LOS ANGELES--Whatever your politics, you have to be oblivious to reality to deny that America today is torn by ideological divisions as deep as those of the Civil War era. We are, in fact, in the midst of the Second American Civil War.
Of course, one obvious difference between the two is that this Second Civil War is (thus far) non-violent. On the other hand, there is probably more hatred between the opposing sides today than during the First Civil War.
And I am not talking about extremists. A senior editor of the respected center-left New Republic magazine just wrote an article titled "The Case for Bush Hatred," an article that could have been written by writers at most major American newspapers, by most Hollywood celebrities, or by almost anyone else left of center. And the conservative hatred of former President Bill Clinton was equally deep.
In general, however, the similarities are greater than the differences. Once again the North and the South are at odds (though many individuals on each side identify with the other). And once again, the fate of the nation hangs in the balance. The two sides' values and visions of America are as incompatible as they were in the 1860s.
For those Americans who do not know what side they are on or who are not certain about what the Second American Civil War is being fought over, I offer a list of the most important areas of conflict.
While the views of many, probably even most, Americans do not fall entirely on either side, the two competing camps are quite distinguishable. On one side are those on the Left--including liberals and Greens--who tend to agree with one another on almost all major issues. On the other side are those on the Right--including conservatives and libertarians--who agree on stopping the Left, but differ with one another more often than those on the Left do.
Here, then, is the list of the major differences that are tearing America apart:
The Left believes in removing America's Judeo-Christian identity, e.g., removing "under God" from the Pledge, "In God we trust" from the currency, the oath to God and country from the Boy Scouts Pledge, and so on.
The Right believes that destroying these symbols and this identity is tantamount to destroying America.
The Left regards America as morally inferior to many European societies with their abolition of the death penalty and their cradle-to-grave welfare and religion-free life; and it does not believe that there are distinctive American values worth preserving.
The Right regards America as the last best hope for humanity and believes that there are distinctive American values--the unique combination of a religious (Judeo-Christian) society, a secular government, personal liberty, and capitalism--worth fighting and dying for.
The Left believes that impersonal companies, multinational and otherwise, with their insatiable drive for profits, have a profoundly destructive effect on the country....