Jon Askonas in The New Atlantis:
If you ask Americans when was the last time they recall feeling truly united as a country, people over the age of thirty will almost certainly point to the aftermath of 9/11. However briefly, everyone was united in grief and anger, and a palpable sense of social solidarity pervaded our communities.
Today, just about the only thing everyone agrees on is how divided we are. On issue after issue of vital public importance, people feel that those on the other side are not merely wrong but crazy — crazy to believe what they do about voter ID, Russiagate, critical race theory, pronouns and gender affirmation, take your pick. Americans have always been divided on important issues, but this level of pulling-your-hair-out, how-can-you-possibly-believe-that division feels like something else.
It is hard to imagine how we would have experienced 9/11 in the era of Facebook and Twitter, but the pandemic provides a suggestive example.