David French warns of the potential dangers to the country—and the world—if we don’t summon the courage to reconcile our political differences.
Two decades into the 21st Century, the U.S. is less united than at any time in our history since the Civil War. We are more diverse in our beliefs and culture than ever before. But red and blue states, secular and religious groups, liberal and conservative idealists, and Republican and Democratic representatives all have one thing in common: each believes their distinct cultures and liberties are being threatened by an escalating violent opposition. This polarized tribalism, espoused by the loudest, angriest fringe extremists on both the left and the right, dismisses dialogue as appeasement; if left unchecked, it could very well lead to secession.
An engaging mix of cutting edge research and fair-minded analysis, Divided We Fall is an unblinking look at the true dimensions and dangers of this widening ideological gap, and what could happen if we don't take steps toward bridging it. French reveals chilling, plausible scenarios of how the United States could fracture into regions that will not only weaken the country but destabilize the world.
But our future is not written in stone. By implementing James Madison’s vision of pluralism—that all people have the right to form communities representing their personal values—we can prevent oppressive factions from seizing absolute power and instead maintain everyone’s beliefs and identities across all fifty states.
Reestablishing national unity will require the bravery to commit ourselves to embracing qualities of kindness, decency, and grace towards those we disagree with ideologically. French calls on all of us to demonstrate true tolerance so we can heal the American divide. If we want to remain united, we must learn to stand together again.
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: A House Divided
Part I: The Relentless Momentum of Our Mutual Contempt
1. Understanding the Geography of American Division
2. Geography Plus Culture Plus Fear Equals Secession
3. The Kindling Awaits the Spark of Fear
4. America Cannot Repeat Even Its Recent History of Violence
5. How an Academic Paper Explains America
6. Churches and Cities, the Core of Group Polarization
7. Politics Trumps Everything
8. From Extreme to Mainstream, Time and Again
9. The Shifting Window of Acceptable Discourse
10. Losing the Free Speech Culture
11. Losing a Common Political Language
Part II: The Dissolution
14. A World on Fire
Part III: To Save America, Chart James Madison’s Course
15. Pluralism, a Beginner’s Guide
16. Rediscover Tolerance
17. Can Anyone Pass the Tolerance Test?
18. Can Moments of Grace Make a Movement of Grace?
19. To Go Forward, We Must Go Back
20. Immigration Breaks the Federalist Will
21. Could California Health Care Reform Revive American Federalism?
22. Federalism Ends Where the Bill of Rights Begins
Conclusion: A Call for Courage