Are we one nation, indivisible?
These days a lot of people think that the United States are more divided than they used to be. The issues people fight over, such as gender, race, immigration, culture and the role of government, divide America along political and ideological lines (Republican/Democrat, liberal/conservative, red/blue, etc.).
In his essay, One Nation, Slightly Divisible, Brooks explained how American society is split into two groups, red states, Republican, and blue states, Democratic, and he discussed the differences between these two groups. People in Blue America live in big cities and near the coast, while in Red America they live in farms and small towns. Different institutions dominate life in these two places. In Red America there are many churches, in Blue America people is more cosmopolitan and sophisticated. Red America makes social distinctions that Blue America doesn’t. One of the biggest differences between red and blue states is ethnic diversity; in Montgomery County (Blue America) population includes white, black, Hispanic and Asian people. In Franklin County (Red America) 95% of the population is white. Another big difference is education, since in Blue America a higher percentage of adults have college degrees or high school diplomas.
He tried to understand the reasons of these differences. First of all he considered economics. Blue states had higher incomes, higher end stores, and jobs. Brooks thought that it was money to split the nation but he realised that even the ones with less didnt consider themselves the people with less.
The differences in religious beliefs is also a reason why America seems divided. People in red states are more involved in religion and religious ties play an important role when voting for a new president; Republicans are mainly conservative and follow Christian beliefs, Democrats are more liberal and think outside religious beliefs. But, according to him, the difference in religious values is not enough to divide a nation.
The last reason to explain differences between red and blue states is the conception of the self. In Red America the self is small, in Blue America its larger. But even this wasnt enough to divide a nation.
Brooks concluded that even if the culture between the two groups is different, this doesnt make United States two different nations; America is one nation, that could be defined as a cafeteria nation, where everyone stays in his own group, such as in a school cafeteria and he used 9/11 attack to demonstrate how people in both Red and Blue America rallied to deal with the problem.
The opposite is Gentzkows opinion in Polarization in 2016. He thinks that Americans in 2016 are more politically divided than ever before. The division in political parties is indeed one of the evidence for growing polarization and voting is the better way to show that division. Another evidence, according to Gentzkow, is that a lot of people take extreme positions about certain issues. He thinks that the cause is the Internet; the most important source of political information is still television but its rising the number of people who use social media as a source of information.
I feel I agree more with Gentzkows argument: the division in political parties, the separation between red states and blue states, Republican and Democrats, is the cause of a country more socially and politically polarized than at any other time in the United States history and the media clearly play an important role because thanks to them people can be informed but they are also a medium to spread fake news and misinformation. Moreover people are also divided when they have to talk about issues such as race or immigration.
However I think that, since America is a very big country, we have to accept that people will always have different opinions and will be divided for that reason.
Brooks, David. “One Nation, Slightly Divisible.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Dec. 2001. Web. 09 Sept. 2017.
Gentzkow, Matthew. Polarization in 2016. web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/PolarizationIn2016.pdf.
Why Has America Become So Divided? Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,
Boxell, Levi, et al. Is Media Driving Americans Apart? The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Dec. 2017,