The Great Divide (and search RR) has been a subject of interest and debate among readers. Our friends from the Left honor me with accusations of being a lone rogue in shining a light on the path that appears to be tearing the country apart. Unfortunately as thinkers and commentators across the country have pointed out, the notion of such a division, the Great Divide, is an enterprise shared by people of many political and ideological colorations.
A recent piece on this is from Peggy Noonan – ‘The Divider vs the Thinker’ – that appeared in the 29oct11 WSJ. In it she compares and contrasts President Barack Obama’s current efforts with those of Representative Paul Ryan. What caught my eye in her analysis was the similarity of concepts that she highlights with those in RR. Her overarching introduction immediately gets to the heart of the matter –
People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there's a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out.
The glue of which she speaks was the “shared knowledge” of our past, especially that there was something “providential” about our beginnings. Overwhelmingly, we had “a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations — liberty, equality — and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved.”
From whatever future awaits us, she opines that we will look back at this as the “Great Coming Apart” during which we suffered stresses and strains where “half the country isn’t speaking to the other half”, quoting a moderate Democrat.