(If you see America's differences in political terms you might miss the fact that so many see them in absolute religious terms. Neo-confederates are inhabiting the GOP. The following are brief clips from a article worth reading in full.)
Testing, once again, whether this nation can long endure.
What is America, and what is an American? If anything binds us together across space and time, it is our ideals and the stories we tell about our pursuit of them. From the beginning, we set ourselves against Europe’s hierarchies. We exalted democratic government, equality of opportunity and individual freedom. [snip]
Beginning with our first experiments in self-government, the dissonance between our ideals and our institutional practices–especially the tolerance and extension of slavery–created tensions that finally tore us apart. The South’s alternative vision of the good society was defeated in the Civil War, and our 20th-century history can be told as a narrative of halting progress toward greater tolerance and equality. The major plot points include regulations on corporations in the early 1900s; women’s suffrage in 1920; a social safety net in the New Deal; the Supreme Court’s rejection of Jim Crow laws in 1954; the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s; the gay rights victories since the 1970s. [snip]
A century and a half later, we rally around the same flag. Or so we think. The deeper truth is disquieting. The rhetoric of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry about the “real America” is not imagined: They and those who oppose them live in different Americas, embodying different ideals and meaning different things to their loyalists. [snip]
Pundits argue that our current dysfunction stems from disagreements about the proper scope and size of government or the limitations of “free markets.” These explanations miss the heart of the matter. America’s divisions involve fundamental questions of trust and truth: What authorities do you believe? Whose definition of truth do you accept? [snip]
For the Confederacy that now dominates the GOP, truth is solid and fixed and divinely embedded in the structure of the universe. Humanity’s responsibility is to accept and believe the truth rather than test ideas against actual experience. The Confederacy’s obsession with “originalist” interpretations of the Constitution–a twin of biblical literalism–is the classic example: truth must be eternal, universal.
This is a really significant perspective and should be read in full, at http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/11959/new_confederacy_rising/