.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
1 year ago

This article reminds me that America’s problems are not the UK’s problems. The irony is that the same people emphasising the need to recognise diversity don’t realise that many of these issues are specific to a city or state, let alone a country. Unfortunately, many journalists, marketing teams and politicians forget this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nick Wright
Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

Hello, Mr. Write. Yes I agree. But many Brits forget that the UK is a unitary government whereas the US is a Federal government. There are fifty little countries with their own rules and regulations under the Federal umbrella. A life sentence in one state may mean 25 years and in another, 65 years. This simply compounds the problems. It would be far easier to solve problems in the UK than it would be in the United States.

rob clark
rob clark
1 year ago

Divisiveness in politics is a shortcut — a workaround to actually having to deliver the promises you make your constituents.”
ï»żWell said!

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

This is the second similar opinion I’ve read but I think it’s more wishful than realistic. Every institution has been infiltrated and anti white racism is on the rise. They are making us the other so that their treachery will be justified. The mid terms will see if we give them a run for their money and save the republic. And btw, most old type republicans are more to blame for this situation because they gave up the culture war without a fight. They were utterly worthless.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

On the whole, I think that this is a useful article. The author might underestimate the degree of polarization among ordinary people, but her point about who and what fosters polarization–notably academics, politicians, journalists and twitterers–is well taken.
Before the rise of Hitler, most Germans were not foaming at the mouth about Jews. In fact, many were marrying Jews. For over a century, Jews had been increasingly hopeful, with good reason, of full integration into German society. It took the equivalent of an eruption on Mt. Vesuvius to reverse history. It didn’t take long for state-sponsored hatred to turn Jews (and others) first into segregated pariahs and then into the victims of mass murder. I’m not saying that Americans on either side of their own conflict are hoping for mass murder. But hatred is a catchy disease. Once it takes hold, it’s hard to cure.
I doubt that even civil war is likely in the American future. Apart from any other reason, the two sides are not as conveniently divided geographically as the North and South were. It’s true that there’s an obvious division between the two coasts and the hinterland, but that hinterland is much more fragmented than either coast; most of its cities are no less “blue” than coastal cities. What might well be in the American future, the near future, is general chaos.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Good parallel there.

tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago

The research on civil wars seems to suggest that they come as a surprise even to the ordinary people committing the atrocities.

One day, you’re complementing your neighbor on his new F150 Lightning and the next you’re running over his dead body in the front yard with his wife tied up in the back and his stolen Glock on the seat next to you.

Atrocities are not the behavior of most people but tide-shifting events of history are not created by most people; they are created by the outliers, the remarkable and outrageous events that we remember as being pivotal.

Last edited 1 year ago by tim richardson
William Foster
William Foster
1 year ago

Not an American, but for me this article mostly misses the mark. Why wouldn’t you start off by quoting Hillary Clinton, of all people, wishing for another opportunity such as 9/11. Tech companies are spending billions to divide people and the author says this is not working. They have infinite money from investors that they must then appease and access to the highest levels of government. Reflection comes from the opinion of an MSNBC employee. Seems to be working to me. Now let’s pretend and reinforce the idea that everything is about skin colour, sexual preference and abortion law. Look, there’s Hitler again!

They tell me the same thing over and over: we don’t have the luxury of hating co-workers who vote for the other party.

“Luxury of hating co-workers”. Is that really the first thing on peoples minds during ‘normal times’, the cohesive practice of wanting to hate your co-workers?! Rather than say debating and agreeing to disagree, or otherwise, if an impasse is reached. The words used in this piece, it’s like a BS bingo of ‘liberal’ hate words. The article seems to argue against the prospect of civil war by stoking its fires.

Every time you hate a stranger on the internet, someone makes money.

It does not need be hating a stranger. All it takes for more clicks and more time spent if to upset people. With that I will now move on.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Foster
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

Thank You for this: “They oppose abortion bans and want it to be generally legal in the first trimester, and in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s health is threatened.” Exactly!
I was an abortion clinic escort in the 90’s and I also volunteered inside Planned Parenthood clinics (I would not give a dime to that organization today).
The “pro choice” leadership has become so offensive that I have no doubt they contributed to the trigger laws in effect since Roe was overturned.
NO decent person would “shout their abortion!”
I had an abortion and even though I don’t regret it, it was a very serious and emotionally painful event. I still think about it 30 years later.
But the woke idiots insist on offensive slogans like “Shout your abotion” or “Honk if you love pizza and abortion!”
Seriously??
Anyway, I got kicked out of the Texas Handmaids supposedly for being a “transphobe” (this would be news to my beloved son, who just happens to be a trans man).
I objected to “pro choice” language that erased women from the abortion issue.
These were all upper middle class white women who were far more concerned with being “woke” than with actually helping women and girls facing an unwanted pregnancy.
Anyway, I am done with the Democrats as long as they pander to the looney tunes “woke” and ignore the needs and feelings of the majority of Americans, most of whom are, as you say, on the side of reason and sanity.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Great and we’ll informed comment.

