Robert Reich asks it in a fairly reasonable essay:
What’s going on? Yes, we’re divided over issues like the size of government and whether women should have control over their bodies. But these aren’t exactly new debates. We’ve been disagreeing over the size and role of government since Thomas Jefferson squared off with Alexander Hamilton, and over abortion rights since before Roe v. Wade, almost forty years ago.He then makes reference to the impact of the current media situation:
And we’ve had bigger disagreements in the past – over the Vietnam War, civil rights, communist witch hunts – that didn’t rip us apart like this.
But now most of us exist in our own political bubbles, left and right. I live in Berkeley, California – a blue city in a blue state – and rarely stumble across anyone who isn’t a liberal Democrat (the biggest battles here are between the moderate left and the far-left). The TV has hundreds of channels so I can pick what I want to watch and who I want to hear. And everything I read online confirms everything I believe, thanks in part to Google’s convenient algorithms.He also says something about how the right-wing constituency has been feeling under threat from economic, social-cultural and demographic changes. But where he errs is in inferring it's some sort of bipartisan affliction.
So when Americans get upset about politics these days we tend to stew in our own juices, without benefit of anyone we know well and with whom we disagree — and this makes it almost impossible for us to understand the other side.
It's true that the right-wing has FOX News, and a whole plethora of toxic right-wing hate-sites like "small dead animals" and that leftists have more leftist internet choices to go to. But, as I've said a zillion times before: They have Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. And they have said themselves that our equivalents are Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann and Rachael Maddow. In Canada, there's Ezra Levant on the right and Linda McQuaig on the left.
One team is comprised of serial liars who routinely call for violence upon their enemies. (Those are the right-wingers.)
Look at it this way. The stupid Michelle-Jean, when she was Governor General, looked out the window of Rideau Hall and saw a small crowd of harperites protesting stupidly about a "coup" and she heard stephen harper ranting and raving about how he'd go over her head and trash her and to hell with our constitutional monarchical traditions, and blah, blah, blah. Unless she eviscerated the whole concept of responsible government, there would be trouble with a capital "T."
Why the fuck don't they ever feel so fearful about getting us on the left riled-up? Well, one reason is that they fear the consequences of what we ask for more, so they're even more reluctant to concede anything. ("You want lower taxes right-wing chumps? Here you go!" vs. "You want higher taxes on the wealthy and more pro-union laws left-wingers? Um, ... sorry. Some bullshit liberal economic theory says that would harm more than help and get the fuck away from me.") But it's also the case that they intuit that right-wingers are naturally prone to violence and outrage, given the fact that they're motivated by ignorance, frustrated stupidity, various irrational hatreds and overall boorishness.
And the reason things are so hostile is because these cretins have been indulged by their masters with their right-wing news channels and their own internet narcissism. And, this has all served to invent imbecilic propaganda cover for one right-wing outrage after another. (In Canada, these would be the jingoism over Afghanistan and harper's assaults on parliamentary democracy.) Who can blame leftists for having had to endure decades of this shit?
It's not going to resolve itself by leftists and progressives deciding to live and let live.