The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy. But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt, or were overrun by invaders.
The United States is dividing as rarely before. Half the country, mostly liberal America, is concentrated in 146 of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties — in an area that collectively represents less than 10 percent of the U.S. land mass. The other half, the conservative Red states of the interior of America, is geographically, culturally, economically, politically, and socially at odds with Blue-state America, which resides mostly on the two coasts.
The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music, and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.