Sam McGowan
Sam McGowan
1 year ago

I’m not sure what the point of this article is. The author starts off talking about civil war then goes off into polls about interracial marriage (without acknowledging that the population has changed drastically over the past 50 years or more and that adults today grew up under different social mores.) Civil war is the result of political unrest, not social mores. And it’s not based on the will of a majority. If that were the case, the now United States would still be under British rule. Civil war occurs when one or more political factions decide to take up arms. It’s already happened at least three times in North America and it’s likely to happen again. Interracial marriage would have nothing to do with it.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

About that term, “working-class”: if one has a job, one is “working-class” – even deputy opinion editors at Newsweek.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

This is true, but we should recall that most Americans didn’t want the original Civil War either; conflict was pushed on them by a relatively small cadre of committed fire-eaters in the southern states eager to use violence to continue the noxious and evil practice of slavery. Today’s extremists using violence and inflammatory rhetoric are by a huge margin found on the Left: Antifa and to a lesser extent BLM. And their goals are noxious as well — environmental extremism, formally or informally controlled permissible speech and opinion, unrestricted abortion, gender and race indoctrination in schools, criminal justice “reform” by Progressive prosecutors more interested in the rights of criminals than of victims. Ordinary folks in the majority (as described in the statistics above) are sick of being painted by these people as racist, greedy, ignorant, and violent when those adjectives apply more correctly to their accusers. The extremists are again pushing us toward open conflict, with the new wrinkle that they control how any violence will be covered: Theirs, not at all; the other side’s, extensively and falsely. Some guy I know wrote about the very real danger here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/01/01/civil-war-america-family-fault-lines-column/4090600001/

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Your comment is funny, since most Southerners today would say that the Civil War was pushed on them by a relatively small cadre of committed fire-eaters in the Northern states eager to use violence to force others to live according to their rules. Even among Southerners who harbor no racial animus at all, it’s still thought of as the “War of Northern Aggression” to this day.
I’m not saying they are correct, only that the old adage “one man’s terrorist in another man’s freedom fighter” is fairly accurate. Antifa and BLM would both insist they are simply defending their people from the violence of white supremacy and capitalism.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Villanueva
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

In a way, a type of civil war is underway. People are voting with their feet to protest their local government. In one party states, those people have simply given up. Uniformly the one party states feature high taxes and a higher degrees of authoritative government. The rebellion is underway continuing a long trend made worse by pandemic policy. If anything this trend may eventually reduce the overreach of government.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

This is one advantage of having “fifty little countries” under the federal umbrella–a person can easily leave their “country” if they don’t like its governance.

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago

“We were able to come together as a country at that terrible time; we put aside differences,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday, the 21st anniversary [of 9/11]. “I wish we could find ways of doing that again.”

Says the woman who described half of Trump’s supporters (i.e. roughly 25% of US voters) as “a basket of deplorables”.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
1 year ago

This is an article uneven in its logic. Frankly, the thinking behind it is all over the place, and not worthy of Unheard.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Nah your comment in its failure to explain why the logic is uneven isn’t worthy of Unherd.

Nicolas Jouan
Nicolas Jouan
1 year ago

The thing that was miraculous about the response to 9/11 was not that Americans united, because we were not divided. It’s that our leaders did

They indeed united in unchecked jingoism and helped wreck an entire region with ripple effects in European and African security.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicolas Jouan

The unity brought about by 9/11 lasted all of two weeks. That’s how long it was before videos of the jumpers were suppressed and flags being flown on cars went from the American flag to yellow ribbons, as if we could mourn our way to victory. It was also about the time ‘outrage’ gave way to ‘tragedy.’ As with the video suppression, American outrage at an unprovoked attack had to be tempered. The portion of the public unwilling to succumb to mere remorse hardened their stance and unity fled.
It probably didn’t make much difference zeitgeist-wise that the American response, when it came, was largely misdirected toward the Iraq ruler who had ‘tried to kill Bush’s daddy, than the actual swamp that launched the perps. Some response was required and that was close enough for government work.
To the civil war premise, the gap between left and right now is too deep and wide to be bridged. Only a severe outside threat or civil war seem traumatic enough to force beliefs to change. That requires the complete subjugation of one side by the other. If anyone has a better idea of how to force square pegs into round holes, let them speak up now.

