Tom Friedman writes that he grew up in the 1960's when the United States was divided over Vietnam. But what's going on now is much worse than the divisions of the '60's:
There is a deep breakdown happening between us, between us and our institutions and between us and our president.
We can’t find common ground on which to respectfully disagree; the other side is “the enemy.” We shout at each other on television, unfollow each other on Facebook and fire verbal mortars at each other on Twitter — and now everyone is on the digital battlefield, not just politicians.
And nothing is sacred. Brett Kavanaugh defended himself the other day with the kind of nasty partisan attacks and ugly conspiracy theories that you’d expect only from a talk radio host — never from a would-be justice of the Supreme Court. Who can expect fairness from him now?
And this fracturing is all happening with a soaring stock market and falling unemployment. Can you imagine what it will be like when we face the next recession?
While malpractice can be found on both sides of the divide, one side is more responsible for this debacle than the other:
It would be easy to blame both sides equally for this shift, noted [Norman] Ornstein, but it is just not true. After the end of the Cold War, he said, “tribal politics were introduced by Newt Gingrich when he came to Congress 40 years ago,” and then perfected by Mitch McConnell during the Barack Obama presidency, when McConnell declared his intention to use his G.O.P. Senate caucus to make Obama fail as a strategy for getting Republicans back in power.
They did this even though that meant scuttling Obama’s health care plan, which was based on Republican ideas, and even though that meant scuttling long-held G.O.P. principles — like fiscal discipline, a strong Atlantic alliance, distrust of Russian intentions and a balanced approach to immigration — to attract Trump’s base.
It may be too late to end the cycle of self destruction. Certainly, the United States is running out of time. If the country doesn't self correct quickly, it will disappear before the warming planet destroys the place. And global warming is the crisis that faces all of us.