Ours is a country hopelessly divided.

If we are in fact hopelessly divided, the reasons for it must of course be our passage through time in space (i.e. geography) and the concomitant divergence of interests and faith. By faith I mean those core assumptions that we hold to be true, that cannot be proven to be true, and upon which we make decisions.

For these reasons my assumption is that the United States of America will eventually break up politically and 5,000 years of recorded history seconds this eventuality. The question is when and how? Personally, I doubt my great-grandchildren will live to see it. Rome was not built in a day, and in a day it did not fall.

The glue that will keep us together for as long as it does are of course what we hold in common. Today that remains for sure the English language, a legal system, and deep cultural and institutional momentum.

But in the long term these cannot compensate for a lack of a shared world view where we do not view the past through a similar lens, do not share a common vision for the future, or most importantly do not agree on what is basic human nature.

Geography is certainly not on our side. In spite of our common ancestry and history, the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains must in time produce significant differences between east and west just as the Himalayas, Alps, and the Sahara have in their respective parts of the globe. In my view the West Coast has in my lifetime ceased to be recognisably American, or at least relative to Tennessee, the heart of America and the best part. In my highly partisan opinion.

Then there is the emergence of the new megacity, a post-industrial global phenomenon. A megacity may be described as a gargantuan metropolis that has emerged in an authentic cultural region to which it is no longer culturally connected. New York City is the best and oldest example in our country. Ask anyone from Upstate New York.

Since WWII in particular this has been happening around the globe and here in the South Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, and now sadly Nashville may come to mind. A child may be born in these or any like metropolis to parents who were as well and grow up with few if any connexions to town & country with their traditions and history born of life sustaining land or water. For these Americans, the space between the megacities is merely space over which supplies are carried between hubs.

E pluribus unum and united we stand are fine ideas, but only within the context of actually being more or less one and united in what we believe and hold dear. We are not now, and have never been less so because our understanding of what it is to be both human and humane are now so at odds that we might as well disagree on the direction of up.

M.C. Atkins

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