N T
N T
1 year ago

Panic Pr0n Peddles Papers
There. That’s the real not-news.
or Trolls Gonna Troll and Tweeters Gonna Tweet, And Not A Lick Of It Matters

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago

I am a Canadian American. I lived for the last 32 years in Chicago, Boston and Orlando. I’m now in Gatineau, Quebec. I’m 68 years old. I saw American cities burning because of race riots in the 60s.
What is happening in the United States is not a joke to poke around and experiment with. It is serious. Something about the journalist who wrote the article.
Batya Ungar-Sargon is the deputy opinion editor of Newsweek. Before that, she was the opinion editor of the Forward, the largest Jewish media outlet in America. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, the New York Review of Books Daily, and other publications.
Born1981 (age 41 years)
NationalityAmerican
BooksBad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy
The journalist is well-seasoned. She has good and well-grounded thoughts. But they are biased. The book is a must-read. The dangers of misinformation and the highjack of the media by well-lubricated entities is essential to understand… as well as other books. However, it must be understood that it is biased.
In America, I cannot speak to strangers concerning political matters. If I do with just a hint, my American wife will remind me it is not acceptable. It could put us in danger. You never stay outside on New Year’s Eve. Those firecrackers could be guns, and a stray bullet could hit you. The American civil war has not ended. We are still dealing with tearing down civil war monuments, flags, and African American civil rights. Trump has awakened the silent boobyhatch that even the mainstream Republicans hate. The Republican party is in crisis mode. Politicians say the most outrageous things. It has torn families apart, people have lost jobs, marriages have broken up, and a large percentage of the population has become physically and mentally ill as a direct result of all this. Far-right TV ads of people running for office dressed in combat fatigues and holding weapons. Look up Cory Mills promises to help media ‘shed some real tears. And how about those whacky militias all over the country?
The list goes on.
Like the American Civil War, the act isn’t an overnight decision… it stew’s over time, and this stew has been cooking for 20 years.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Paul

I think her article supports your position – you say “politicians say the most outrageous things”, and then your criticism of media echo chambers is the same too.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Paul

What’s a boobyhatch?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

It never ceases to amaze me that Americans, owning a zillion guns each, don’t constantly slaughter each other over arguments and family rows.
That’s what provides the proof of this excellent article – they just want to get along, despite their differing views.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago

What we are seeing is a we vs them speech everywhere. Arguments have no value and what matters most is on which side you are.
Joe ‘Drone’ Biden was governor of a State known for having more shell companies than voters. Zero transparency, and allocating less than one fifth of the budget of Pennsylvania on environmental protection. He has abandoned the Kurdish feminist militias and partnered instead with Recep ‘Vladimir’ Erdogan, a guy in power since 2007 who sent more journalists to prison per capita than China.
Biden can criticise Trump’s speeches but in terms of foreign policy and the soaring national debt he is not doing any better. The Ilhan Omar Bill is more a blasphemy law than an effective measure against a particular sort of racism, only accepted because it was not proposed by the Christian right.
This does not mean I like Trump, but any criticism of Biden turns you into a fascist, as any criticism of Trump turns you into a progressive/liberal chap no matter how well-argued such criticism could be.
Wokism is not progressive. It is a way to attack women’s rights and divert attention from environmental and economic policies to classification policies. Transgender policies will benefit labs more than people. If you want to be something you are not you need psychiatric attention more than a surgery. If you are white you cannot be black, no matter how much time you spend under the sun. If you are a woman you can be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, but not a man.
Of course, the increasing costs of medicine are not a priority. Women are not a priority unless they belong to some former colonies and to some religious minorities. Somehow the descendant of an African dictator has more rights than the descendant of a starving Irish farmer. Criticism of agnosticism is not a crime, but religious sects that promote male-superiority are rewarded with protective laws and subsidies. And they dare to call that progressive!
We are back to Lilliput, discussing whether eggs should be cracked at the small end or the other one.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

God bless America and God Help the King.
Opinion polls do not accurately reflect what is really going on. Civil peacefulness is really what we need to encourage, and what should serve as our indicator of the state of the Nation.
We need to prosecute and imprison citizens who foment violence of the type seen at Jan6 and at Charlottesville. And we need to seriously enforce gun laws that regulate who is legally permitted to carry and use firearms. Mass shootings are nobody’s idea of a picnic in the park.